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Sky vs Sea - Earthshaper Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 7.5
Production 5
Creativity 6
Lasting Value 7
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 69%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.08
Musicianship 8.75
Lyrics 8
Production 7.08
Creativity 8.42
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 9
Average: 83%
Inside AP.net

Sky vs Sea - Earthshaper

Reviewed by: TestwoodRapier (01/15/11)
Sky vs Sea - Earthshaper
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: August 22, 2010

Earthshaper is the debut EP from six-piece, Pennsylvania based Sky vs Sea. Earthshaper is an apt moniker for a record that has an other-worldly feel to it; the guitars are ambient and atmospheric, accentuated by saccharine-tinged dual vocals, all underpinned by a layer of electronics that help to round off a space-like quality to the songs. In their biography the band’s claim is to ‘create something unique in an otherwise monotonous scene’ and whilst I wouldn’t agree that this EP achieves this purpose, Earthshaper shows sufficient potential to indicate that they may be capable of doing so in the future.

What becomes clear rather quickly is where the band gets its inspiration. The aforementioned astral aspect of the music resembles Of Machines’ 2009 release ‘As If Everything Was Held In Place’ and the general pace and feel of the songs are reminiscent of Secret and Whisper’s ‘Teenage Fantasy’. In fact on first listen, it is rather tempting to cast this release aside as simply another extra in an already overcrowded shot, but for a debut EP there is an air of quality about the band that demands further attention. For the most part, this quality resides in the vocal delivery.

What serves the band best of all in this review is that I am a sucker for a good melody. Throughout the EP the vocals soar above the mix, creating memorable choruses and sugary-sweet verses that compliment the atmospheric tones of the music very nicely. The melody writing pays homage to The Receiving End of Sirens, and on several occasions you can hear the influence that TREOS have had on the band, with the two vocalists overlapping and harmonizing as if they were singing the Earth Mi Fa Mi.

Musically, the guitars serve to create an atmospheric backdrop to the vocals, sauntering through up-tempo chord arrangements, interlaced with ambient lead lines that go hand-in-hand with the electronics to produce the space-like tones alluded to previously. Whilst this offers a good foundation upon which to build the vocals, the band could do more in this area to differentiate themselves from other bands in the genre.

My main gripe with this EP is the production. Whilst it gives the songs a space-age veneer that helps to give the band a certain style, it removes the human element of the band and replaces it with a machine-like quality that makes the songs sound overly processed. There is a lack of a natural, organic band dynamic, almost as though the songs have been written on a white-board rather than a practice room, with each member of the band recording their parts in isolation from one another. As a result the songs sound a little flat and lifeless, which is a real shame as the melodies being transmitted through the vocals demand more emotion than this. The production could work if the record was designed to be a concept piece, whereby the production represented the setting of a scene for a story, but the composition and content of the songs do not lend themselves to a concept and therefore the two do not compliment each other.

That said, this is a debut EP, signifying that the band are in the early stages of their development and the strength of the vocals and proficiency of the musicians throughout Earthshaper clearly show that there is great potential here. In order for the band to achieve their mission of offering something unique amongst the monotony of the scene, they should ensure that their next release is produced in a way that matches the content and emotion that the band wish to convey. If this can be achieved then Sky vs Sea will deservedly attract a lot of interest with their full length album.

Recommended If You LikeOf Machines, The Receiving End of Sirens, Secret and Whisper


http://www.myspace.com/skyvssea/
 
Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14.
07:43 PM on 01/17/11
#2
DCART
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im in agreement with a lot of this stuff on here..i've seen these guys twice at this tiny venue like 2 blocks away from me, and their live show is a LOT more passionate. and they like to admit that "their only good song is other worlds" or whatever its called
11:50 AM on 01/18/11
#3
mr527
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im a huge fan of this EP. its very catchy and the guitars are pretty unique. i think they over-do it alittle with the electronics but there arent many other bad things i can say about it. this band should definitely go somewhere with this
10:31 AM on 01/19/11
#4
AmongthechosenX
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really liking this! great review, spot on. the ambience of the record isnt that bad after all. vox work very well, guitars are near perfect. alot like woe is me and of machines
03:59 PM on 01/20/11
#5
armoireofdoom
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Musically this ep is great. Vocally it's a huge letdown.
07:38 PM on 01/31/11
#6
emcktrevor
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Musically this ep is great. Vocally it's a huge letdown.

