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Skyfactor | Daydreams

Album Review by John Powell

Though Skyfactor’s album Daydreams came out earlier this year, it is picking up speed due to the use of the song “Ok” on an episode of the MTV show “Teen Mom.” Once heard, the anthem became the internet buzz. Who is that band?

Photograph By Lori Birnbaum

In answer to that question, Skyfactor is Bob Ziegler on vocals, Jon Rubin on guitar, his brother Cliff Rubin on bass, and Steve Belvilus on drums, at least for Daydreams, ten tracks that are for the most part uplifting and close to the heart. With titles like “Strong” and “Take This Chance,” the songs are weapons of empowerment. Don’t let “Teen Mom” throw you off, though. “I’ve never seen it,” says Jon, shrugging.

Daydreams ~ Skyfactor ~ Angelica-Music

From the get go it’s obvious the members, all in their early thirties, remember the days of Counting Crows and Crash Test Dummies. In fact, Daydreams makes me want to pull out Sister Hazel and Hootie and the Blowfish. Perhaps this familiarity comes from the rocking acoustic guitar, or the want to get to a refrain quickly, or Bob’s voice, reminiscent of Lifehouse’s Jason Wade or Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, in that low rumble sense. Also, in his delivery, full of passion like he’s singing from his groin.

The album never escapes that sound, which is all right by me. It is revelatory about those days of pop/rock, songs for the sake of songs, for singing along to. And what Skyfactor lacks in originality they make up for in passion, a clear love for music, in the same way you love the Goo Goo Dolls even though they haven’t done anything the Replacements didn’t do a decade before.

Jon smokes on guitar. He’s got the palm muted, lush fillers, and choral open chords down to a science. Cliff’s bass is low in the mix, but he adds that underbelly fitting of such rockers, and the drums have that classic pop feel to them.

Sometimes the lyrics falter. “I’ve been broke/been called a joke/ Just like all the other dreamers,” is a bit contrived. In fact, the title track is the weakest link in the chain of generally head bob-able tunes. Bob sings, “Won’t you whisper those sweet nothings in my ear?” before rhyming it with, “The ones I need to hear.” Come on, Bob, you’re more capable. Here's a tip:

As a general rule, songs become irresistible when they become intimate and detailed. I’d like to hear those sweet nothings instead an allusion to them. And when, on “Find You” he sings, “When you need a friend just open up your hand,” you wish to know that hand, to know that friend, but Skyfactor is a family-friendly band. Its members are the age of families and babies, and their music reflects that protective, caring, but keep-the-innocent-innocent habit most parents develop. I’d love to hear some raw details, some cursing, and maybe a growl of anger, but Skyfactor isn't that punk yet.

Other times, Skyfactor sails. “Headlights/that’s the color of her eyes,” goes the chorus to “Drive”. And wow. It’s a great opening to the album. “Breaklights/Courage in the night,” is just beautiful.

“All That We Got” is the anthemic hot spot. “And if you can’t find just one reason to be here/sometimes you can’t see so clear,” chimes the bridge. Then, when Bob says, “Maybe you believe there’s a Heaven above,” you’re just absolutely sure he’s going to rhyme it with “Love”, but instead we get, “Maybe you believe this is all that we got.” It’s a highlight. “I believe in something and I think it’s a lot!”

Another key track is “Take This Chance”, a song pulling on memories, on simpler times. “Baby, we’ll get there when we get there,” Bob sings, and you can hear him smiling. Play it on a sunny Sunday.

Overall, Daydreams may not be striking to modern teenagers, and even collegiate studiers will prefer Big Tree or We Are the Financial Crisis, but if you’re like me and you have older siblings that brought you up on Blues Traveler or Bush, Daydreams will be more of the same old, and that’s a wonderful thing to be.

Check out Skyfactor here


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