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ORIGINAL SYN 1965-2004

The Syn

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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The Syn Original Syn 1965-2004 album cover
2.29 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (42:28)
1. Andrew Jackman: Mallard Way (0:45)
2. The Syn: Grounded (2:22)
3. The Syn: 14 Hour Technicolor Dream (2:55)
4. The Syn: Created by Clive (2:30)
5. The Syn: Flowerman (2:36)
6. The Syn with a 24-piece orchestra: The Last Performance of The Royal Regimental, Very Victorious and Valiant Band (3:25)
7. Ayshea with the Syn: Mr White's White Flying Machine (5:16)
8. Narsquijack: Cadillac Dreams (3:22)
9. Narsquijack: Sunset Boulevard Lament (2:49)
10. The Syn: Merry-Go-Round (2:59)
11. The Syn: The Gangster Opera (excerpts from the rehearsal tapes) (5:51) :
- Part 1: Chorus
- Part 2: Legs Diamond
- Part 3: Reprise
12. The Selfs: I Can't Explain (2:09)
13. The Selfs: Love You (2:56)
14. The Syn: Flowerman (original recording) (2:33)

CD 2 (35:52)
15. The Syn: Illusion (14:26) :
- Part 1: Illusion
- Part 2: Something's Going On
- Part 3: Illusion (reprise)
16. The Syn: Grounded 2004 (5:05)
17. The Syn: Time and a Word (4:59)
18. A Tide in the Affairs of Man (7:45)
19. Time and a Word (reprise) (3:37)

Total Time 78:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Nardelli / vocals (2-5,8-10,11,14-19)
- Peter Banks / guitar (2-5,7,11,15-19), backing vocals (15-19)
- Andrew Pryce Jackman / keyboards (1-11,14)
- Gerard Johnson / keyboards & backing vocals (15-19)
- Chris Squire / bass (2-5,7,10-14), guitar (8), acoustic guitar (9), vocals (11), backing vocals (7)
- Steve Gee / bass (15-19)
- Gunnar Hakonarson / drums (2-5,11)
- Martyn Adelman / drums (10,13,15-19)

- Denny Ward / vocals (6)
- Ayshea Brough / vocals (7)
- Chris Slater / vocals (12,13)
- John Painter / guitar (10)
- John Wheatley / guitar (12,13)
- James Nisbet / guitar (17-19)
- John Bowring / drums (12)

Releases information

Include many recordings of Chris Squire on bass - some at the age of 15 when the band was called The Selfs - and other earlier recordings that developed as the band became known as The Syn.

2CD Umbrello Records - UMBRCD001 (2005, UK) Bonus disc with new recordings from 2004

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE SYN Original Syn 1965-2004 Music

THE SYN Original Syn 1965-2004 ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (44%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE SYN Original Syn 1965-2004 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Sycophants (i.e. Yes men) pay their dues

The Syn, and their related bands who are also featured on this album, came and went in the 1960s making little impression along the way. They made decent but unremarkable pop, perhaps even at times proto-prog in the way attributed to bands such as The Beatles, Clouds and Kaleidoscope. They did however include in their line up a couple of youngsters who would go on to form one of prog's core bands, none other than Yes. Both Chris Squire and Pete Banks paid their dues in The Syn from 1965 onwards.

Even then, the Syn would only ever have been but a footnote in the history of Yes, had it not been for the fact that the band unbelievably reformed, Squire, Banks et al, in 2003. This resulted in a tour and a brand new album. With the world-wide appetite for anything Yes related still very much in situ, fans of that band eagerly lapped up this new Squire and co. output. There was of course the inevitable trawl of the archives for anything by the original Syn, resulting in this compilation released to coincide with the new album. While nominally a Syn album, this is in fact a compilation of songs by various 60's bands featuring members of the Syn, and especially Squire.

The earliest recordings are thus by The Selfs, a local covers band, their versions of "I can't explain" and "Love you" being included. These are highly anonymous performances by a band who could have been any one of thousands doing the same thing.

A merger with another band resulted in the combined outfit being renamed the Syn, and the recording of some original material. The first of these "Merry-go-round" would have sounded heavy, indeed underground, at the time but now simply sounds dated. Banks was not involved in these first recordings, joining slightly later to replace John Painter. A first single soon followed entitled "Created by Clive". This is something of a novelty song, a kind of cross between the Bonzos and the Kinks. The B-side "Grounded" is more representative of the direction the band were following. The Syn continued to work on their own material, while playing cover versions in clubs. A five minute track here "The gangster's opera" demonstrates the ambitious nature of the songs they worked on. The fact that the recording comes from a rehearsal in a Scout Hall, recorded on one mike to a reel to reel tape recorder, indicates the barrel scraping side of this compilation.

