Skyfactor drops LP ‘A Thousand Sounds’


Through harmonic smoke rings and tender percussive clapping arises “A Thousand Sounds,” the title track and first song on Skyfactor’s latest album which serves as a foray into their blistering mixture of bucolic acoustic swing and rock viciousness. A dialogue from within the mind of our lead vocalist sends chills through our body as he sings of emotions that are hard to describe without a radiant melody to soundtrack them. The anthemic vibe carries over into the agile “Long Way to Go,” which takes a second to heat up but makes up for lost time by gifting us a percussive part that will make even a dedicated wallflower want to hit the dancefloor and bust a move. Whoever it was that suggested acoustic rock as an inferior take on the genre’s over the top bravado will likely be kicking themselves in the head after listening to just these first two songs, which effectively shatter the notion irreparably.

“What We Had” and “Lost at Sea” help to keep the middle of the record from feeling forced, which is important considering how emotionally exhausting “Better for the Moment” and “The Whole World’s Here” (my favorite song from the album) are in their tone. Bob Ziegler, who is the chief lyricist and man behind the microphone for Skyfactor, speaks his mind in A Thousand Sounds and doesn’t bother to brace us for the emotional purge he engages in as we lumber through the tracks. Honestly I love that there’s no cushioning between his words and us – this way we get to really feel the gravity of his narratives without getting lost in the melodies that are swirling all around him.

I’m pretty familiar with the past work that Skyfactor has released, and in the songs “Run Away” and “Stay Dear” I hear only traces of their old formula, which I think was more alternative in nature than this record is in general. This is a pretty cut and dry album, and short and simple acoustic pop numbers like these two accentuate the uncomplicatedness of its outline marvelously. They aren’t rooted in the rock n’ roll fire and brimstone that “Damn the Remote” is, but they provide a look into where Skyfactor could go with their sound in the future if they continue to sharpen the style that they use here.

“New Day” acts as the perfect introduction to A Thousand Sounds’ final track “Hoboken Lullaby” by building up all of our emotions and letting them simmer under the command of Ziegler’s closing declaration that “Even when I’m not near, Just look up and I’ll be there, I’ll be there….” Indeed, after the strings cease to vibrate and the glow of the amplifiers dissipates our minds can’t help but wander to these words, which become all the more moving with every listen. Skyfactor have done a lot of great things in the last twelve years, but never have I heard a more comprehensive representation of their aesthetic than I do in A Thousand Sounds. You don’t have to know much about this band to get into this record, and if you didn’t have a deep appreciation of melodic rock before diving into its eleven tracks, my gut tells me you will by the time you finish.


Gwen Waggoner