On their sophomore release I Am released last year Slovenian band Moonlight Sky pretty much picked things up where their 2006 debut self titled album left off and yet they also made some significent improvements as well. While their first record was an almost even mix of instrumental and vocal tracks that stuck to classic rock with bluesy undertones, I Am comes across as more of a well rounded and mature sounding disc.
This time around band members Andraz Kržič (vocals / keys), Miha Petric (guitars), Janez Moder (bass) and new drummer Žiga Kožar have clearly put more effort into their songwriting and arrangements, and the result is an album that is a significant step forward. The band's sound is still rooted primarily in classic rock and blues and yet there's also progressive rock, jazz and even a bit of funk on display here as well.
After kicking things off with Petric's acoustic guitar instrumental "I Am (Intro)" they shift gears into the rather bloated hard rock stomp of "That Look In Your Eyes", which at almost six and half minutes tends to drag on a bit too long. "King of the Golden Rings" is an interesting song that has a bit of an eastern sounding tinge to it. One of the things that I thought was holding the band back on their debut effort was Kržič's vocals which to me lacked character and the necessary presence that a lead vocalist must possess. Well you can throw those comments out the window because I have no bone to pick with his poignant delivery on this track, not to mention his splendid vocals on the piano driven "Secrets" and "Family Wound".
The sound of Moonlight Sky's debut album was primarily driven by Miha Petric's sizzling guitar work, and while he hasn't gone completely AWOL here, his playing on I Am does come across a slightly more understated, although he does get to tear it up on "I Am Blues". Likewise he really shines through on a couple of instrumentals as well, specifically "Chautauqua" and "Caviar", which concludes with a brief drum solo from Kožar .
In the end I Am clearly demonstrates just how far Moonlight Sky has come as musicians in just a few short years. While album number one revealed a band with a significant amount of upside that was perhaps a bit rough around the edges, they've not only polished up those edges, but the music on this album reveals a clearer sense of direction of where they want to go musically. It will certainly be interesting to see where they take it from here.
1) I Am (Intro)
2) That Look In Your Eyes
3) King Of The Golden Ring
5) One Day One Night
6) I Am Blues
8) Family Wound
10) I Am (Outro)