Hailing from San Diego, California Skyterra is a three-piece group consisting of Chetan, Melissa and Jon. The band didn’t form too long ago and were working for about a year on their album RISE. All things considered the fact that they got an album out so quickly is pretty impressive. More impressive is how good they sound.
The band has a sound that I enjoyed right off that bat. There are clear elements of synth pop on this album not too far off from a band like The Chromatics of Chvrches. That being said I would argue their sound is a wee bit darker on certain songs than those bands. Not quite as dark as a band like Portishead but similarities could be drawn. There are also elements of shoegaze along with straight up indie pop depending on what song you are listening to.
There are two singers; one female and one male. To be blunt I thought the female vocalist tone, style and delivery fit better with the music. I also enjoyed the male singer but it was more selective. As far as the music goes it combines piano, synths, bass and more. It wasn’t breaking any barriers but was quite enjoyable.
The first track “Raindrop” is a lead in to the first song “Like A River.” I thought “Like A River” was one of the highlights on the album and most single-worthy. Those two things don’t always go together but it did in this case. The female singer is dynamic and at times sounds like Alice Glass from Crystal Castles and then other times her vocals are treated with vocoder like effects. I liked the music especially the synth but her vocals carry the song. The other song that really got my attention was the very next song “Special.” It’s arguably even catchier than the first song and I thought the music was fantastic. Ethereal, funky and pretty inventive at points. Great song
Up next is “Pray” which is where the band's recent formation starts to show. The song is pretty catchy but it has a distinctly different vibe and tone in a number of ways. It feels buoyantly optimistic but lacked the dark synth pop style funk that you heard previously. “I Wanted It All” is mostly an atmospheric song that builds up momentum with my favorite male vocal performance. At his best he sounds similar to Elliott Smith combined with Ben Gibbard.
They close with “Heart” which splits lead vocal duties. I thought they did a good job overall but I could have done without the spoken word parts. It’s a very uplifting song and quite contrasting from the dark elements they have earlier on.
This is a group that is immensely talented in a number of ways. The songwriting is good, sometimes great, and the production is competitive with some of the aforementioned bands.
In theory having two lead singers sounds good but they have such different styles it almost feels like another band. I’d like to see if they can bridge this gap somehow in the future. I predict that if they remain together some of the incongruent aspects I pointed out will iron themselves out because they just formed so recently.
At any rate I wouldn’t miss RISE and would make sure to check up on this band . Some of the songs like “Special” are repeat worthy ear candy that you won't want to miss.
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