Syd Arthur — Sound Mirror
Γ¤ "Psychedelia" má širokou škálu definic, od surrealistického, pastorálního folku, přes kaleidoskopický pop utápějící se v elektronických efektech, až k heavy rocku, třpytivému jako předtucha a přelud. Hudba je to zatraceně dobrá. Jednoduše řečeno, je to aktualizovaná forma klasického a psychedelického rocku, podobného tomu, co dělají kapely, jako Dungen a Tame Impala. Ale tady není žádný lesk. Syd Arthur jsou žáci nestydatě staré školy. Srovnání s Gong, Camel, Soft Machine, Caravan je nevyhnutelné. Přesto Syd Arthur není tak avantgardní jako většina z těch kapel. Jsou více zakotveni v lidových a konvenčních písňových strukturách. Psychedelic, progresivní rock od nich stále zní čerstvě, zároveň čerpá od průkopníků minulých let. Syd Arthur bude nepochybně lepší a lepší, jak bude plynout čas. Jen se dívej...
Γ¤ Jazzy psych-rock quartet from Canterbury, England influenced by classic '60s and '70s proto-prog and psychedelia, played through a modern lens.
Location: Canterbury, England
Album release: April 22nd/June 2nd, 2014
Recording date: September, 2013 — November, 2013
Record Label: Harvest
01 Garden of Time 4:40
02 Hometown Blues 3:49
03 Autograph 3:50
04 What's Your Secret 3:18
05 All and Everything 3:00
06 Forevermore 3:27
07 Backwardstepping 2:49
08 Chariots 4:11
09 Singularity 3:04
10 Sink Hole 2:39
•¤• All tracks written by Syd Arthur / Liam Magill
•¤• Frank Arkwright Mastering
•¤• Ben Baptie Mixing Assistant
•¤• Raven Bush Keyboards, Mandolin, Violin
•¤• Vivienne Chandler Tributee
•¤• Tom Elmhirst Mixing
•¤• Alaric King Photography
•¤• Joel Magill Bass, Design, Vocals
•¤• Liam Magill Artwork, Composer, Design, Guitar, Lyricist, Photography, Vocals
•¤• Fred Rother Drums, Percussion
•¤• Syd Arthur Composer, Engineer, Primary Artist, Producer
•¤• Ryan Del Vecchio A&R
•¤• Syd Arthur, a quartet of Canterbury-based devotees of sound immersed in the simple pleasures of songwriting, performance and exploratory musical interplay. Greatly inspired by the sonic pioneers of the late 60s and early 70s, they have patiently learned how to engineer, produce and mix themselves, using an innovative hybrid of analogue and digital techniques. Naturally, in 2009, Wicker Studios, their own studio space was created, followed by their record label, Dawn Chorus Recording Company. Syd Arthur may revel in the music of decades long past but, as psychedelic rock goes, they match the hallucinogenic sounds of modern contemporaries like Wolf People, Black Mountain, Tame Impala with imaginative, whimsically sweet, melodies.
By Rob Caldwell, 23 May 2014; Score: 6
•¤• First, let’s get a few things out of the way, for those who may be new to Syd Arthur. The name comes from the title of Herman Hesse’s spiritual journey novel Siddhartha. Or else it’s an homage to Syd Barrett and the Kinks’ 1969 album Arthur (Or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Accounts differ. The moniker works both ways, though.
•¤• In addition, violin/mandolin player Raven Bush is art rock legend Kate Bush’s nephew. Not that that’s here nor there, except it maybe sheds some light on his and the band’s musical leanings.
•¤• And what of the music? The music is damn good. In simple terms, it’s an updated take on classic psychedelic rock, akin to what bands such as Dungen and Tame Impala are doing. Yet, while Tame Impala may have a more modern sheen to their brand of psych, Syd Arthur are unabashedly old school. Playing the kind of music they do, and hailing from Canterbury, U.K., comparisons to the bands of the ‘60’s and ’70’s Canterbury Scene (Gong, Soft Machine, Caravan, etc.) are unavoidable. Yet Syd Arthur isn’t as avant-garde as most of those bands. They’re more grounded in folk and conventional song structures. Their folk is a very funky, jazzy folk, however. The band is also on the revived Harvest record label, known in its early 1970’s heyday as the home of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Roy Harper, and the aforementioned Syd Barrett. Syd Arthur is just the type of band that would have been on the roster then, as well.
•¤• Sound Mirror is the quartet’s second full-length, and it finds them mining the same cosmic yet earthy sounds of their previous album and EPs. Lead track “Garden of Time” sets the tone and is particularly strong with a memorable melody line, jazzy guitar textures, and chanted vocal passages mixed with lyrics like “Garden of time will unfold / The garden of time you behold / Counting the days till your surrender / Our journey step into forever” and a stormy, effects-laden instrumental break.
