Calling Blue Skies – Thanks to You

Calling Blue Skies
Thanks to You

There’s a new fad going around. It’s called emo, and this is how emo bands usually start: “Let’s call our music emo, because we can!” Ok, so that’s exaggerated. But still, we have wanna-be bands that litter the proverbial landscape like protesters at a Dixie Chicks concert. By wanna-be, I mean bands that have virtually nothing to be emo about other than the lead singer’s girlfriend dumped him because he was a bum and wouldn’t go places with her. The bands can write a hook, sure, but the rest of the music generally is uninspired and languid. But.some bands break the mold. Some bands have things to write about. Some bands can even write a completely interesting song. Now if these two bands met, we’d have Thursday. That’s why every band gets compared to Thursday nowadays, because they’re just so immensely talented. To call Calling Blue Skies a Thursday rip-off would be easy. But it would also be very wrong.
Calling Blue Skies is uncommon. They have gone through something that truly hurts: the death of a band member. The angst and confusion of that experience is clearly shown in nearly all the lyrics on this album. Not coincidentally, the lyrics have a personal, gutwrenching feel that doesn’t ring true with many other bands’ lyrics. Most bands whimper and whine over girls, but these guys have some deeper, much more painful inspiration. To compliment this feature, the vocals on the majority of these songs are truly haunting, creating an experience that actually invokes sadness and anger in the listener. It’s a welcome change from other undercooked rock bands who slap an emo sticker on themselves and parade around, showing off.
The first few songs on Thanks to You set up an upbeat, slightly dark punk style. It’s reminiscent of Juliana Theory’s work on Understand This is a Dream and Emotion is Dead, and most of The Movielife’s work. It’s head-bobbing, foot-tapping fare, and it’s easily accessible and enjoyable. All these songs all feature a bridge that is stripped down to the bare minimums of sound (single note melodies, bass line, drums, and passionate vocals), alluding to the depth they showcase as they move farther into the album. Starting at track four (“When Everything Falls”), they begin to develop their sound, dropping the punk influences and creating dark, foreboding gems of brooding anger. Of course, screams are present (when are they not, nowadays?) but their use is sporadic and tasteful, in the background and never distracting. But right when you think, “Ok.this is going to get repetitive,” they mix it up with some upbeat, mellower songs, including a fantastic piano/acoustic guitar duet on “The Signature.” One of the highlights from this album, it’s one of the intense vocal and lyrical moments I discussed earlier. Another highlight is the title (and last) track, which showcases a hollow, forlorn sound. By using the space between notes and reverb on the guitars, the effect created is very chilling. “When Everything Falls” is also excellent, showing us that they can rock out, and they can do it well.
Calling Blue Skies is one of the few independent bands that lives up to the emo label. With creativity, passion, and lyrical quality, CBS is simply amazing. I felt a definite connection with this CD, and you will too. It’s too heartfelt not to.