25 March 2016 (released)
23 February 2016
Red Sky July have found themselves in an interesting predicament over the last few years. Their 2011 eponymous debut album saw their passion project warmly received as a band of real note, while the critical acclaim of their 2014 sophomore Shadowbirds should have seen them crossover in to the mainstream consciousness. However despite a series of high profile support slots (Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle), something about their understated sound centreing on spine tingling harmonies has seen them deemed specialist - thus leading to minimal radio support. All that is no doubt set to change with the release of their much bigger sounding third album, The Truth And The Lie.
Album opener Jet Trails boasts all the honesty that has made their lyrics so compelling from the very outset. Rather than playing safe and accepting their position in the industry, they directly criticise the industry that has both placed them on a pedestal and restricted their growth. While the lyrics are pointed, it is the clever juxtaposition of their distinctive sound remaining in tact but simply explored on a bigger, poppier scale. Immediately Red Sky July get their audience sitting upright and listening. The mammoth combined talents of Shelly Poole, Ally McErlaine and Charity Hair is not to be underplayed. They know and understand how they are perceived but they have no issue shaking up the illusion without having to change their core integrity.
With the album to be filed somewhere between The Carpenters and First Aid Kit, it is most certainly in the timeless terrain. While the album works best when listened to as a complete body of work, there are a couple of moments that will really move you. The slow, mournful In Black is a weighty, but moving story surrounding Ally's brain aneurism. Walking Country Song sees the vocals excel and is a fun sing along. However it is the truly captivating, smile inducing, heart beat pounding wonder of Sway that closes the album in a breath-taking fashion.
With the whole record positioned cleverly to attract Radio 2 many will suggest that Red Sky July have sold out their original intentions for a passion project in favour of crossover success. Yet they could not be further from the truth. The Truth And The Lie will join its predecessors on the list of the most beautiful recordings you have ever heard. It's sonic direction may be more expansive than the previous two releases, but that does not mean that Red Sky July have lost the magic integral to their success. They may sound bigger and bolder third time around, but this is still spine tingling territory.