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China Sky: II

Tragically as I sat down to write this review, news began to filter through that China Sky (and Molly Hatchet) drummer Bruce Crump had passed away. Therefore let's celebrate that he and his China Sky bandmates took the opportunity to follow up their quarter of a century old self titled debut effort, with the simply titled II. Thankfully it's an album to be proud of and one which serves the legacy of a band overlooked at the time, but who became cult classics as the years wore on, well. Unsurprisingly II maybe doesn't hit the amazing heights of that Arena Rock debut and yet in an understated way it makes a mark all of its own. Singer Ron Perry always had a great voice and while a little Peter Criss hoarseness has crept into his Joe Lyn Turner like delivery, it actually serves to bring even more character to his style. Although he does appear to struggle a little with the bruising "I'm A Survivor". Opener "One Life" may initially seem a strange choice to reintroduce China Sky, all mid paced and brooding, yet the smooth atmosphere it brings quickly becomes irresistible. It may not be the uptempo smack these kind of albums should launch with, but it's one of the best on show, so it works nonetheless and the "grab the moment" sentiment behind the lyrics becomes even more poignant with the sad news regarding Crump.

Throughout, guitarist Steve Wheeler introduces a sense of urgency, darting runs and cascading riffs infusing and enlivening "You're Not Alone" and "You'll Get Yours" with a real sense of energy. However he isn't afraid to back off to allow the keyboards of Tim McGowan to add nudges of melodical delight, or the bass of Richard Smith to bring a brooding boost. Things don't always quite manage to meet those high standards though, a couple of the mid album numbers falling into the good, but hardly vital category. "The Richest Man In The World" borrows a little too heavily from Julian Lennon's "Salt Water" for its main melody, while "Enemy" wanders perilously close to Journey by numbers. However in the end the good far outweighs the not quite so and there's no bad.

As unexpected, overdue returns go, II from China Sky must rank as one of the better of recent years. Those who want to raid the cupboard to unearth their mullet wig and denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up will find much to revel in here. I know I have.

Track Listing
1. One Life
2. The Road Not Taken
3. You're Not The One
4. I Believe In You
5. I Wish I Could Fly
6. Enemy
7. I'm A Survivor
8. The Richest Man In The World
9. You'll Get Yours
10. The Darkness
11. Give It Up
12. Dreams I'll Never See

Added: March 22nd 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: China Sky on Facebook
Hits: 1438
Language: english

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