Welcome to Sky Valley (Elektra)
by Paul Lee
Welcome to your astral journey. Your hosts are known as Kyuss, and they’ll take you for a sonic ride the likes of which you’ve only experienced when tripping. These are four dudes who have touched the heavens and honed their wares in the fires of psychedelia and acid rock. Welcome To Sky Valley (Elektra) is the ship to the lands beyond that Kyuss own. They’ve become the sun, the moon and the stars and… sorry, I’m losing myself. OK, here’s why I dig this new Kyuss, them trippin’ dudes from the deserts of Cali.
Their sound is saturated to the hilt with fuzzed-out distortion and psych jams. Kyuss have half their cerebral hemispheres floating in the acid regions and the other in our bombastic, screwed-up age of discontent. The great thing about ’em is that, like a cool drug, Kyuss takes you away from the anger and the madness that usually fuels music with this much energy. If you can plug into wailing acid rock, then Kyuss may be for you. But, be forewarned, they don’t sound like anyone in particular.
Welcome To Sky Valley is groovy and supercharged with power. Tunes alternately tear away and float from the speakers. Hooking your senses into Kyuss is akin to being on a runaway bullet-train while in an altered state of consciousness. Songs like the opener, “Gardenia,” shoot out waves of sparks and energy. “Asteroid” begins with a soothing phaser-soaked guitar and then opens up and lets loose. Not all on Sky Valley is acid strength. They slow it down with mellow-vibed tunes like “Space Cadet,” with its acoustic guitar/sitar flow. Produced by Chris Goss, the smooth singer/guitarist of retro-rockers Masters of Reality, Sky Valley bridges the past and the present well.
There’s only one aspect of Sky Valley that really annoys me: There are three tracks on the CD (four if you count the unlisted song “Lick My Doo”) and ten songs. You can only access certain songs by scrolling through the tracks. They said they did this as a joke (ho, ho!). Some of the jams run a bit long too, but that’s the nature of the tunes, I suppose.
Sky Valley is a solid creation spawned from the deserts of California. There’s a great vibe happening here; you can almost feel the blazing heat and taste the arid sand. Now I must check out their other discs (like Blues For The Red Sun). Don’t go near Kyuss if you hate retro-acid-fuzz (I hate The Greatful Dead but still dig Kyuss, who could stomp all over those geriatric hippies). Come along for the ride if you dig this far-out type ‘o mania.