Sky Hi – Testify LP
The new album from Nashville modern funk collective, Sky Hi, is a testament to the group’s longevity. Nearing their tenth year, the band has weathered every manner of line up changes and reinvented themselves more than a few times. But the current line up, as it stands, brings something very special to the table. A slew of different styles and influences converge to create something palpable and unique. It has the grit and the raw essence of old school hard soul but also liberal splashes of modernity.
After nearly two years in production, Sky Hi feels they’ve let “Testify” marinate long enough. From the frenetic energy of the album’s title track to the rolling soul of “Walk Through That Door”, Sky Hi has earned their spot in the pantheon
of the Southern Soul tradition. And yet it’s songs like “Do Not Want” with it’s quasi-reggae lean or “Fell Short” , which feels like it could fit in at any modern RnB station, that show Sky Hi isn’t afraid to step away from their idea of soul music and experiment with other genres. The band makes great use of an ever expanding palette of musical textures and songwriting dexterity. A four piece horn section roars over fluttering organ melodies while prodigious guitar licks nip around a rock steady rhythm section. And all of this is anchored by DeRobert “Dee” Adams powerful vocals,thereby making this band an unequivocal monster in the rhythm and blues department. For proof of this, listen to “Love Is Real”: a soulful power ballad of sorts that will floor you with it climactic crescendo.
To say Sky Hi has come full circle is an understatement. From their heady early years as a pseudo funk/jam band, to their foray into straight up soul and RnB, Sky Hi has reached the moment where their musical message has grown to
the point that they must testify to it’s expansiveness. By far, “Testify” is their strongest offering to date, but we don’t think they are anywhere near a stopping point. The musical machine that is Sky Hi will continue turning, and with each passing revolution, it’s get stronger and more interesting.