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Solstice - Spirit CD (album) cover

SPIRIT

Solstice

 

Neo-Prog

3.71 | 26 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars That's the spirit

Solstice is not a very prolific band with only four studio albums to their credit even though the first of these (and still the best) was released already in 1984. Spirit is their forth and latest album to date and it arrived some 14 years after the previous Circles album. While an improvement over that album, this is not quite up to par with the first two Solstice albums. The line-up of the band is radically different, but leader Andy Glass is still here as well as vocalist Emma Brown. The style is still recognizable Solstice, however, with its mix of Symphonic Prog, Jazz-Rock and Folk Rock with some New-Age "spirit" and World Music elements thrown in.

This album also comes with a DVD featuring a full live performance of the band from 2009. And though the studio disc is not entirely convincing on its own merits, the addition of the DVD to the set makes this release a worthwhile one. The studio disc opens with Solomon's Bridge, a rather long number that takes a while to get off the ground. It would have been wiser to open the album with Sky Path West which is significantly better and even up to par with the best Solstice tunes from previous albums. The fiddle has a more folky sound than the symphonic violin sound (think Kansas) found on previous Solstice efforts. This makes for a nice touch. Andy Glass is on fire on the guitars. The vocals of Emma Brown, on the other hand, are merely acceptable, but somehow lack something. Even if there are lots of vocals on this album, the overall feel of the album is as if it was an instrumental one.

Freedom is a rather annoying, political song with a long spoken word section encouraging the people to resistance against tyranny. While I agree with the message it does not fit the albums relaxed feel. Flight is better and features some very appealing, and surprisingly heavy, passages. Oberon's Folly also has some great folky passages as does Here & Now which is another good one. The closing title track is a bit too long for its own good though and left little impression on me.

Overall, Spirit is a rather decent album that will certainly appeal to the fans and followers of the band. With the addition of the live DVD, it becomes a worthwhile addition to any Prog collection, but by no means an essential one.

The DVD features songs from the band's whole career, performed by the current line-up in a smaller club. It is hardly an excellent show, but both the band and the audience seem to have a good time.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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