A blast from the past this one. Released in January 1971, I bought this from a remainder bin in 72 or 73 and I still play it now.
Although following the power trio format popular of the time, their sound is actually quite distinctive with a definite psych/prog crossover element. As it says on the spine of the original LP "Play It Loud" (perhaps the album was originally going to be called this, but Slade had beaten them to it?). IMO The Groundhogs sound like their biggest influence, which is no bad thing, but they do have their own sound.
The side long track Journey To The Inside Of The Sun has some great interplay, and considering these lads were only 18 at the time, it is quite an achievement. The first part of this epic, Sweet Leaf, has some good boogie action, interspersed with quieter psychy phases, follwed by Rocket Ride, played in a Groundhogs style. The track finishes with I'm Coming Home which although a little disjointed is still a decent work out.
Side 2 starts with the great You Mystify, with some basic time changes and lots of reverb on the chorus vocals. A great bit of fret wizardry too. Tools Of My Trade is very Cream like in places, but with enough style of its own to shine. builds nicely in the middle section. Things slow down for My Heaven which is the most psychedelic of all the songs and has some nice instrumentation. The closer Birdcatcher, has good riffage and a very odd ending fading away with flute and lazy hand clapping. Very stoned.
As with most Vertigo acts of the time virtually nothing was spent on promotion and unfortunately Clear Blue Sky did not get the chance to develop as they should have done, and split up soon after, only reforming many years later.
4 out of 5
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