Skye – Back To Now (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
SKYE is the artist otherwise known as the silky smooth vocals behind early Morcheeba. And while she has returned to that fold on more than one occasion, she also continues to release solo albums, with varying degrees of success.
Back To Now, her third, is a pleasant enough listen but it struggles to captivate in the same way that her Morcheeba collaborations do. The voice is still dazzling. But the songs fall short on several occasions.
Working with producer Stephen Fitzmaur (of Paloma Faith/Professor Green fame), she has opted for a slightly darker sound, discarding guitar and piano in favour of beats and loops. It doesn’t entirely convince.
Album opener Troubled Heart catches the attention initially thanks to some Indian-style chanting and a moody electronic backdrop but it fails to deliver a chorus that really gets into your head, no matter how good it is to hear those vocals once again.
But the same problem shackles a lot of the tracks. There’s some interesting electronic arrangements but the songs fail to stand out in general.
The exceptions – and there are some – include former single Featherlight, which picks up the tempo and embellishes the dark electronics with something more approaching pop. It has zip, too, which lends it some dance credibility.
High Life, meanwhile, benefits from leaning towards the trip-hop more heavily and placing a genuinely enchanting central vocal over some trippy, Moby-esque vocoder backing vocals. It has a futuristic vibe about it that’s appealing.
And Every Little Lie thrives on its sensual, even seductive mix of Abba-style retro values and breathy Kylie tendencies. The chorus is arguably the best the album has to offer.
Elsewhere, it’s decidedly more hit and miss. Tracks like Dissolve and Little Bit Lost don’t really offer anything to make them memorable. Although Bright Light does at least ensure the album ends on another high note and one that recalls the pleasure of listening to Skye’s Morcheeba days.
Her voice is always worth listening to; but Back To Now could have offered a little bit more.
Download picks: Featherlight, High Life, Every Little Lie, Bright Light