Stillborn Skies
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"CD Review - Stillborn Skies Release Their Long Awaited First Album"

By Katie Whitman

Stillborn Skies reaches band “maturity” this month as they achieve that celebrated milestone marked by hours of blood, sweat, and tears in dark practice rooms and behind multi-slider mixing boards. Yes, fans, Stillborn Skies is releasing their very first album on November 27th at Loft in which they will play their entire album, front to back, live, along with a few new songs that “will be on the next album.” An impressive array of special guest bands, Satellite Grey, Busekrus, Prevail, Disaster Kit, and Clones of the Queen (Ara, singer of the late great Malcognitas’, new band), will entertain starting at 7pm until 1 am. DJ Ross Jackson will fill in the gaps and perform a full DJ set from his signature library of indie rock after the bands are done.

Stillborn’s new CD has been long awaited by many. You see, when Stillborn Skies hit the stages in their current line up, they quickly became one of the best loved, most buzzed about, and perhaps one of the most criticized new bands in the scene. Why the adoration and the controversy? Because this three-piece has a winning mixture of attributes that make audiences take notice – talent, skill, image, passion, experience, and discipline.

The magic mix? Lead singer, Pat Soler, has a singing voice that I have personally heard people talk about in awe, skill on the guitar, and the commanding presence and flair on stage that a good, heck, great front man should have. Bassist, Brian Coleman, originally from Breaking the Innocent, is referred to by his band mates as the “missing link.” Upon joining Stillborn Skies, the group gelled, thanks to Brian’s command of the bass and of the stage. Arguably one of the best drummers in the music scene, Jason Smith’s ability to humbly, yet impactfully and impressively compliment the music with hard-hitting punches and rare flashy stick twirls rounds out the group’s impressive characteristics.

Of course, if you get three great musicians on stage that could care less about what each other are doing, you’ll never have a great band. It is the chemistry between these three that really set them apart. Patrick describes how the band changed when Brian joined, “The second he came in, everything just locked right in. This is where we want to go with the music. It was easier [and] more fun writing… Took a lot less time and work to get on our feet once we got him. “ Brian asserts the same feeling, “To look at these two guys and know what we are going to do before we do it. That’s so refreshing.”

People did notice when Stillborn Skies gelled and became a tighter, flashier, visually coordinated band that could move around the stage and interact with each other. Apparently, they were often accused of working out their stage antics ahead of time. Jason explains, “That’s probably one of the things that we got the most flack for.” In reality, they mostly just stand up straight in practice. Pat adds, “We can’t jump either. It’s a low ceiling.”

Stillborn Skies’ album was recorded at Vibe Asylum Studio, a windfall because Jason used to work there. Brian enthusiastically expresses, “[Vibe] went above and beyond to help us out with the whole thing.” Owner Ben occasionally played the “imperative role of unspoken producer.” Thanks to Jason’s prior experience, he was able to take the reigns and do the majority of the recording and mixing himself. This allowed the band to be somewhat experimental during the recording process and enabled them to add, well, pretty much anything they wanted to the music.

The new album has four part harmonies, layered guitar parts, a general story, and something more. What? “Ooooh, we can’t say. Let’s just say, there are elements in there that will help you along with the story.” While the record is not a full-on concept album, it is a story about boy meets girl. As the writer of the songs, this story is based loosely on Pat’s experiences, “It’s very much a romance. Boy meets girl. They have everyday real-life problems. They break up. They try to get back together and you see what happens in the end.”

Look out for what happens in the end on November 27th at the Loft in Chinatown and listen to the band’s music online at www.myspace.com/stillbornskies. - 808SceneZine


"The 808 Scene Zine Issue #43, November 7, 2009 CD REVIEW:"

Stillborn Skies “a high-heeled deception”

After months of anticipation, the Zine finally got a mastered copy of Stillborn Skies' debut album a few days before deadline for review. The band has been teasing the scene with little bits here and there of songs that were preliminary mixes and everything that they have put out for fans to listen to has been top-notch. However, this album blows away any of the Stillborn Skies recordings that you may have heard and is easily one of the best sounding albums to come out of Hawaii's local music scene, period. This is the first time that I have gotten a disc from a local band that actually sounds like a CD that would be shrink-wrapped on a top ten best selling rack at mainstream record store.

This is a tremendous accomplishment for the band, especially because the entire recording and mixing process was done by the band themselves. Mastering was done professionally in New York City, which is always a good idea for a band that can scrap up the cash to do so. Talking with the band about the recording process had them reminiscing about nights where they spent hours just moving microphones around an amplifier looking for sonic nirvana, layering rhythm tracks with 6 totally different guitar/amp/cabinet setups, and blind listening tests with more than 20 different mastering houses! In an interview with the Zine, they said that they spent at least 15 hours on the production of each song in the studio! Clearly, the ends have certainly justified the means and Stillborn Skies has set the bar for how a local rock album can sound.

A great sounding album is nothing without great songs to begin with, and Stillborn Skies has a unique sound that is well received in the Scene. Throughout the CD’s 13 tracks, the music is dynamic, but some of the vocal melodies from song to song can sound a little repetitive at times. Fans will love the finalized versions of favorites like “Love to Hate” and “From Brand to Scar.” It is awesome to hear fully realized studio recordings of these live favorites. My favorite song is “Read My Lips” which starts out sounding thin and distant with a really strange ambiance and then explodes into a slow and heavy almost ballad-like song that finishes very strong. Unfortunately, the albums better songs outshine others, and I found myself skipping to my favorites after listening to the CD a few times. However, it is not very often that I review a CD that has me restarting songs from the beginning after I have just listened to them because I like the song so much! Overall, the music has a very appealing sound that is not too heavy for more casual listeners, but heavy enough that fans of harder music will enjoy listening.

Stillborn Skies has been working long and hard to be a great live band, and they have been around for a while without an album to support them. With a debut album as strong and memorable as A High-Heeled Deception, for Stillborn, the sky is the limit. Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/stillbornskies. Listen to “Love to Hate” and “Read My Lips” on their profile. - 808SceneZine


Discography

"a high-heeled deception"
LP
Released: Nov 2009

"A Night with Stillborn Skies"
Live EP
Released: Mar 2009

Photos

Bio

Stillborn Skies began as a solo acoustic project thrown about the open mic’s of Hawaii and has evolved into an intense power trio with talent, energy and emotion matched only by their goals, aspirations, and dedication to their craft.

Through a saga of hard work, successes, let downs, and chance encounters Stillborn Skies has evolved into a band that will draw you in with the sound, keep you there with the show, and leave you wondering how 3 guys can get on stage and give so much through their performance every time to any size audience.

Musically, Stillborn Skies is controlled in their approach yet wreckless enough to place an odd time signature in a pop song & keep your head bobbing. The strong influences of Coheed & Cambria, Bayside, Muse, Thursday, and Taking Back Sunday are undeniable from every angle. Lyrical intelligence combines with memorable melodies. The songs are musically complex but just barely "progressive". A sense of natural and honest songwriting from the acoustic days still prevails, but it is now combined with an unprecedented emotional and energetic delivery on stage.

Stillborn Skies released their their debut full length album "a high-heeled deception" on Nov. 27, 2009. A 100% DIY effort, the album was produced, engineered & mixed on their own at Vibe Asylum Studios, Honolulu and mastered by Randy Merrill at Masterdisk, NYC (A Papercut Massacre, Seether),

Coming off a blistering Hawaii scene schedule, Stillborn Skies relocated to Austin, TX in Feb of 2010 with plans to tour and promote "a high-heeled deception" throughout the US.