“There is another sky, ever serene and fair. And there is another sunshine. Though it be darkness there. Never mind faded forests, Austin, never mind silent fields. Here is a little forest, whose leaf is ever green. Here is a brighter garden. Where not a frost has been. In its unfading flowers. I hear the bright bee hum. Prithee, my brother. Into my garden come!” This is a poem by Emily Dickinson, that has inspired the name of a London-based alternative rock four-piece. Like the poet, Another Sky seem to be searching for a harmonious haven but to reach such a place, we all must first address the problems with the faulty world we live in. And this is what Another Sky do with guts and determination on their accomplished debut album I Slept On The Floor.
The androgyny of lead singer Catrin Vincent’s passionate vocals – occasionally recalling Everything Everything’s Jonathan Higgs but is actually inspired by Tracy Chapman – is the first thing that most people will notice about Another Sky’s music. Yet other than making the band particularly memorable, the vocal style is advantageous in being a strong presence throughout the songs and giving lyrics a universal gender-crossing appeal, as well breaking down society expectation.
Listening to their first record’s opener ‘How Long?’ will give listeners a good idea of their depth and mentality. It sounds as if they recorded in a large empty warehouse because of the track’s dimension – a room of airy reverb and echoes, with a depth caused by a distant speech in which Catrin Vincent says: “Such a fickle human phenomenon. Everyone is afraid. Are we just alive to be until we die. Waiting for another open door?” Beautiful calming piano keys alongside shuffling drums and The xx style clunky guitars could resemble the mood of people who are comfortable following the status quo, until a louder breathtaking post-rock jangle is unleashed encapsulating the anger of those wishing to advocate. In a way that was the point that Another Sky are making on this LP. The two ways that oppression can be tackled; seeing ignorance as bliss or challenging an injustice system.
“You put on your brave face, now girl” is a line that could be said by both a manipulating abuser or the supporting friend of a tormented victim as a way of getting through life. On ‘Brave Face’, Vincent is stating what most people say in a situation such as this, but then also twisting the phrase to sound like now is the time to be a warrior. “Wearing tolerance on your sleeve just to be worn down. Fuck being patient, or complacent, only you can. Demand all you deserve”. Every time Vincent sings, it sounds she means every lyric. This is particularly important if Catrin Vincent is talking directly to people her age, which is the case on ‘The Cracks’. A track that encourages the young to act by acknowledging that mistakes will be made when challenging the system, but it’s not vain when the aim is to try to make a difference. “Is it enough that we tried. To see the void, give pain a voice?. As young as we’ll ever be. So we run, headfirst. Into oblivion”
While Another Sky’s tracks may zoom in on particular issues, ‘Avalanche’, which could be their signature track, is stating that a snowball effective of a lot of different problems is caused mainly by toxic masculinity. Resulting in the injustices of assault, racism, police brutality. The best part of the track is the repetition of lines that brilliantly explain why the issue is brushed aside and doesn’t get resolved: “When you hold them to account. They’ll spit you out. Just a bad taste in their mouth.” They can’t accept the drama, so wish to get rid of any whift of pandemonium as quick as possible.
The title track ‘I Slept On The Floor’ is a mid-album surprise. The guitars are set aside with just a vintage vocoder-filtered a capella present. A production style similar to Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide And Seek’, the track refers a time in her early life – Vincent was often bullied in her childhood – when her anxiety got so strong that she was sleeping on bathroom floors. ‘All Ends’ also covers this mental breakdown. Despite the robotic sheen of the latter, it’s still so emotional because of the soaring echo that pours out of at the end.
I Slept on The Floor is a powerful force of a record because the album’s three elements: vocals, music and lyrics all compliment each other perfectly, are equally exigent and compelling, and as whole make the tracks flow effortlessly together. Furthermore, the contents within make Another Sky seem like worthy spokespeople for the millennial generation.