•¤• Complex band interplay drives most of the tracks, at times bringing to mind Close to the Edge-era Yes. Things are much more concise here, though, with the majority of tracks clocking in at under four minutes (a trait that’s very unusual for a band in this genre). And, though the songs often feel as if they’ll fly off into untethered phantasmagoric journeys, they always return quickly to the structural backbone.
•¤• A departure from the general business is “Backwardstepping”, a bare-bones singer/songwriter number with a vaguely bossa-nova acoustic guitar backing and tasteful, subdued violin adding just the right amount of color.
•¤• There’s a bit of a nasal whine in Liam Magill’s vocals. He isn’t the strongest lead vocalist, but he’s also the lead guitar player and it’s there that his talents most shine. •¤• “Chariots”, in particular, has a gloriously fuzzed-out, lysergic guitar solo. Perhaps because they’re such a focused, unified band, the solo is a bit short, ending just when it’s starting to get interesting. Luckily, the song flows into “Singularity”, a guitar heavy instrumental.
•¤• While Syd Arthur still sounds young, mainly in the lead vocal department, with each release they sound a bit more weathered and assured. This latest statement shows that psychedelic, progressive rock can still sound fresh, while also drawing from past trailblazers. Sound Mirror is the mark of a band in it for the long haul who will undoubtedly get better and better as time goes by. One to watch. (http://www.popmatters.com/)
•¤• Sound Mirror is the follow up to the November 2013 re-release of their first album On An On.
•¤• Hailed by MOJO as "Canterbury's dazzling new sons," Syd Arthur offer a strikingly fresh take on 21st century psychedelia, their exceptional approach born of prodigious musicianship, elemental songcraft, and an unabashed spirit of adventure. Released in the UK in 2012, On An On swings as much as it swirls, with songs like first single "Ode To The Summer," whose video was premiered in America by Stereogum, fusing kosmische jazz and expansive grooves with arcadian instrumentation, intricate time signatures, and lyrical, free-spirited melodies to conjure a rather potent and particular musical magic. On An On justly earned Syd Arthur reams of UK attention, with critical acclaim and increasingly bigger gigs, including recent tours alongside White Denim and confirmed fan Paul Weller.
•¤• Comprising Liam Magill (lead vocals, guitar), his brother Joel (bass, vocals), Raven Bush (violin, keyboards, mandolin), and Fred Rother (drums), the band first came together early in the new millennium, initially to perform at the outdoor gatherings presented by the brothers Magill in what Liam describes as "really interesting places" around their native Canterbury.
•¤• Nourished by a steady diet of jazz and funk, folk and world music, the band explored the myriad possibilities of improvisation, impelling themselves and their one-of-a-kind vision towards heretofore-uncharted territory.
•¤• Dubbing themselves Syd Arthur — a name that conjures at minimum three of psychedelia's most magical monikers — the band looked for new ways to move forward, educating themselves to recording's vast possibilities by building their own Wicker Studios in 2009. Conveniently located on the edge of South East London, Wicker allowed Syd Arthur to assimilate the dark arts of production, engineering, and mixing, offering them innumerable new routes for their autonomous musical activity.
Artist Biography by Timothy Monger
•¤• On and On Since their formation in 2006, British psych-rock quartet Syd Arthur have immersed themselves in the rich musical history of their native Canterbury, drawing influences from late-'60s and early-'70s progressive pioneers like the Soft Machine and Caravan, and filtering them through a more contemporary lens. Brothers Liam and Joel MaGill (guitar and bass, respectively) met drummer Fred Rother and violinist Raven Bush (nephew of Kate Bush) while in school and the group was formed, spending the following fundamental years gigging, developing their ornate jazz-rock sound, and eventually building their own recording studio, Wicker Studios, in 2009. The group set about recording their debut EP, Moving World, which was released in 2010 on their own New Dawn Recording Company imprint and garnered praise from prominent U.K. publications. The single "Ode to Summer" was released the following year and in 2012, Syd Arthur released their first LP, On and On. The album was well-received and caught the attention of Britain's legendary, revived Harvest Records, who signed the band and reissued On and On in late 2013. They quickly followed up in May 2014 with their second album, Sound Mirror.
By Timothy Monger; Score: ****
BY MICHELLE GESLANI on MAY 21, 2014, 6:00AM; Score: C
Written by Stephen Trageser May 19th, 2014 at 4:23 pm; Score: 4 out of 5 stars
By PHIL ALEXANDER JUNE 2, 2014; Score: ****
By KORY GROW, JUNE 16, 2014; Score: ***
1st album: Review ⋅ Alex Taylor ⋅ June 5th, 2012 ⋅