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The Sky Is Too High
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2003
I'm not quite sure why people have a problem with this album, unless, of course, they're expecting it to sound like the average Blur record (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's considerably different). Being from the U.S., where this album didn't make a dent commercially and was barely acknowledged by critics (Blur is more or less unknown here, with the limited exceptions of "Song 2" and "Girls & Boys"), I had no idea that Graham's first solo record was received with any degree of hostility until I saw the negative comments posted about it in reviews of his other albums. To this reviewer, who is admittedly a pretty huge fan of lo-fi acoustic music, it's far and away his best solo album and one of my favorite records from the second half of the '90s. I think it's important to keep in mind the fact that when Graham recorded this album, it was very much a side project that doubled as a bit of a musical exorcism for him. Others have mentioned his "off-key" singing here, but I don't think they understand that the tossed-off nature of the vocals (as well as the jaggedness of both the guitars and the [non-]production) are part of the point. The key to this record's appeal lies in its direct honesty and its rough-hewn popcraft. The fractured Barrett-esque beauty of songs like "R U Lonely?" (which features Graham harmonizing with himself) and "A Day is Far Too Long" never fails to send shivers up my spine, and the noisy intensity of tracks like the opening guitar volley that is "That's All I Wanna Do" and the statement of purpose that is "I Wish" never fails to get my blood flowing (these are cliches, but alas, they really are the best way to express what I'm getting at). Although Graham has long been my favorite part of Blur (so much so that I don't think I'll be purchasing the new Graham-less release), I think anyone with an interest in either Blur or lo(wer)-fi acoustic music should give this record a chance. I can't imagine that anyone would be disappointed if he or she approached it from the proper perspective.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2006
Wow, what can I say about the sky is too high? well I could start by telling you how wonderful it is but hey that would be boring and seemingly typical and expected from someone whos nickname is blurgirl7. well id say this is a very raw, beautiful acoustic album, lyrically sensative with a lot to offer. I do believe I heard somewhere that this album was recored in 2 weeks but dont quoat me on that. I love how raw it is. vmost of the album is acoustic, I everytime I put it on and lie on my bed I am all of a sudden made jump by the punkisk Who the F*%K (which would fit in well with his second album the Golden D) but the album wouldnt be the same without it. In a nutshell this IS a wonderful album and id recommend it to anyone hoping to buy a good acoustic album
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2000
On first listen, it can be quite challenging as heavily distorted guitars kick in from no where in a blaze of feedback and white noise. This can be said of the first track and a few others, yet after this, Coxon breaks into many heartfelt alternative ballads which are a break from the norm and are given to us on acoustic guitars played astonishingly well. One of the best tracks, 'I Wish', combines these two extremes to make for one hell of a song in which Coxon plays all intruments. The chugging acousic guitars give this track a sense of pace which makes it stand out from the rest. After listening to the album a lot, you start noticing more about it like the beautiful harmonies and the touching lyrics. You get used to the white noise and love every minute of it. I would also say it is definately one for blur fans even though it is not much like their music. A good album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2007
This has always been my favourite Coxon album. I love 'You're So Great' (which he sang and wrote) on Blur's self titled album and this is basically a whole record's worth of songs like that. It has that same lo-fi, intimate feel and its a great one to stick on yr stereo if you're feeling a bit gloomy cuz you're missing yr girl/boy.

It kicks off with 'Thats All I Wanna Do'. Its exactly what you'd expect from a Coxon solo tune - off-kilter acoustic strumming and deceptively simple, Syd Barrett-esque lyrics like "There's not a sound/ When yr not around/ And it gets me down..." and "I just want to be with you / That's all I wanna do." The song also features some excellent electric guitar doodling.

For the next few songs, the electric guitar is stowed away as Graham goes all acoustic and reflective. Instead of being depressing, it makes for a fantastic, cathartic sort of record - especially if you ever find yourself parted from yr loved one for any length of time. It also features some great lyrics "I thought pain was clean/ And I thought hearts were strong/ But bones aren't sticks anymore/ And a day is far too long" (A Day Is Far Too Long). Think: a lo-fi Nick Drake or Madcap Laughs era Syd Barrett.

The only other songs to feature a full band (though it's probably Graham playing everything!) are 'I Wish' and the skatr punk 'Who The F***'. 'I Wish' is the highlight of the record for me, with its funny/sad lyrics like "I wish I could stop wishing you were here/ But I don't want to/ Coz I still want you..." and "I wish I could bring Nick Drake back to life/ He'd understand/ Hold my ha-and..."

What I love most about this album is its sheer bloody mindedness. I don't know anything about the circumstances behind the songs but it seems to me that Graham was missing his girl (a lot!) possibly due to the strains of touring? "Long time on the phone line/ There's sunshine when I dial nine" (In A Salty Sea). The songs are unashamedly romantic without resorting to the trite sentimentality of most love songs.

Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2003
I'm not quite sure why people have a problem with this album, unless, of course, they're expecting it to sound like the average Blur record (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's considerably different). Being from the U.S., where this album didn't make a dent commercially and was barely acknowledged by critics (Blur is more or less unknown here, with the limited exceptions of "Song 2" and "Girls & Boys"), I had no idea that Graham's first solo record was received with any degree of hostility until I saw the negative comments posted about it in reviews of his other albums. To this reviewer, who is admittedly a pretty huge fan of lo-fi acoustic music, it's far and away his best solo album and one of my favorite records from the second half of the '90s. I think it's important to keep in mind the fact that when Graham recorded this album, it was very much a side project that doubled as a bit of a musical exorcism for him. Others have mentioned his "off-key" singing here, but I don't think they understand that the tossed-off nature of the vocals (as well as the jaggedness of both the guitars and the [non-]production) are part of the point. The key to this record's appeal lies in its direct honesty and its rough-hewn popcraft. The fractured Barrett-esque beauty of songs like "R U Lonely?" (which features Graham harmonizing with himself) and "A Day is Far Too Long" never fails to send shivers up my spine, and the noisy intensity of tracks like the opening guitar volley that is "That's All I Wanna Do" and the statement of purpose that is "I Wish" never fails to get my blood flowing (these are cliches, but alas, they really are the best way to express what I'm getting at). Although Graham has long been my favorite part of Blur (so much so that I don't think I'll be purchasing the new Graham-less release), I think anyone with an interest in either Blur or lo-fi acoustic music should give this record a chance. I can't imagine that anyone would be disappointed if he or she approached it from the proper perspective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2002
Intially, The Sky Is Too High comes across as a bit scary. The squealing acoustic feedback and industrial noise sounds like something you'd expect to come from Blur's 13.
The intro track, That's All I Wanna Do starts as an upbeat accoustic, wanton love song. Then it explodes into dischordant, lo-fi and powerful noise. All the time, Graham's wonderfully fragile voice wails and warbles all over it. Other tracks, such as I Wish, follow this trend, or the lovely In A Salty Sea buck it, with a gentle accoustic strum. Graham's Telecasters don't get much use untill you hear the wonderfully crazy Who The F***, which shows the direction that some songs in Crow Sit In Blood Tree would take. Raw and fast, it's the demented Rocker Coxon punctuated Blur's Blur with spiky, demonic riffs.
Not to forget the fantastic Mornin' Blues.. a track which you could repeat forever. While hardly setting a musical precedent, it does show Graham's love of the different genres and his mastery of other instruments. His vocals seem geniune and heartfelt. It's a perfect companion to Blur's last two albums.
It's hard at times to reconcile the mop-haired, lanky guitarist who belted out "Popscene" with what you hear here. That, however, is more of a compliment than anything else.
Tricky to get into, but very rewarding once you do. Proof, if any were needed, that Coxon is one of the UK's most talented musicians of his era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2003
I'm not quite sure why people have a problem with this album, unless, of course, they're expecting it to sound like the average Blur record (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's considerably different). Being from the U.S., where this album didn't make a dent commercially and was barely acknowledged by critics (Blur is more or less unknown here, with the limited exceptions of "Song 2" and "Girls & Boys"), I had no idea that Graham's first solo record was received with any degree of hostility until I saw the negative comments posted about it in reviews of his other albums. To this reviewer, who is admittedly a pretty huge fan of lo-fi acoustic music, it's far and away his best solo album and one of my favorite records from the second half of the '90s. I think it's important to keep in mind the fact that when Graham recorded this album, it was very much a side project that doubled as a bit of a musical exorcism for him. Others have mentioned his "off-key" singing here, but I don't think they understand that the tossed-off nature of the vocals (as well as the jaggedness of both the guitars and the [non-]production) are part of the point. The key to this record's appeal lies in its direct honesty and its rough-hewn popcraft. The fractured Barrett-esque beauty of songs like "R U Lonely?" (which features Graham harmonizing with himself) and "A Day is Far Too Long" never fails to send shivers up my spine, and the noisy intensity of tracks like the opening guitar volley that is "That's All I Wanna Do" and the statement of purpose that is "I Wish" never fails to get my blood flowing (these are cliches, but alas, they really are the best way to express what I'm getting at). Although Graham has long been my favorite part of Blur (so much so that I don't think I'll be purchasing the new Graham-less release), I think anyone with an interest in either Blur or lo-fi acoustic music should give this record a chance. I can't imagine that anyone would be disappointed if he or she approached it from the proper perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2002
Many expected Graham's first solo album to be a blast of white noise. It is not, there are only 3 songs that could be described as noisy. It consists of mostly quiet fractured songs, a skeletal acoustic guitar and Grahams off-key voice. Technically imperfect but still quite moving. It recalls Syd Barrett's solo albums in many ways, but this album is much more throwaway. Syd's Solo albums were genininely distirbing, Grahams albums are attempting to be a trip into a confused mind. However at times this album seems a bit contrived.
The noisy songs are "that's all I wanna do" a pop song covered in noise, "I wish" a repetetive song in which Graham says "I wish I could bring Nick Drake back to life" (which sums things up quite well) and "who the F---" which sounds like Dinosaur Jr recorded in a shoebox.
As with Blur albums there's nothing especially original, and the album seems unconcerned with hanging together with any cohesion. But there's some good songs none the less. A good album but, as with many solo albums, you have to wonder whether it would have ever been released had Graham not been a memmber of a sucessful and renowed band with his own record label? Also if you don't like "Lo-Fi" music steer clear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2000
Released on his on label, quiet Graham Coxon produced, and played all the instruments on a sublime collection of mainly down tempo numbers, which will please any fans of his guitar work. My favourite is 'I Wish' a building stormer of a guitar number, a harder edge than some tracks. The melodious openers 'Where'd you go' and 'All I wanna do' are enticing to the indie/alternative fan who will appreciate Coxon's superior musicianship, and by the end of the album he really lets rip on 'Who the f***?'.
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on 4 May 2013
Graham Coxon in a mellow, folky mood. Not my favourite album of his, but he is head and shoulders above most of the competition. And this CD was an absolute bargain.
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