A Skylit Drive, Adelphia

A Skylit Drive
June 9th – Fearless Records


I first heard of A Skylit Drive when I was visiting my friends in Chiodos on their recent stint.  I had a very surreal moment – we were all chatting and reminiscing when suddenly I saw my old friend Mikayla (MJ) from Australia.  Turns out she’s a tour manager, and then suddenly I saw Michael whom I had met 4 years prior when I was back in the OC.  Apparently, back in the day, I wasn’t too kindly to the ol’ boy.  He was starting a band that I just wasn’t ready to join, we lost contact, and then I joined a band, got signed, toured, and quit.  During that time, Michael (or “Jag” as the kids call him) tried his hand with local band Odd Project, and then joined ASD.  Shoot forward a few years and the boys living the life he’s always wanted, with the gal he’s always wanted, and happy as a clam (except for a recent toothache).  Needless to say, all was forgiven and we are fast-friends again; however, I had still never heard his band up until about a month ago.  The band was playing a show here in Portland and I was invited so I figured I had best listen to his little band before the show, and I was instantly blown away.  Who knew that this kindly, polite lad could belt it with the best of them!  The only thing I did notice about the bands live show and previous album, Wires and the Concept of Breathing, was there that was quite a bit of vying for the spotlight.  It didn’t really seem like the band gave the singer his due.  On Adelphia, that is certainly not the case.

The album, while having enough screaming and growling to appease the “old school” 15 year old fans that were with the band since 14, has allowed Michael to really find his voice and there isn’t any more “stepping on each other” that was prominent in the last album.  The album is mixed and produced quite well, the guitars are prominent but not over-powering, the vocals really take center-stage but aren’t the only instrument the listener is drawn to, the drums are punchy and tight, and the piano/keyboard/synths are tasty but not cheesy or overdone (sorry bassist…you’re a bassist).  I do have to give it Bob “Becker” at Fearless for snagging these guys.  Good choice on all accounts, these guys are definitely going to doing some great things.  In the evolution from their last album which was released a short time ago, the band knows where they should be heading and how to get there without alienating their fan base.  It’s a very delicate thing to let your band evolve without sounding totally different or making the fans think you’re “selling out”.  Look back to He Is Legend’s “Suck Out the Poison”- their greatest album to date, yet their fans completely turned on them for no longer screaming.  They did all the right things – better songwriting, more intricate vocals, Steve Fucking Evetts… yet since it wasn’t all “raar raar raar” with Adam D. behind the board, they lost popularity.  A Skylit Drive won’t have to worry about such things as long as they keep the progression steady and gradual.  Well recorded instruments, soaring and extremely instrumental vocals, and lyrics that tell a story rather than a string of nonsensical jibberish, help songs like “Heaven”, “Eva the Carrier”, and “Thank God I’ts Cloudy…” stand out on a nearly flawless album full of emotion and well placed sentiment. 

Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.