If the Brian Jonestown Massacre had a Black Sabbath fixation, their music would sound a lot like Skye Klad. Fortunately, this Minnesota quintet already has the Sabbath base covered, so fans of heavy psychedelic pop need not fret. The six-year-old act claims influences ranging from Psychic TV to Syd Barrett; avid space rock fans will also hear a bit of Asteroid #4.
Packing 1960s sensibilities, vocal harmonies, crumbly guitar and bass distortion, II hits its stride early on with "Sunwheel". The melodic brooder touts a scorching guitar solo that reaches all the way to the end of the tune, which closes with obligatory reverb pops from the amplifiers.
As the record progresses, the sludge gets deeper and the pop gets weaker. Some of the lyrical imagery tends to be overly Zeppelin-cum-Dungeons and Dragons ("Golden Dawn"), though singer Jason Kesselring earns kudos for maintaining a tense, dark vibe throughout the album. Another standout track, "As It Is So Be It", marks a return to the pop bounce of the album's first few songs, complete with "aaaahh" backing vocals that do the Moody Blues proud.
Skye Klad treads no new ground on II, but their strong homage to space rock and its influences keeps the band from sounding disappointingly average. -- Jay Breitling