I agree, the vocals on their demos actually flowed a bit better. I found that the vocals on most of the actual EP never really caught my attention. They're musicianship is great though, as well as their live performance.
10:00 PM on 01/31/11
#7
armoireofdoom
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I agree, the vocals on their demos actually flowed a bit better. I found that the vocals on most of the actual EP never really caught my attention. They're musicianship is great though, as well as their live performance.
Where can I get their demos? I'd really like to hear them.
04:56 AM on 02/01/11
#8
TestwoodRapier
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I agree, the vocals on their demos actually flowed a bit better. I found that the vocals on most of the actual EP never really caught my attention. They're musicianship is great though, as well as their live performance.
I'd also be interested in hearing those demos.

Were the effects toned down on them?
12:34 PM on 02/01/11
#9
emcktrevor
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Where can I get their demos? I'd really like to hear them.
I don't think they're available anymore. You might be able to search for them, they were demo versions of "Other Worlds" and "Ascending". There was one point where you could e-mail the band for them, I never took advantage of it though.
10:12 PM on 02/01/11
phillycheese37
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I really enjoy this EP, and I would very interested in a follow up full length. The melodies are great, I just with there was a little less auto-tune (or pitch correction- call it what you will) in the vocals, or at least that it was a little less noticeable.
04:42 AM on 02/02/11
TestwoodRapier
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I really enjoy this EP, and I would very interested in a follow up full length. The melodies are great, I just with there was a little less auto-tune (or pitch correction- call it what you will) in the vocals, or at least that it was a little less noticeable.
They've got the potential to be really good, they just need to tone down the production.

In this day and age it's very easy for people to assume bands can't perform their stuff effectively live because of over doing the auto-tune, or having really smooth production. You can tell that these guys are talented, but if the songs sounded more organic, they'd get far more credibility and attention.
10:41 AM on 03/15/11
teamnate
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I cannot believe I found this band. I'm very glad to be on the ground floor of what is sure to be a ridiculous and awesome career for these guys.

Noting the production, maybe they should get into contact with the folks who do I Am Abomination. That production team could tear these guys apart.
02:56 PM on 04/07/11
skyvssea
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Hello All! thank you for the feedback, good and band. We are happy to see that many people enjoy it. We put everything we could into this EP and we are very happy with the way it turned out, especially the production. This EP was recorded in a basement by a good friend of ours and not in a high end studio. We are very proud of the way it turned out and think that the production fits well with other albums in the same scene. I'm really happy you said that it reminded you of 'Teenage Fantasy' because we had finished all of the writing and almost all of the tracking before that CD was released, so I'll count that as a plus. With that said we just released a single entitled "Hyaline." You can check it out at our facebook or purevolume page. We also filmed a video for other worlds, which I will post below. Thanks again!

-Sky Vs Sea

10:50 AM on 04/18/11
seymourbuttes
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Hello All! thank you for the feedback, good and band. We are happy to see that many people enjoy it. We put everything we could into this EP and we are very happy with the way it turned out, especially the production. This EP was recorded in a basement by a good friend of ours and not in a high end studio. We are very proud of the way it turned out and think that the production fits well with other albums in the same scene. I'm really happy you said that it reminded you of 'Teenage Fantasy' because we had finished all of the writing and almost all of the tracking before that CD was released, so I'll count that as a plus. With that said we just released a single entitled "Hyaline." You can check it out at our facebook or purevolume page. We also filmed a video for other worlds, which I will post below. Thanks again!

-Sky Vs Sea


Epic. The reviewer is retarded. He's just looking for shit to compare to. The triple guitarwork is sick, and can't wait for the second new song
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