As ticketholders wait with bated breath to see if the historically unreliable Morrissey will make good on his March 17 show at Oakland's Carnegie Music Hall, a long-running local band that counts him as an influence is preparing to release a full-length album a few days earlier.
Originally named the Ordinary Boys, after a line in a Morrissey song, Seven Color Sky is currently composed of vocalist and guitarist Scott Bedillion, bassist Marc Turina, drummer Frank Postava and Terry Divelbliss on keyboards. Since playing its first show in 2002, SCS has carved out a niche in this region for its New Wave- and Brit pop-influenced tunes. After opening for the Psychedelic Furs at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the band arranged to record 2004's The Better Looking EP with Furs' guitarist John Ashton. Since then, the band has released an online-only collection of odds 'n' sods, SCS Presents ..., and opened a number of regional dates for the Furs and the English Beat.
Now, SCS has teamed up with Ashton again for its new full length, Goodbye to Gravity. The 10-song album offers a tension that's hard to define; perhaps it's the juxtaposition of slick, '80s-sounding keyboards and guitar effects, with drums and bass that sound a bit more raw and loose. Likewise, while Bedillion's vocals are built around strong New Wave-ish melodies, he doesn't sound overly groomed or reverbed out. Mixed in here and there is a fair amount of ear candy, and nods to the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Morrissey, and of course, the Furs.
The collaboration seems most successful on the more open, major-key songs, like "Don't Walk Away" with its epic sweep and wordless vocal hook that brings John Hughes' films to mind. A couple of other nice examples are the blissed-out "Chesterfield" and "A Rescue."
A difference between SCS and its musical forbears -- perhaps a somewhat Pittsburghian difference -- is that SCS interjects a few guitar-hero moments, like the vaguely Sabbathy riff that opens "We Know Who You Are," and the shreddy guitar solo over distorted power-chords on the album's finale.
That final song, "Won't Last Long," starts with the lines, "You say I missed this culture by a decade at least." It's a useful reminder that this style of music was hardly a current taste when SCS started out. If anything, such '80s inflections are more in fashion now, which could bode well for Seven Color Sky, if the band is able to successfully mesh its music obsessions with the zeitgeist that's brought us MGMT, M83 and Ladyhawke.
Seven Color Sky's CD release show is 7 p.m. Sat., March 14 at Club Café, with Aviation Blondes. For more info, visit www.sevencolorsky.com.