By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
These days, if you're a guy singing in a lilting semifalsetto and the rock beneath you moves both delicately and urgently, chances are you're gonna be compared to Radiohead. It's inevitable, especially if it's pretty obvious that OK Computer was an inspiration.
National Skyline's got a Radiohead thing going on, that's for sure, and you can hear it on their self-titled debut EP put out on the Champaign, Ill., label Hidden Agenda Records. But then again, Skyline's co-kingpin, Jeff Dimpsey, is best known around these parts as bassist for Champaign heroes Hum, and they were doing a similar thing, sans intent, around the same time the Brit mopers were kicking out their classics. That is to say, the mere fact that Radiohead has been referenced three times so far in this piece doesn't necessarily mean that National Skyline are Radiohead wannabes.
The other constant in National Skyline's lineup is native Collinsvillian Jeff Garber, who, if you follow the illustrious history of Collinsville rock, you know as a former member of Castor, the Collinsville-transplanted-to-Champaign band that created thick roller-coaster rock and released two ace records on the Mud label. Together, as National Skyline, the two have created a subtle gem that combines smart, spare electronic swaths and beats with just enough semidistorted guitar to make it a rock record rather than an electronica one.
Apparently Dimpsey's not touring with this version of National Skyline; Jim Minor of Compound Red is filling in.