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Solstice - Spirit CD (album) cover





3.53 | 37 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
3 stars No-one can accuse Solstice of being one of the more prolific progressive rock bands around. Their debut album, 'Silent Dance', was incredibly influential when it was released in 1984, but they didn't release their next two albums until the Nineties, and this 2010 album was only their fourth. Guitarist Andy Glass has been the only constant through their career, but at least singer Emma Glass was still there from 1997's 'Circles'. Apart from these it is a brand-new band, as they are joined by Jenny Newman on violin and viola, Pete Hemsley on drums (I still have to pinch myself that the previous incumbent was Clive Bunker, originally from Jethro Tull), Steve McDaniel on keyboards and Robin Phillips, bass. No matter who the musicians are, this is still polished music, in quite a laid-back style. Solstice are often called 'neo prog', but this album is not nearly as punchy as that style often suggests.

Andy's guitar and Emma's vocals are often to the fore, and out of everything it is the vocals that lets the album down as although they are often excellent there are just a few places where she doesn't sound quite on key, and each time I cringe and wonder why they didn't just re-record those few words. The violin also doesn't get as much of an outing as one would normally expect, and the result is a prog album that in many ways is incredibly well polished, and has a lot going for it, with some strong melodies and interplay, but I do feel that this is more of an opportunity missed than one being grabbed with both hands. Their debut is a masterpiece, which I still play to this day, and I doubt they will ever match it. This is superior to their previous outing, but I prefer the 1993 'comeback' 'New Life' to this one as well.

Andy is a fine guitarist with a deft touch, and his lead melody lines are what make Solstice who they are, and if you are already a fan you'll probably enjoy this. If you haven't come across Solstice previously then you're missing a treat, but there are a couple of other albums of their that you should pick up first.

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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