Clear Blue Sky
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  • Personnel: John Simms (guitar); Mark Sheather (bass guitar); Ken White (drums).
  • Liner Note Author: Malcolm Dome.
  • Recording information: Island Studios, London.
  • Clear Blue Sky were still in their teens when they were discovered by Nirvana's Patrick Campbell-Lyons, and their youth shows. Clear Blue Sky, the trio's one and only album, is a mishmash of hard rock leanings, prog rock fascinations, and occasionally jazzy delivery that is best regarded today by collectors of classic Vertigo albums and early Roger Dean artwork. John Simms' vocals are extraordinarily uncertain, and the record itself sometimes sounds more a youth club rehearsal than a major-label release. Campbell-Lyons' production doesn't help much either, remaining strictly in the sonic background. That said, it is certainly an ambitious effort -- a freshman term paper for aspiring young metalheads. Side one is devoured wholly by "Journey to the Inside of the Sun," a three-part thunderclap that not only provided labelmates Black Sabbath with the title "Sweet Leaf," it also rode rock's current fascination with the classics by hijacking an element of Gustav Holst's The Planets suite for an occasional quirky interlude. Other diversions crop up on side two, as "Tool of My Trade" and the almost acoustic "My Heaven" at least kick off with something less than the full frontal riffery of the other numbers, while the closing "Birdcatcher" (the band's best-known number, courtesy of its inclusion on the fabled Heads Together, First Round Vertigo label sampler) sounds extraordinarily close to period Budgie and, "Sweet Leaf" aside, is the best-developed track on the album. ~ Dave Thompson
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