Sprawl

The Skyline Album

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There have been rumors for a while that saxman extraordinaire Gary Herbig has a new solo project in the works, but till then, fans of his two stellar late-'80s discs can get themselves more than an earful of him on The Skyline Album as part of the remarkable funk-rock ensemble Sprawl. Ostensibly led by keyboardist/composer David Wheatley, most of these remarkably kinetic gems offer open-ended invitations for Herbig to strut his potent stuff. While the alto bounces in shades of perky and perkier most of the time, "Midnight One to One" finds the saxman at a fever balladeer pitch. All the credit for Sprawl's success shouldn't go to Herbig, however. Wheatley is an amazing find in his own right, and even allows himself to go synth haywire on the irrepressible title cut. Electric guitarist Mike Miller also lends a progressive rock edge at certain intervals. Not even the superfluous vocals can detract from one of the best small indie finds of the year.

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