I thought it would be fitting to sit down with a nice cup of tea to review Fools, the third release from Kent, England’s In Crowded Skies. As it turns out, I finished the entire cup of tea before I was able to settle on what genre to categorize this release. So, I did the obvious thing and chose rock but there’s a lot more going on here and I’ll have to dig a little deeper.
There are some similarities to bands like Chevelle and that alternative metal sound. You could probably hear this best on the song “Open Arms.” The track is like metal riffs combined with a dose of Benzodiazepine; slightly sedated with a strong focus on melodic singing and guitar harmony. Singer/bassist Pete Herbert takes a vocal approach in line with Chevelle’s lead singer Pete Loeffler. Unlike typical metal vocals which emphasize aggressiveness and heaviness, Herbert’s style is more controlled with doses of melodic phrasing and occasional falsetto breakdowns.
The tracks borrow heavily from the progressive side of rock and metal as well. Title track “Fools,” with its dynamic and fervent guitar chords, and the spattering of double kick drum patterns is a great example. Listening to it, I was reminded of the band Porcupine Tree, who also blur the line between rock and metal on the progressive edge. Guitarists Shaun Taylor and Rhys May really show off their chops on “A Thousand Lies,” which features some fantastic interplay between the two guitarists and is by far the standout track on this EP.
While I’m at it I’ll throw some cred towards drummer Matt Downes. His playing style is very clearly rooted in heavy metal drumming, but he never overplays. It is textbook in the pocket drumming and it serves as the perfect backdrop.
Call it rock, call it metal, call it alternative or prog, Fools is a delicious listen. Like a steaming cup of English Breakfast tea on a foggy London morning, it hits you in all the right places.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy