Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sky Orchid - Oculus (2017)

Written by Mike Yoder, posted by blog admin

The Traknyak brothers from Kansas have long been carving a soon to be musical legacy across their local area.  With tour and recording dates taking them throughout Kansas, Texas and Tennessee, they are making their radius known more and more every single day.  They’ve also received airplay on at least 50 different Internet stations at this point as well.  Oculus is their first full-length outing and it deserves a careful, deliberate ear for its many musical intricacies.  There’s no specific genre and the duo of Gabriel and Daniel traverse several within each of the songs on this 10-track offering. 

The soothing waves of the aptly titled “The River” gets things going with a downbeat piano melody giving way to electronica drum programming and sky shot vocals that really ascend to a big pay-off of hard guitar meat and densely layered sound collage. What starts as a leisurely stroll ends with volume and a wall of sound type production befitting a late great psychedelic rock band.  This record is full of these nuances with “Sneakers” following much of the same blueprint though it replaces the piano focal point with guitar and launches into a heavy rocker of the highest order long before the endnote.  “In the Fire (Part 1)” is a subtle dirge that reckons of the album opener with the follow-up of “Wildfire” changing the trajectory dramatically in a wake of acoustic guitars, superb vocal melodies and lurching beats that open up into wider electric expanses towards the finish line. 

The frenetic “I’ll Stop the World (Part 2)” mingles faster, riff-driven bursts with slower downshifts that showcase a split personality between heavier and lighter vibes that still keep mindful of excellent musical melodies and big vocal hooks.  Tempos descend on the crumbling “Lex” and the tune’s scintillating guitar smolders, powerhouse drum thumping and fire-forged vocal mantras.  This strange otherworldly flavor is offset by the bluesy rollick of “Breathe Easy” and the almost ska-guitar boogie of “Take It All.”  These tracks are certainly the odd man out on the record stylistically, but somehow they fit within the overall framework.  Sky Orchid returns to darkly shaded surrealism on “Yesterday” and “Fortify,” making for a very strong send-off for the record at large.  There are no duds to be found here and all of the songs obviously had a long gestation period for all of the individual parts to develop and solidify. 

Oculus couldn’t be a stronger flagship release from the brothers Traknyak.  They’ve got strong musical chops, sharp songwriting skills, fantastic ears for production and all-around full bodied sense of how their sound should be portrayed to the masses.  With the proper label push and backing that understands their music, there is no reason that Sky Orchid couldn’t become a household name.  The duo has gotten a sizable following from their touring and recording out in the Midwest and it’s only a matter of time before they start branching out and taking over other parts of the United States.  Oculus is a fantastic debut that should be heard by everyone.         

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