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Solstice - Silent Dance CD (album) cover

SILENT DANCE

Solstice

 

Neo-Prog

3.19 | 29 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars "You've got to find yourself before you look for anyone else!"

I must admit that I was not particularly impressed by this album when I first heard it, but I found myself playing it over and over until I realized that I actually enjoy it very much. The first thing that strikes you when you hear the first track is the similarity between the voice of the female lead vocalist Sandy Leigh and that of Jon Anderson. The latter has indeed a somewhat feminine quality to his voice and Leigh is clearly a singer in that style. There are several other Yes-similarities as well in the music of Solstice but they are not as evident as some people would make you believe. The similarities with Yes are perhaps most apparent on the first track of the album. Other bands that might come to mind while listening to Silent Dance are Renaissance, Mike Oldfield and perhaps Kansas. Like in Renaissance, the bass guitar is often (but not always) Chris Squire-like, but again like Renaissance, the sound of Solstice is a bit toned down compared to, and not as hard edged and "flashy" as, Yes or Kansas (it is more of a Turn Of The Century than a Sound Chaser if you catch my drift).

As might be expected from looking at the cover art picture and reading the lyrics and song titles, there is a certain New-Age sensibility in the approach of Solstice, sometimes reminding me of Oldfield's music. The sound of Silent Dance is never very aggressive or overly complex and some of the occasionally wordless vocals come across as chants. This is particularly noticeable on Cheyenne that features a chant that reminds me of the one provided by Steeleye Span's Maddy Prior to Mike Oldfield's Incantations album. The presence of violin and acoustic guitars also brings a slight but appealing Folk element to the mix and a somewhat jazzy element is also present, most evident on the closing track.

As Solstice is a British band formed in 1980 and listed here as Neo-Prog, it should perhaps be pointed out that they have sound-wise nothing to do with bands like IQ, Marillion, Pallas or other bands of that school. The sound of Solstice is more rooted in the classic Symphonic Prog of the 70's. Indeed, it is hard to believe that this album came out around the same time as Yes' 90125 and Renaissance' Time-Line and countless other albums by other classic Prog bands that were released around this time and are (often rightly) regarded as the worst albums of these bands. Unlike most albums from these the- worst-of-times for progressive Rock (and music in general), Silent Dance does not have that typical 80's sound. The sonic quality of the present album is high as is the quality of the actual songs. To have good material is, of course, the most important thing in all music, and the songs here are strong.

An excellent addition!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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