Syd Arthur — On an On
(Dawn Chorus DCRC006, 2012, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-12-19This 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.
Related artist(s): Syd Arthur
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more