Bobby Lee Endless Skyways

Tompkins Square
23rd June 2023

Format Info

Black Vinyl LP
Endless Skyways is Bobby Lee’s third full album and second release on Tompkins Square. Returning to the full band sound of his debut, the name Endless Skyways is borrowed from a line in Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land, one of the cornerstones of American music. That song’s mix of the terrestrial (“ribbons of highway”) and celestial consciousness encapsulates Lee’s brand of widescreen cosmic americana; a duality also evident in the album’s split between deep-fried rural rock and ambient country. Dusty boots but third eye open.
Opener and lead single Reds For A Blue Planet inhabits a geographically different realm to any of Lee’s previous work, equal parts Michael Chapman’s Anglo-Primitivism and Tinariwen’s desert-choogle. Slowdive/Mojave 3’s Ian McCutcheon turns in a muscular drum performance, with just a hint of sleng-teng creeping into Mark Armstrong’s bassline. The title hints at an ecological frustration which radiates through the taut, spiraling, modal grooves.
Origin Myths’ Impregnated by Drops of Rainbow is revisited here in full band garb, shifting gear from the 117 seconds of skeletal krautrock into almost 7 minutes of soaring Kosmiche Country, complete with a glistening pedal steel solo from Joe Harvey-Whyte. Neu Riders of The Purple Sage, if you will.
Thunder Travels To Loftier Mountain Heights is a gradually evolving waking dream of gently chugging tremolo and delicate interplay between Piano (a rare foray away from the drums from Guy Whittaker) and Fender Rhodes, redolent of Brightblack Morning Light, or Spirit of Eden-era Talk Talk. Picture the scene; a gang of slow movin’ outlaws briefly glimpsing eternity after a rare downpour in the desert. McCutcheon’s drums echo through the canyons and out into space…
The woozy swamp rock of Acid Grassland is a return to more familiar territory for Bobby; an ancient drum machine moseys along with a loping groove and riff straight outta Cosmo’s Factory. Joe Harvey-Whyte appears again with the most fuzzed-out pedal steel this side of Sneaky Pete on Christine’s Tune.