Album Review: Skyharbor | Sunshine Dust
Skyharbor has garnered a loyal fanbase in the progressive community and for good reason. The masterminds of this band have borrowed and blended a masterful concoction of genres to devise their extraordinary take on their craft. Finally, after four years we get to hear the latest effort, Sunshine Dust, which brings back familiar elements from previous efforts and combine the placidity of their ambient prog sound with their ridiculously heavy riffs. Ambient style music always runs the risk of creating clouded arrangements because of the composition, but the amazing production allows for no note to be buried in a wall of noise.
Kicking off this album with a harmonious interlude, “Signal” lulls the listener into the familiarity of a calm and soothing composition before building up to a relaxing post-rock sound. This transitions into their first track, “Dim,” which takes a softer approach in the verses before delivering a powerful punchy chorus. The ability to transition in and out of different ambiance for this song and it is an exceptional example of the craftsmanship that this group possesses. The creative output changes each verse to be distinct from the last, constructing an ever-evolving piece. One of the most outstanding traits of this band is being able to create such smooth transitions throughout different degrees of heaviness.
“The Reckoning” sounds exactly as you think it would. It fits into this composition like an intermission to give the listener a break and take time to process the album. This instrumental song builds up like a Godspeed You! Black Emperor track, where the sound progressively escalates from this soothing melody into a boisterous and vivid entity that fills one with adrenaline. The juxtaposition between these intensities both symbiotically enhances the level of intensity in the atmosphere. It ends on a beautiful and tranquil harmony which then diminishes into nothingness.
Skyharbor is capable of creating cloudy and chilling instrumentals in, “Temptress,” which concocts omnipotent dismay. The distorted guitars disfigure the calm atmosphere that is showcased in so many of their songs and create this unsettling heavy vibe all while the muddled unsettling whispers cause trepidation.
Closing out with their self-titled track, “Sunshine Dust”, the band ties together the whole CD by adding in intimate elements from the entire piece to give a sense of closure to the listener. Showcasing their virtuoso instrumentals and vocals, they produce a dazzling composition with a soothing vibe. Ending with this song finishes the cycle of this album and completes the Sunshine Dust chapter in a beautiful way.
The immersive experience that Skyharbor establishes is unparalleled by any band. Like each previous efforts, Sunshine Dust takes you through a journey. It is always hard to imagine how a group will differentiate themselves from other artists in the genre and even their own albums, but leave it to Skyharbor because they have always been able to continually create unique experiences with every effort.