The second single "Flowerman" is included twice here. It reflects the hippie nature of the period, but in truth sounds like a Herman's Hermits outtake.

Two of the tracks are demos from 2004 under the banner of Narsquijack, a combination of the performers surnames. These are dull and of little interest.

The short second disc of this set contains recordings from 2004 by the reformed band. It is fair to say that any resemblance between these and the 1960's recordings is co- incidental. Despite that fact that Squire does not actually contribute to the composition of any of the songs, the Squire/Yes influence is strong. "Illusion" is a 14+ minute three part progressively influenced workout. The song has similarities with Nektar ("Recycled"), the slightly retro vocals contrasting well with the 21st century instrumentation. The closing section resembles the jousting between Wakeman and Howe on "South side of the sky" on recent Yes tours.

The reworking of "Grounded" sees the song transformed and extended, but it is at best a pretty mediocre song. The final track is an interpretation of Yes' "Time and a word", with a Syn composition "A tide in the affairs of man" incorporated as a middle section. The opening vocals of this slowed down version are similar to Graeme Edge's contributions to the Moody Blues albums, but without his atmospherically dulcet tones. The centre section is clearly composed to complement the Yes composition, and thus has distinct Yes overtones.

It is hard to recommend this collection to all but the most avid Yes collector. The first CD is of purely historical value. The short second CD does however offer a good excuse to investigate further should the opportunity present itself.

Pete Banks left the reformed band before they could tour, and Chris Squire has now indicated that his time on the project is over. It would appear that The Syn will quickly drift back into the obscurity from whence they came.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Proto-proto-Prog or maybe just 60's Pop (with one shining exception!)

This band is a very strong candidate for the most unlikely come-back ever! Despite never having had any substantial success in their original days - that is, in the mid 60's - and never even having released a full length album back then, they decided to reunite in the new millennium! Incredible! If it wasn't for the great success Chris Squire achieved elsewhere, this would not have happened, of course.

This album is a two-CD compilation comprising of the few Pop singles the band released in the mid-60's plus a substantial number of demos recorded around the same time (under different names too) as well as a brand new song and an interview with Chris and Steve Nardelli. You really get the feeling that they scraped the barrel thoroughly in compiling this material, which is a good thing for the completionists. For the rest of us, however, the quantity of material here is clearly excessive in relation to the quality of the same. They could easily have fitted the best of this material onto a single disc.

If you are interested in The Syn, I strongly recommend both the very good studio album, Syndestructible, as well as the equally good live DVD, Syndestructible Tour 2006. Both these released are thoroughly enjoyable and very fitting additions to any Prog collection. This compilation, however, is clearly for those who need to dig deeper into the unusual history of this band. On the live DVD, three of The Syn's 60's songs are performed; Grounded, Flowerman and 14th Hour Technicolor Dream. These three songs are also featured on this compilation, in their original versions. But as far as I'm concerned the new live versions of these three old songs are all the 60's Syn you really need. Many of the inclusions here are of bad sound quality and are often too unfinished to be of any real interest for anyone other than those with a special interest.

There is one exception here, though. Illusion, a new, 14+ minute song which is almost as good as the material on the Syndestructible album. It has a very good keyboard and guitar duel and a strong melody. On this compilation this song stands out as a shining diamond in a pile of sand. While the rest of the material here is very much of it's time, both musically and in terms of production values, Illusion has a timeless sound to it.

The track list on my version of this is slightly different from the one listed above. On my version the second disc consists of just Illusion and a Chris Squire interview. The interview is not very interesting. My version does not have Time And A Word on it, unfortunately. It would indeed be very interesting to hear The Syn's version of that old Yes song, but I strongly doubt that it would change my overall judgement of this compilation.

Despite the very good Illusion, this compilation is clearly for fans and collectors only.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Pleased to see that The Syn have been added to the archives. I bought this album by mistake, thinking it was the new release (see Syndestructible); it's not, rather its a 2 disc collection of early recordings and more recent material. Disc 1 comprises the old, 60's stuff; with both Chris Squire a ... (read more)

Report this review (#60161) | Posted by Phil | Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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