Exposé Online banner

Syd Arthur — On an On
(Dawn Chorus DCRC006, 2012, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-12-19

On an On Cover artThis young Canterbury group’s debut quickly garnered lots of attention and comparisons to mid-period Caravan, due in part to jazzy arrangements that feature the violin of Raven Bush (Kate’s nephew). Singer/guitarist Liam Magill even looks like Pye Hastings circa ’72, plus his guitar is more often a rhythmic element rather than a melodic device. He’s a better singer than Pye ever was, with a youthful and vibrant delivery that exhibits more confidence than one might expect. The band is ably rounded out by bassist Joel Magill (Liam’s brother) and drummer Fred Rother, who lock together with some surprisingly deft and dynamic grooves, perhaps best seen in the proggy intricacies of “Truth Seeker” or in the shuffling “Ode to the Summer.” It’s here and on songs like “Promise Me” that the ghost of early Jethro Tull rears its head and one can almost picture Glenn Cornick and Clive Bunker pumping out the fast 6/8 lines. Repeat listening softens the Caravan/Tull comparisons and the lasting impression is that of a truly modern progressive rock ensemble. Yes, they are clearly aware of their heritage, but Caravan never delved into the Crimson-esque math rock of the closing epic “Paradise Lost” or the swinging jazz and blues of “Dorothy.” Elsewhere, a wooden and pastoral vibe infuses “Black Wave” and some psych ear candy is layered over the instrumental “Night Shaped Light,” removing any doubts about this band’s chops, both as writers as well as players. Keep an eye on these guys — they should be going places.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Syd Arthur

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mad Crayon - Ultimo Miraggio – Mad Crayon are a new Italian quintet of the symphonic variety. Two of the members play keys, so as you can expect, the sound is lush and beautiful. The band is young — which is surprising, since...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues