Album Review: Skye | Ross - 'Skye | Ross'.
Until relatively recently better known as two thirds of electro trip-hop act Morcheeeba, Ross Godfrey and Skye Ross have returned following the dissolution of their previous outfit with this, their debut album as a pairing. Pursuing their own musical path while retaining the soulful sound that they are best known for, the duo are forging ahead minus the other Godfrey brother, Paul. With their former act buried for good, Skye | Ross sees the pair making a fresh start; the results of which are reassuringly familiar.
Unsurprisingly, Skye |Ross plough a similar musical furrow to their former act. More of a rebranding than a complete overhaul, Godfrey has stated that the difference between this album and a Morcheeba one, is that it is; “less electronic, and more organic”. What this means, broadly speaking, is that there are more guitars; acoustic and otherwise, and less processed beats. Pleasingly, it’s an approach that suits them.
Starting off innocuously enough, with the rhythm section-free, lazily strummed summer chords of ‘Repay The Saviour’, it isn’t until first single ‘Light Of Gold’ that Skye | Ross step out into more familiar territory. A dreamscape lament that recalls their most well-known works (’Part Of The Process’, ‘The Sea’), it’s restrained electronica at its finest. ‘All My Days’ follows in a similar vein, with melancholia-tinged verses interspersed with some tasteful wah-wah fretwork from multi-instrumentalist Godfrey.
Where the dark and funky ‘How To Fly’ meanwhile, adds disco stomp, and ‘Hold On’ offers slow electro soul, it’s all the while Edwards’ seductive vocals that shine. Understated, Skye’s performance seems effortless, and it’s this approach that gives the album it’s laid-back aesthetic.
Unhurried is a setting that suits Sky | Ross particularly well, and this is none more apparent than on the album’s most stripped back tracks. Both ‘Clear My Mind’ and ‘Head Home’ feature minimal instrumentation, with the former built around nothing more than a lone acoustic guitar and voice. Tender and wistful, ‘Clear My Mind’ is simply beautiful, and the album’s high point, while the latter ‘s modern day folk takes the listener on a reflective journey.
Elsewhere, ‘Medicine’ offers some radio-friendly soul, while ‘Feet First’ continues the upbeat mood, with its driving rock edge bolstered by Godfrey’s abilities as a guitarist, via a series of moody solos. Adding slide guitar to his repertoire with the closing ‘The Point Of No Return’, the seductive blues number is the perfect slow burner on which to end.
‘Skye | Ross’ offers music to chill out to, with the pulse never raising above that of someone who’s unsure of whether to spend another ten minutes lounging in the pool, or relax in the shade with a book. Subdued but classy, measured but assured, it's a welcome return. Flip-flops; optional.
By Eamon O'Neill on 14th September 2016.
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Click here for our interview with Ross Godfrey.