Cleveland-based band Ohio Sky has a new record titled The Big Distraction. The quartet’s sophomore album promises to be a new direction for the group. Their history includes a debut album release, plenty of live performances and a few EPs, including This House Is Old And Full Of Ghosts, a 2013 self-release. The four members of the lineup are guitarist and vocalist Vinny DiFranco, bassist Michael Bashur, drummer Eric Bambic, and Patrick Finegan on the keys. If you haven’t made the connection between their name and their LP title, the record ties everything together. There is an obvious theme of otherworldly influences throughout each component.
The direction they are taking their music mixes the traditional four-piece rock band and atmospheric elements. They have curated this refined blend of rumbling rock and smooth ethereal sounds. In the musical conversation, their instruments take the lead voice as the mystical soundscape creates the ambiance. Their use of musical dynamics here is detailed and meticulous. They offer a big range, and their dynamic placement enhances the listening experience. Smooth transitions aren’t frequent, but there are plenty of stark shifts. Some songs make a complete change from beginning to end.
“Slow Down Stay Alive” eases us into the music. The opener has a mellow guitar and vocals are kept simple at first, but later it erupts into a shred-filled end. The heavy and rapid “King Fisher” depicts flying and the struggle to do so in its lyrics, keeping in theme with other cosmic references. A lone guitar string segues into the industrial ballad “Memento Mori.” Starting with a marching drum line and nearly whispered vocals, “Transformations” is the record’s most sensual track. It ultimately becomes an eerie and airy instrumental second half. “Vulture Cascade” finishes off the listing with a pounding song that leads up to an intense finish.
The Big Distraction is perhaps the embodiment of Ohio Sky realizing their true persona. Their work is an interesting combination between the intensity of rock music and fantastical synths. The best part about it is that they do an effortless job at making these two traditionally discordant genres seem perfectly paired. Considering their crafted musical blend, I would even call it “galactic battle music.” Some lyrics allude to the struggle of the speaker, suggesting a link between the composition and the poetry of the release. Going off that notion, there is apparent artistry present and my hope is they build on this for what’s to come.