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Open Ocean

Sky Creature

Open Ocean

Sky Creature eats its young. At least, that’s what it sounds like in the Rockaway Beach duo’s visceral opening salvo.

“This band is my fantasy collaboration between Enya and Minor Threat,” says guitarist Matt Walsh. “It’s extreme and direct, but also vast and ecstatic.” The concept of Sky Creature’s first double EP reflects the basic concept of the band: the collision of two different musicians with strangely compatible sound worlds.

Sky Creature is the spiritual child of singer Majel Connery and guitarist Matt Walsh (of The Forms), who first met in a recording studio in Brooklyn in 2001, bonding over My Bloody Valentine records. The band is a euphoric collision of post-punk, trance, and deconstructed opera. The resulting sound is a magical alchemy of opposites: weightless vocals set against a raging sea of manic guitars and driving beats. 

Sky Creature’s central musical question: does it make you want to move? The band is unconcerned with genre. Asked to name their inspirations, they may bring up Wu Tang, Enya, Hüsker Dü, The Crystals, Billy Joel, Stravinsky, and, of course, the best American band ever: Shudder to Think. “This is all in our music in various ways,” says Matt. “Sky is anti-bedroom. It’s not about sculpting layers with built-in synths that come with your computer. It’s not weighed down by chords. I want great melodies, I want to dance, and I want it to sound thug.” 

A double EP might be an unexpected choice for a new band, but the two sides strike an entirely different tone. They also began as separate projects: one a Sky Creature EP, the other Majel’s own solo EP.

“Matt and I do everything together, and at a certain point my stuff started to feel a lot like Sky stuff,” says Majel. “We even threw some Childworld songs into our live show, and nobody blinked. So at a certain point the question was, why isn’t this a Sky Creature EP?”

Bear Mountain (Side A) is a tidal wave of energy from beginning to end, and a celebration of raw materials taken to extremes: maniacal beats, gigantic guitars, and wildly varying vocal styles. Says Walsh of the final track, “No One,” “It’s  like hardcore, but from another planet. It’s Hüsker Dü, but with opera.” 

The single, “Bear Mountain,” describes Matt’s mystical experience taking LSD for the first time as a 15-year-old on a trip to Bear Mountain during a thunderstorm. It’s an experience that never left him. Hence the lyrics: “things will never change,” a statement  both completely true and untrue at once. “On one level, it’s about the euphoria of tripping on a mountain during a thunderstorm, and also the strange feeling of looking back on it, and contemplating how things both do and don’t change.”

Childworld (Side B), showcases the band’s softer, darker side. “By the standards of any functioning adult, being a kid is being insane,” says Connery. “Santa Claus is real and you’re gonna get a pony, and the next minute you’ll get sick and die from eating something off the floor. Our music does this: first it’s terrifying, then it’s technicolor.” 

“Childworld was a word that Matt came up with to describe both the music I write and also the world I inhabit, and it seemed apt,” explains Connery. “I like ghostly, toyish sounds and big, haunted places.” They both have freakishly vivid memories from childhood.“I still sort of live and operate in the world like a child,” admits Majel. “I feel weirdly big in small spaces, and am simultaneously afraid of and excited about things that shouldn’t matter.”

Childworld is the introversion to Bear Mountain’s extroversion: now a hollow android lullaby, now a faraway elvin choir, now the lonely sound of a child singing itself to sleep.