"The first of this "two-fer" is Crack The Sky's self-titled debut. It is an impressive first effort. From the start, the band is a tight overly-competent outfit well suited to accompanying John Palumbo's eccentric and quirky compositions. Highlights include Ice and Surf City. This is a fine marriage of prog-rock and Beatles influenced pop. Great stuff. The second recording, White Music is not up to the bands high standard. The drums in particular are dated and undermine the overall sound. The compositions aren't very compelling. For their better recordings check out their debut Crack The Sky and the follow-up Animal Notes(their finest). Safety In Numbers and Crack The Sky Live are also fine efforts...Simon"
You CAN Still Get This, Worth Seeking Out
JOHN SPOKUS | BALTIMORE, MARYLAND United States | 08/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the unitiated, Crack The Sky was possibly the greatest 70's band that never quite "made it" like they should have. This collection was issued by Baltimore's Record And Tape Traders, and as far as I know they still sell it. What you have here is their two best albums, minus a lesser cut from each. Both records are totally different animals though. The debut is epic, grandiose and orchestrated, somewhere between progressive and classic hard rock. "A Sea Epic", "Robots For Ronnie", and "Ice" are some of the most ambitious recordings of the period. White Music is their fourth release and it's also a masterpiece but on a totally different level. This record was closer to the early new wave and power pop of it's era, with a more streamlined sound. It ranks up there with the debuts of The Cars and The Knack and falls somewhere in between them stylistically. "Hot Razors", "Techni Generation" and "Poptown" are all standouts. John Palumbo was a gifted songwriter, but this would be his last great work. Following the horrible Photo Flamingo (never issued on CD, and who cares)the band lost it's major label deal with CBS affiliate label Lifesong and drifted around on indie labels reforming occasionally and making lackluster records to this day. They can still pack a club in Baltimore, but it's just re-hash now."
CTS's remarkable debut, plus their 'cold war' music
zeke_third-shift-rules | 05/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My score reflects the balance of a 5 star rating for CRACK THE SKY and 3 stars for WHITE MUSIC. The debut LP - CRACK THE SKY - is sheer genius! Musically speaking, this record soars, rips, sweeps, burns, dances and zips. The interplay between Witkowski, D'Amico, Palumbo, et al, is so inspired, original & innovative it's astonishing. The 1st 2 cuts, HOLD ON and SURF CITY, basically run into each other as 1 track, for a total of about 5 minutes by the clock & the CD player, but they are crammed with about 12 minutes of music. SEA..., SHE'S... and ROBOTS... begin CTS's penchant for amusing tunes (maybe like 10 CC or Zappa) which are still highly listenable. SHE'S... also launches Palumbo's interest into probing the lives, relationships and sex of 'interesting' types: the hot, sexy, dancing chick is more than meets the eye. SLEEP is the lush song from this debut. Palumbo, a lyricist that I rate along side the likes of Dylan (Bob), Waters (Roger), Lennon (John), and Young (Neil) is so frankly self honest sometimes, you wonder if his songs are a form of therapy. HOLD ON is an example, and even more so is ICE. ICE has great string arrangements and Witowski's superb guitars, but Palumbo's questioning of his soon to be ex-wife's loyalty and sense of responsibility will really strike a cord among anyone who's been abandoned by a true love. (This isn't just my favorite CTS LP, ICE is my #1 CTS tune).WHITE MUSIC, their 4th studio outing, is obviously by a veteran band. Not so much experimentation as prior efforts, but, despite the 4 minute song length (average) for these numbers, they are still CTS-ish in the sense that none are very close to Top 40 fare, which is what partly doomed these guys from the beginning. Also, by W.M., Vince Depaul was a full fledged member, as CTS began hitting their fluctuating lineup changes in full stride. I call this their 'cold war' LP because the tunes explore American jingoism (several cuts), the evolving pop scene for the 80's (WHITE MUSIC), whether the U.S.A. would have to scale back or supply-side expand (SKIN DEEP and LIVING...), as well as life in the "Evil Empire" (this 1's obvious ). Palumbo seems to see the coming of our modern computer age in a Nostradamish way in TECHNI GENERATION (except for those typewriters!). Of the (mostly)original lineup's 4 beginning LPs, I've always found W.M. as the weakest, but it's still good, as well as different from the mainstream. CTS would continue to make good, atypical music, such as the indie-label WORLD IN MOTION, but W.M. was their next to last studio LP foran even semi-major label such as Lifesong. (PHOTO FLAMINGO, with even more personnel changes, was last.)Note: this disc is missing WE WANT MINE from the CRACK THE SKY LP, as well as a tune (I forget which) from WHITE MUSIC."
C. Butler | Baltimore, MD, USA | 01/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't want to go on too much here, but Crack the Sky is one of the best bands around (still gigging in the MD area, check out their website if you're interested ..., and White Music is a good example of CTS on the top of their game. Not the absolute best CTS but very cool songs featuring some of JohnP's typically sarcastic songwriting and great playing from the band."
Just A Note Of Caution
Redrum | Buffalo, NY | 02/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Two very good Crack the Sky Albums on one CD, with White Music being considerably weaker, but the song "Hot Razors" is worth it.
However, A word of caution with this very hard to find CD. The CD lists "Selections From" each of the two CD's Yup, three songs are missing. Not the two complete outings as seemingly advertised
Still worth it if you can find it, otherwise just go for CTS without White Music"