ORANGE SKY
"Upstairs"

(Granite/Fontana/Universal)

01. It's Over
02. Escape
03. Beautiful Day
04. Alone
05. Angels
06. Dogs
07. Peace Train
08. Cast Away
09. Real Love
10. Tug of War
11. Alive
12. Falling

RATING: 6.5/10

You just don't hear a lot about bands from Trinidad and Tobago. These guys are out to change that, and they've got friends in their corner as diverse as KANSAS frontman Phil Ehart and BLACK SABBATH producer Jeff Glixman. They're also touring the U.S. right now with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, an odd but interesting bill that seems to be getting the band a fair bit of attention.

ORANGE SKY, perhaps due to the pressures of being in an isolated scene and having to give the people what they want, throw a little bit of everything into their sound — there's a hard rock element, some reggae influence, a bit of jam-band vibe. It all blends together nicely, and they kinda wind up sounding like a heavy metal BLUES TRAVELER — charismatic vocals, heavy chords, and catchy, smooth songs. The guitar work stands out, giving their otherwise jammy songs a somewhat metallic edge, and their solos are as tasteful as they are impressive. "Escape" should be all over the airwaves — its tasty MAIDEN lick, anthemic chorus and head-nodding rhythm make for a great tune, and one that would put these guys on the map in a just world.

Overall, "Upstairs" is nothing essential — and their cover of CAT STEVENS' soggy "Peace Train" is darn-near unforgivable — but ORANGE SKY acquit themselves well here. This sound could really connect with a lot of people in the rest of the world, given the chance — it's accessible, infectious, and just quirky enough to belie its exotic origins. It may not be the full-on titanium bludgeon of what we usually review here, but hard rockers looking for something off the beaten path should check it out.

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