“Soft Skies, No Lies”

“Soft Skies, No Lies” is the second track from Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s second album, 1968’s Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow. It is the precise polar opposite of the terrifying album opener “Nightmare Of Percussion”. An extravagantly sunny pop song, praising nature for creating such soft skies, there is almost a kind of meta-irony in its extreme inoffensiveness, due to its place on the album between that first song and later dirges such as “They Saw The Fat One Coming” and “Curse Of The Witches”.

There is, however, no outward or real irony. Groovy and pleasant and cheerful, “Soft Skies, No Lies” points to the direction the band would take after this album. Instrumentally, the best parts are the imaginative drumming and the dancing harpsichord. The vocals are eager and earnest, and the SAC harmony vocals, as ever, decorate the background. One chorus towards the beginning of the song admits “I think maybe I love you”… while the final chorus changes this line to “Now I know that I love you” — it’s all smiles and showbiz.

The best part of the song, and what makes it memorable and even deserving of its prominent placement on the album, is the somewhat odd timing and unconventional melody of the line “and I’ll try to make you believe what I’m doing is right”; it’s just the unexpected touch that throws the whole song into better relief. It even sets up the excitement of the next, soaring line (“as we wait for the morning to take over the night”).

If the first two tracks are supposed to encapsulate an album, the 1-2 punch of “Nightmare Of Percussion” and “Soft Skies, No Lies” certainly define the opposite edges of Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, which teeters between off-the-deep-end strangeness and barely-psych pop. “Soft Skies, No Lies” is a particularly melodic example of the latter.

Appears on

LP: Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow (1968)

Right now on eBay: Strawberry Alarm Clock

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