Exposé Online banner

Syd Arthur — Sound Mirror
(Harvest 253706648, 2014, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-06-21

Sound Mirror Cover artFor their first major label release, modern day Canterbury heroes Syd Arthur have consolidated the gains made on their debut LP On an On, plus they’ve made some smart choices in terms of refining their musical vision. Overall, the songs are a bit more concise and less backward-looking though the band’s progressive and psych identity essentially remains intact. Guitarist/singer Liam Magill continues to charm with his idiosyncratic melodies that borrow more than a little from the jazz world. Mandolin/violin/synth player Raven Bush has shifted his attention toward modern electronics and string arrangements over the folky violin sound of the debut, although he still makes liberal use of his electric mandolin chops and is the featured soloist throughout. The band also have an uncanny knack for welding thoroughly modern-sounding grooves to warm and funky vocal and instrumental arrangements, perhaps best seen on “What’s Your Secret” where bassist Joel Magill and drummer Fred Rother operate with a maturity and single-minded purpose that you’d expect from much more seasoned players. There’s a live immediacy to the recordings, despite the greater use of electronics, which really comes to the fore on the folky “Backwardstepping.” Contrast that with the following song, “Chariots” that — with its instrumental coda “Singularity” — sounds cut from the same cloth as early Porcupine Tree. This is an album of dazzling breadth but forged from a collective will that is remarkable. Syd Arthur are quite simply one of the best progressive bands operating today and it’s no wonder they’re moving up fast.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Syd Arthur

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Happy Family - Happy Family – Here it is at last, the musical equivalent of a 1001 Centigrade enema, the debut of the legendary Happy Family. This one is not for the saccharine-fluffy prog types, this is like Slayer covering...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues