The members of The City and Skyway might just be old enough to remember when MTV still broke new bands. While its sound isn't as precociously poppy as The All-American Rejects, as self-consciously epic as Coldplay or as inexplicably angry as Korn, the band possesses a middle-of-the-road sound like Dashboard Confessional, which could attract plenty of young viewers, if only MTV still perpetuated modern rock.
The group is comprised of musicians scattered around Central to Northern Oklahoma, and produces skilled, melodic rock that balances convention and experimentation, and stays consistently smooth throughout its new album, "Everything Looks Worse in Black and White."
Guitarist Barry Johnston agrees that The City and Skyway is perfectly tuned for the younger generation, but isn't exactly sure the best way to reach them, since television and terrestrial radio aren't looking its direction and the kids don't head to the record stores like they used to. Instead, he said the band members are going at it "the old-fashioned way."
"For us to grow as a band, traveling out of state is critical, since people will generally take bands from out of state a little more seriously," he said. "Playing on the road and getting in front of new people also forces you to grow, because these are people who have no connection with you at all. It is strictly about the music and what the band does on the stage together."
The new album, a follow-up to the poppier 2008 EP, "Compose Yourself," was also a necessary progression for the band, Johnston said.
"We finally got a full band together and wanted to stretch the boundaries a little bit, not go with a formula but let the song dictate where it should go," he said. "Get away from the verse-chorus-verse thing and go with a more linear form."
Each "Everything" track is nimble and shrewd, efficient rock that doesn't take a lot of chances, but also doesn't make many mistakes. There are slivers of atmospheric rock that seep in at various points in the album that indicate the band members have more exploring left in them.
All in all, "Everything Looks Worse in Black and White" shows off a band that is nicely settled with an accessible sound sure to win young ears, if only the band knew where to find them.
The City and Skyway with The Blue Static perform at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Hi-Lo Club, 1221 N.W. 50th. "Charles Martin