If the name Son of Skooshny seems familiar that is from the fact the band is a kind of offshoot of seventies band Skooshny. A recording band only and consisting of founders Mark Breyer (vocals, guitar), Bruce Wagner (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and soon after its beginnings drummer David Winogrond, Skooshny released a four track EP in 1978 followed by a single the following year. Both received great acclaim but also low sales due to primarily the band never playing live shows. More releases followed but eventually the band broke up. Then in 1991 the band was alerted to the fact their releases were collector items around Europe. Eventually with Bill Forsyth of newly formed Minus Zero Records further copies of those records plus a compilation of unreleased material came out to great acclaim and strong sales. The band reformed and produced a new EP Even My Eyes and album, Water, with a compilation of their psych-folk-pop called Zoloto following, its tracks covering the band from 1976 to 2003.
Step forward to 2010 and Son of Skooshny with Lovers Leap of Faith. The album is not a brand new release admittedly but as in fitting with the history of its seed band it has slipped by people too easily and that cannot be allowed. Son of Skooshny is the project of Mark Breyer thus the background to Skooshny above. Here he has teamed up with long time collaborator Jeff Peters plus producer-collaborators Steve Refling, Arthur Schlenger, and Andy Colquhoun, as well as assorted friends. Lovers Leap of Faith contains covers of a few Skooshny songs plus new material and is a vibrant and pleasing collection of guitar pop and sixties teased/seventies spiced melodic rock songs.
The album opens on immediate favourite Another Time, a hypnotic fresh electrified feast for the ear. Melodically mesmeric and energetically raw it has an anthemic quality that reminds of seventies UK band The Only Ones. The melodic punk vein that throbs throughout is also Buzzcocks like and brings an intelligent urgency and craft to the song, whilst the vocals of Breyer here and in other parts of the album a mix of Pete Shelley and Peter Perrett.
Candy Air follows with a more restrained energy but a no less melodically enchanting breath. With a slight southern lilt the song caresses the ear with a delicate but firm display of imagination and thought, and openly shows the varied sounds that lie within the album. This is easily confirmed by the dusty rock sounds of Bare Bones a song which grows in stature the more you hear it.
Lovers Leap of Faith does not always hit the same heights in every song though it is more down to personal tastes than quality of sound or songwriting, but when the likes of The Right Idea and You Can’t Leave Me fail to ignite the biggest fires tracks such as the excellent Science Changes Everyone with its full heart and imagination, Kate’s Green Phone a darkened Bolanesque song of psyched shadows and infectious punk pop insanity, and the insatiably melodic Love’s Not Impossible, more than cover their backs. All songs leave one enthused and bristling for much more, the second of the three the best song on the album and the engineer of wishes one had come across the musicians long before now.
Lovers Leap of Faith is a fine album that shows melodic pop does not have to be obvious, unoriginal, or sterile. The album also shows how easy it is for great bands to be missed by the masses no matter their ability and creativity. The former guise of one of its members may have been one of those bands but hopefully that will not be the case with Son of Skooshny, now is the time to make sure.