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Solstice - Silent Dance CD (album) cover





3.49 | 53 ratings

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3 stars In their first incarnation, which became a recording act, Solstice were so beyond commercialization that they initially turned down a chance to record with EMI records, who were courting the new breed of 80's progressive rock bands having just signed Marillion. Perhaps by consciously sounding the like the bands that Yes and Renaissance once were, they felt that they were too far away from the current prog rock trend of mixing new wave and pop with prog in order to score a hit radio single. Or worse, a popular video on MTV.

It's not hard to fathom as this hippie-like earth loving band, with a female vocalist that did indeed sound like a cross between Jon Anderson and Annie Haslem, seemed to represent, lyrically, everything that was contrary to the money imbued success of having hit records and fan worship.

But vocalist Sandy Leigh's partial resemblance to Annie Haslam is where Solstice's resemblance to Renaissance really ends as the band were not orchestral or classically oriented even though they were very symphonic. Even so, the rhythm section of Mark Hawkins (bass) and Martin Wright (drums) could have easily held there own if playing anything from the complicated Renaissance songbook. Where the duo really sound at home at is telegraphing the long lost prog interplay of Chris Squire and Alan White who recently scored big with the pop hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" from Yes's 1983 album 90125. Even guitarist Andy Glass on the one song' s intro sounds like Steve Howe tentative tuning his acoustic guitar before starting off "And You And I" from Yes's Fragile album. It can hardly be coincidence, but that what makes Sosltice's first album Silent Dance so appealing to the long time prog fan. Granted, Marc Elton's keyboards are closer tot that of Ultravox than anything conjured by Rick Wakeman. Both this and Elton's folk style fiddle playing helped to keep Solstice from being a complete musical parody.

There's nothing new or groundbreaking about Silent Dance, but if you long for prog days of yore served up with complete reverence then you can't go wrong with Silent Dance. Which, much to the band's dismay, could have been a smash hit s if it was released by a big record label. Standout songs include "Return To Spring", Cheyenne", "Brave New World", and the super infectious "Find Yourself". 3 stars.

SteveG | 3/5 |


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