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CD REVIEW

Beachwood Sparks: Desert Skies

by Ron Hart on June 02, 2014

Before they were revered as purveyors of the New Cosmic California rock scene, Los Angeles’ Beachwood Sparks were a hungry young band fixing to break onto the No Depression boom of the mid-to-late 1990s. With the exception of their 1998 debut single for Bomp Records, “Desert Skies” backed with “Make It Together,” this 12-track collection compiles a host of previously unreleased and largely unheard material from the band’s gestational days. They were a lot crunchier back then, boasting a style that owed much to their city’s Paisley Underground movement and placed them in direct competition with alt-country lions of the era such as the Jayhawks, Wilco and Whiskeytown, as evidenced on tracks like the Zombies-esque “Time” and “Watery Moonlight.” But shades of what was to come are also clearly heard across the luminous Pacific Coast harmonies of “Sweet Julie Ann” and “Canyon Ride.” Desert Skies is an insightful journey through the past of these Golden State greats.

Authors: Ron Hart
Artist: Beachwood Sparks
Album: Desert Skies
Label: Alive Naturalsound

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