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SPIRIT

Solstice

Neo-Prog


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Solstice Spirit album cover
3.71 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Solomon's Bridge
2. Sky Path West
3. Freedom
4. Flight
5. Oberon's Folly
6. Here & Now
7. Spirit

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Glass / guitar & vocals
- Emma Brown / vocals
- Jenny Newman / violin & viola
- Pete Hemsley / drums
- Steve McDaniel / keyboards
- Robin Phillips / bass

Releases information

Label: F2 Music

Thanks to toroddfuglesteg for the addition
and to Progshine for the last updates
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SOLSTICE Spirit ratings distribution


3.71
(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (35%)
35%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SOLSTICE Spirit reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#338002) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Solstice is one of those typical second tier prog bands that have been around for a while (it was formed in 1980, well past the already buried golden era) , releasing albums occasionally to satisfy some inner pledge of resistance to the fluctuations of the music market . Leader and superb guitarist Andy Glass cut his teeth as a Jethro Tull engineer as well as live lead guitarist for Bill Withers, the Temptations and bluesman Geno Washington. Let it be stated for the record that Andy Glass is a stunning fretman with impeccable technique and a rather unique style that transcends the usual suspects. His main outlet has been Solstice, a folk/neo prog group that has made an impact in prog circles with tasty albums such as Silent Dance, New Life and er? the less accomplished Circles! What makes this such a deal is the inclusion of a live DVD disc showing off their live talents, great idea as older compositions such as Cheyenne, New Life, Brave New World and most of this new album are now visible to the unbelievers.

The mood is immediately seductive on the shifting nearly 10 minute opener "Salomon's Bridge", a sensuous acoustic flurry beckons the violin forward, played by the ravishing Jenny Newman, as the keys, bass, drums and growling guitars suddenly enter the melee. Andy pulls on the strings a la Holdsworth , displaying an obvious genius in expressing himself with the guitar. Emma Brown's vocals are effective but frankly nowhere near the breathless qualities of fellow Brits Olivia Sparnnen of Breathing Space/Mostly Autumn, Karnataka's Lisa Fury or Joanna Hogg (okay, she's from Ulster!). Mention must be made of Pete Hemsley's rather superlative percussive work, a giant drummer at work here. "Sky Path West" is another longuish yet stellar track, arguably the strongest moment here, a rumbling Robin Phillips bass-led romp that exudes happiness and joy (near Mahavishnu /Santana territory), Glass really playing fondly on his axe, the fiddle sticking to the theme (fiddlesticks?). I mean , this is good stuff!!!!! "Freedom" is marred by some narrated political mumbo-jumbo that offers nothing new (empirical corporate fascism will never go away regardless how hard you try to revolutionize the world). "Flight" is a towering riff-laden journey that jets through the aural skies with serious hints of jazz-rock, some scat-vocalized "doo-ahhs" that are actually quite nicely pulled off. Steve McDaniel's snarling organ duels effortlessly with Andy pyrotechnical fret massages, a tremendous piece that rocks and fizzes. The mood needs to calm down and does so with the splendid Celtic-drenched "Oberon's Folly", the quintessential anguished plea of a troubled soul, giving Emma the platform to show off her hypnotic pipes on part 1 "Puit d'Amour" (Well of Love) while part 2 "Lady Muck" is entirely devoted to the wailing agony of Jenny's inspired violin. She is one hell of a fiddler on any roof! This piece sort of consecrates the essential qualities of this pleasant album, easily Solstice's finest moment. The voluptuous "Here & Now" simply continues on the folk/symphonic/ neo prog road and offers up a slight Middle Eastern tinge that is totally appealing. The raging guitars in particular are uniquely disturbing in tone and technique, while the fiddle screeches in the sandstorm orchestrations. The disc bows out with the epic title track, a dozen minutes of image-laden musical acrobatics that encompass the entire gamut of Solstice's credo, an adventurous, ingenious and talented expression of progressive rock symphonics. A mid- tempo spiritual tapestry with sitar-like twangs, a serene synth solo, sweet ethereal vocals and groove backdrop. Smooth and relaxed, almost effortless, baby! Andy gets to explore his Carlos Santana fantasies and spew all over the place, a huge technical solo that will scatter the leaves between your ears.

As for the DVD, it provides a glimpse into the world of musicians who are in it for the pleasure and not the fame (read money), a talented crew of musicians who defy the trends and do their thing brilliantly. Oh, and they are enjoying themselves too?.. What a sight, what a sound. This deserves being in any progfan's rotation. 4.5 gin and tonics, screwdrivers , cuba libres, scotch and waters.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#409674) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars Difinitely one of the best albums in 2010 Hearing through the album just by one time, I quickly realized that this album is one of the best this year. I had the same experience when I heard Karnataka's new CD. Guitar sings very melodic and so does violin (fiddle). Female vocals are beautiful ... (read more)

Report this review (#303032) | Posted by Katsuhisa | Saturday, October 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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