In the early 1980s, it looked as if new wave and electro-funk had rendered the great rock styles of the 60s and 70s obsolete, so it's very heartening to see the torch passed on to much younger generations. The Whybirds' style is country-tinged, hard-rocking, very American boogie: Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, E Street Band and - perhaps especially - Crazy Horse. Very well do The Whybirds perform it, too: all four members play with skill and spirit, each sings well, and each writes decent songs, resulting in an album of even and impressive quality. The whole project is refreshingly uncompromising: no twenty-first century electronica adulteration, no postmodern irony. They even look the part with their jeans, beards, and long hair. Furthermore, The Whybirds are actually English.
The Whybirds are great live, yet Cold Blue Sky proves that their music can work at home too. If you're in a mood for rocking out with some beers, what better style is there? The sentiments conveyed are far more authentic and gutsy than those of heavy metal or US stadium rock. I hope Neil Young hears this album: he'd know just where to go if he's ever seeking a UK pick-up band.
This review previously appeared in the excellent national music magazine R2 (aka Rock'n'Reel). Reproduced by kind permission of the editor, Sean McGhee.
Writer: Rychard Carrington