Two Skies – Red EP (2014)

Sheffield’s Two Skies have got ‘IT’. In fact they have so much of ‘IT’ they could give away free portions of ‘IT’ at gigs in small goodie bags marked ‘IT’. They may be operating in the psych genre but this is a band with big ideas and big songs with the potential to hit the big time. Two Skies have a directness that is refreshing and enervating.

‘(in Flight) Ventilation’ damn near rips your bloody speakers out. Boasting a sky-high chorus and a vocal performance that grasps the song by the bootstraps, the EP gets off to flying style. If that wasn’t enough you have a delicious groove and bright, shiny guitar work. When I saw them live recently I decided that back rooms of pubs don’t suit them, listen to this and you’ll agree that anything smaller than The Ritz won’t have the space to let this monster loose.

Chugging along with a BRMC-ish rock ‘n’ roll swagger is ‘Motorway’ with the guitar burning long into the distance. Past 4 minutes it explodes with a guitar solo that sounds like shaved and spruced punk, like The Saints in their Sunday best. Combine this with a searing refrains of “dreaming my life away” and you have a band with a penchant for big songs; they could make videos involving wind machines that may not automatically be shit.

‘Tonight’ is the slow jam with ranging guitar screeches and wailing vocals that sounds like a band journeying to reach an emotional plateau, like the frustrated fury of a Puressence track. Vocals are lost in a desolate waste ground of torment. At first I thought it occasionally over egged the pudding a tad and bordered on a-lighters-in-the-air vibe that ain’t really my cup of char, but happily on repeated listens it’s now edging more towards the feel of a Suede B side.

‘Slow Train’ has the slow, chiming guitar of Johnny Marr walking on eggshells. Starting slow and delicate with a soft croon for vocals, the song unwinds like a lullaby with twitching rattle shakes. The E.P. ends on a quiet note but makes a big impression.

With the rhythm section from Jamie Cheetham and Oliver Harrup adept at both the clattering to the sublime they kick out earthy grooves as well as subtler splashes of emotion. Last point to note is the surprise that their front man Dan Cutts is also the guitarist: he sells the songs so well I assumed he was ‘just’ a singer.

Two Skies are a band occupying the moment, with their heads down, their tails up and the engines set to warp speed. Occupying the moment in (A) fizzy, glorious riots of colour + chorus and (B) intricate, expansive blends of bruised poetry, this is a band that could be big…

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