Living The Stream is the name SKIES gave to their series of live acoustic streams they've been holding daily six days a week from their Folkestone home for the past eleven weeks since lockdown began. When their tour got cancelled in May they responded by setting up drums and the rest of the kit in Jericho's bedroom and playing full on live sets on their own and the venue's social media - with the option of buying tickets to support the venues. They've compiled fourteen songs, every one they've released plus one as unreleased, recorded as part of those shows for a digital and very limited physical release.
SKIES are one of the most hard-working bands around as evidenced by the fact they're into the upper sixties of live streams - which have become part of the daily routine of their hardcore fan base with birthday shoutouts, talk of dinners and appearances by the family dog Fletch and the band's merch penguin Aled Jedson.
What the community spirit of those sessions might hide is the fact that SKIES are a mightily underrated band and this compilation sets out inadvertently to do their bidding for them. They write highly infectious tunes - each one here has a energetic personality of its own that's hard to resist with the combination of Alie's rich emotional vocals that really come to life in a way they haven't yet captured in the studio and guitars, drums, samples and backing tracks that lift the listener up and carry them along with their momentum.
There's fourteen tracks here - not a duff one amongst them, it genuinely has very much a "Greatest Hits Live" feel to it - and it's pretty tough to pick out highlights given the consistency in quality that SKIES have quietly been compiling over the past few years. There's the wistful reflection of Dusk, the envy of Green that turns the loss of an ex into a celebration of "what is wrong with being alone anyway?" that you find yourself unconsciously singing along to, whilst recent single Born Yesterday dismisses someone who's trying to play them for a fool. Each one feels like it's being used as a catharsis, a journey to acceptance and moving on from a start point of a bad situation, with music acting as the fuel and motor for the ride.
SKIES' complete lack of cool, which actually makes them cooler than any studied posing and sharp dressing does most of their contemporaries, is remarkably refreshing - they focus on their music and their obvious love of performing and that shines through like the brightest beacon here. Without the back story you'd think with a bit of a crowd noise this could quite easily be a sold-out big venue show. As a section of Green, one of the many moments where SKIES simply compel you to join in, goes, Let's Do It All Again is "magical, magical, magical."
SKIES are also releasing an acoustic track weekly to compile a collection of all thirteen tracks they've released so far - ten songs are available on their Bandcamp.
Let's Do It All Again is available on their Bandcamp digitally and a limited to 68 (the number of live streams they've done before they move to weekly ones from next week) CD.