North Carolina brothers, Chris and Josh Hayes, who were previously involved in a guitar driven band known as XD Out, are back again with a new album and a new name – Torn Sky. After recording three albums and making music together for nearly 20 years, their latest release debuted under this new name was created with no preconceived style in mind. This new exploration allowed the brothers to experiment with new instruments, for example the banjo, which Josh plays, and to invite guest musicians to the fold while also paying tribute to some of their favorite artists, covering songs by The Beatles and Tom Petty. This project was a very personal one as well, as it involves songs “born out of difficult times” that deal with loss, loneliness but hope for the future. The brothers close the album with an emotional tribute to their father who passed away in 2013.
“Hope” begins the album with a rocking beat, steady and bass-y. Further in, the band rocks out pretty good in a familiar way, like post-rock/grunge and indie rock bands of the ‘90s – Foo Fighters come to mind. “Breathe” rocks a little grittier and lower in a classic rock anthem kind of way (na-na-na-na-na-na). The drums sound excellent and I liked the reverb effects on the guitars, too. “On Our Way” rocks more gently with a cleaner guitar sound and style. Somewhere between a rock ballad that has a meaningful message with pop radio sensibilities. “Moving On” offers the listener a funkier rock style, with plenty of quick changing bass lines, which I loved. The guitar riffs were pretty fun and catchy, too.
“I Won’t Back Down” is the brothers’ own version of the Tom Petty classic. You won’t hear the post-Traveling Wilbury’s sound that Petty adopted in the ‘90s. But you will hear nice backup singing, slide guitar action and overall, a nicely executed cover. “The Very End” adds a little rocking swagger to the brothers’ catalog, with what I believe is a song about the end of time and the science of physics. Overall, this song seemed to have a complex approach to Torn Sky’s songwriting, rather than something more cut and dry. “Believe” features another catchy guitar riff and more of the brothers’ own brand of rock-anthem power. If there’s any one song on Torn Sky’s entire album that I would recommend, this would be it. I loved the sparse use of lyrics and the inspirational sounding key it was in. Sometimes the simpler styled songs pack the most punch.
Another cover the duo takes one is The Beatles “The Word” which is off the Fab Four’s 1965 release, Rubber Soul. Clearly, Torn Sky’s version is different, if nothing more than the way the guitars and drums sound and the song’s production. It rocks harder, but then again, I’m comparing a classic song from 1965 to today. Overall, a faithful rendition. “New Song (20 years)” fades in with a heavy beat and even heavier bass lines. I really liked the song’s melody and overall structure. It had a light, hopeful message with the lyrics but also, the brothers’ instrumentation offered a heavier rock edge.
“The Fight” is perhaps Torn Sky’s heaviest rocking song. The guitars are edgy and mean, the singing dark and brooding, as the drums smash hard. Oh yeah, and there’s some great moments of rage singing – “stand with me, FIGHT!” What I liked best is when the drums drop out and the metal edged guitars take center stage. The brothers’ last number is a tribute to their father – “See You Someday” and it finds the duo trying their hand at playing the banjo. Lyrically, the song’s words are heartfelt and are clearly coming from a deeply spiritual place. The blend of banjo and electric guitar make for an intriguing sound. The thundering drums were excellent, and I enjoyed the song’s chord melodies. Chris’ vocals are chilling and beautiful. My heart goes out to them, because I could sense how they felt when they wrote this song – (my father passed away 10 years ago). The ending surprise was the addition of a trumpet. A powerful song overall, quite emotional. In a word, Torn Sky’s debut was solid.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook