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Syd Arthur

Crossover Prog

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Syd Arthur Sound Mirror album cover
3.91 | 87 ratings | 6 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Garden of Time (4:40)
2. Hometown Blues (3:48)
3. Autograph (3:50)
4. What's Your Secret (3:18)
5. All and Everything (3:00)
6. Forevermore (3:27)
7. Backwardstepping (2:49)
8. Chariots (4:11)
9. Singularity (3:03)
10. Sink Hole (2:39)

Total Time: 34:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Liam Magill / guitar, vocals
- Raven Bush / violin, mandolin, keyboards
- Joel Magill / bass, vocals
- Fred Rother / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Liam Magill

LP Harvest ‎- 2537706655 (2014, US)

CD Harvest ‎- 2537706648 (2014, US)

Thanks to jwixVonJwax for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror Music

SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror ratings distribution

(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is prog? The umbrella of all that is considered prog seems to be growing exponentially. I'm not sure that is a good thing---especially when indie pop and psych pop bands seem to be taking over while postmodern chamber or classical music is being purposely ignored and/or expressly excluded. I imagine, then that it should only be a short time before some of my other favorite until-now non-prog groups are welcomed into the PA scene. Imagine bands like The Cure, Souxsie and The Banshees, doves, Tears for Fears, Bruce Cockburn, Jane Siberry, k.d. lang, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bears, ABC, The Art of Noise, Annette Peacock, Alanis Morrissette, Pearl Jam, Cowboy Junkies, Portishead, Massive Attack, The Style Council/Paul Weller, The Buggles, U2, Gene Loves Jezebel, Jesus and Mary Chain, It's Immaterial, Aztec Camera, Simple Minds, The Blow Monkeys, Simply Red, The Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire, Love and Money, Love and Rockets, The The, Pete Shelley, Telepomusick, Air, Van Morrison, West Indian Girl, Perplexa, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, XTC, Sting, The Police, Stereolab, Sade, Swing Out Sister, Annie Lennox, Seal, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Robin Guthrie, Violet Indiana, Mono, Olive, The Re-Flex, Psychedlic Furs, Robert Palmer, Pink Fairies, John Martyn, Peter Murphy, Pentatonix, Peter Frampton, The Payolas, The Ramones, Paramore, Evanescence, P.M. Dawn, OMD, Opus III, The Mercury Program, Marconi Union, M & M (Martha & The Muffins), League of Gentlemen, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Love and Rockets, Icehouse, Linkin Park, Kitchens of Distinction, John Serrie, Jonathon Goldman, Ivy, Hans Zimmer, Grand Funk, Gino Vanelli, Elton John, George Michael, Funin, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Flaming Lips, Everything But The Girl, The Fixx, Emilie Autumn, The Dream Academy, Dead Can Dance, David Darling, Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Melanie, Carly Simon, The Association, Coldplay, The Clientele, Clint Mansell, Clannad, The Cars, Bruce Springsteen, Boards of Canada, Berlin, Blue Öyster Cult, Astrud Gilberto, Sergio Mendez, Joabim, Astor Piazzolo, Art Lindsay, Animal Collective, America, Alan Stivell, Al Stewart, Kosmos, Ry Cooder, and so many, many others being included in your beloved Progressive Rock Archives! Prog Rock takes over the world (or at least the quirkier side of pop music scene)! That being said, I LOVE this album. The first eight of ten offerings are fully fantastic ear candy worming their way into my brain. I love the voice, the lyrics, the recording treatment/effects used on all the instruments, the b vox, the presence and effect of the mandolin and violin, and the upbeat psych-pop, drugged-up, almost-Canterburian feel to the music. I have no favorites; I perk up at the sound of any of the first eight songs when they come across my ears, they're all five star efforts in my humble opinion and I can't seem to tire of any of them. I truly hope these guys get huge--at least get some of the recognition and income I feel they deserve.

A five star album rated down for non-proggy-ness.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars 'Songs you most likely are going to sing along to at some point'

This one could very well turn out to be AOTY for me. It's been a fun ride, even if I had quite the preservations coming into this thing, as I first laid eyes on the track listing: 10 songs and less than 35 minutes of music!?!??! Wtf! Even the debut had a long cut clocking in at about 8 minutes - feeling like a mini epic with big sweeps of violin and guitar. On Sound Mirror everything is concise and to the point, no time for riff raff or extended wild soloing, and I'll certainly be the first to admit it. I felt a little disappointed with this new development, because like most fans of rock that pushes the envelope (sometimes just a wee bit), I'm always looking for that ever so delightful and orgiastic long tune that sets my blood on fire and transforms my copious corpus into a quivering pool of jello.

Yet when I then got my hands on an actual release - unpacked the bugger like a mental person and frantically placed it in my stereo, every doubt and preconceived notion flew out my ear and left for the ceiling. I instantly loved the album! The tunes were shorter, but what they perhaps lacked in length - they conquered back in the band's violinist Raven Bush and her newly found love of the piano, mandolin and various keyboards - making Sound Mirror feel altogether more refined and matured. Now I personally tend to go for the young teen angst zeitgeist in rock music, but not to worry. Even if the band's sound palette seems to have grown in size, there's still a strong presence of the youthful nonchalance and carefree ways the debut was soaked in.

What Syd Arthur mostly has got going for them is something very rare inside modern PA releases. At least according to my tastes that is. I often find the vocals in modern prog horrific - with 90% of the lot sounding like tired versions of Andy Latimer. On here you get a warm and rather nasal charm to the vocals. You cannot help but feel joy and the energy of youth, whenever this guy opens his mouth. Liam Magill is a wonderful singer, and the things he does with the guitar ain't too shabby either, although he never really goes all out. He is first and foremost a terrific rhythm guitarist. The combination of his guitar and those brilliant vocals works like a real charm. Especially on a track like Chariots does this shine spades! It's everywhere though.

Getting down to brass tax here! How does it sound? Any reference points? Well, one could be as glib as to call Sound Mirror the soul of a gifted singer songwriter coming together with the chops and gusto of a psychedelic folk rock group with a strong Canterbury odour. On the debut I heard some serious Caravan touches coming through in Raven's violin work, often reminding me of 'For Girls who grow plump in the Night'. With this new one the Caravan touch is still there, although coming through in other instruments. I am constantly reminded of the melodic work of Dave Sinclair, no matter what keyboard is afoot. It's by no means copycatting behaviour we're talking about, but merely a whiff of something familiar dressed up in an altogether different gown. In addition to the references, you'll find distinct sections where the group suddenly feels like a second cousin to Grizzly Bear and their brand of psychedelic folk rock.

The peaks on this baby are far too many to count, but there's of course the titillating riffs of Chariots, the bluesy expression of the opener Garden Of Dreams, the naive and always impeccably played 60s inspired rhythm section, the staying power of Forevermore with it's memorable chorus that'll be playing the rest of your evening from the insides of your skull - or perhaps the melancholy and slightly circus-like feel of the keys adorning the closer Sink Hole, - fact of the matter is wherever you look, there's magnificence. The grandeur of this release though doesn't exactly explode in your face upon first listen, but rather comes crawling through the window when you're not looking. It's a ninja thing.

The only negative thing this album is facing with the prog crowd is the fact that Liam sings so incredibly well and smooth, that there are bound to be folks writing him and the rest of his companeros off as a psychedelic Indie rock group. Maybe that's true - I certainly wouldn't call Syd Arthur a prog band, but then again I feel comfortable keeping this album right next to my Caravan and Hatfield and the North albums too. There's an effortlessness and breezy nature to the way they play making all technical sparks and turn overs feel natural and unforced. The 'Canterbury' sound may well be modern and hard to pick out among the straightforwardness of the songs, but the feel of things is still there.

In the end this is merely a collection of incredibly well performed songs. No bs just music with heart. 4.5 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Guldbamsen has sent me at least two private messages encouraging me to check this band out, and both times I checked out some Youtube videos andboth times I felt like "meh" they are alright. David's passion for these guys on the site here though moved me to take the plunge with both studio albums. Damn! He was right again(hehe). I am so moved by this album i'm not even sure what to say about it. The guitar at times reminds me of later ANEKDOTEN and I love that sound, the bass is often fuzzed out big time and the other major plus is the vocals. This album makes me feel so good that it's simply perfect for me. These guys might be from Canterbury but the music certainly isn't Canterbury.

"Garden Of Time" opens with a cool little guitar melody then vocal melodies, drums and more take over. Man I love the sound of the guitar as it settles and the vocals join in. The chorus is awesome as well but man the guitar is very Swedish to my ears. More vocal melodies 2 1/2 minutes in followed by a killer instrumental section that is quite experimental. So good! A top three track. "Hometown Blues" opens with piano as a beat and more joins in then vocals. A catchy mid-paced tune with so much attention to detail. Violin around 2 minutes then it turns fuller again as contrasts continue. "Autograph" is another feel-good, mid- paced tune with vocals. "Anyone out there...anyone at all?" A nice instrumental section with piano and vocal melodies before 2 minutes. It's building until 2 1/2 minutes in when it calms right down.

"What's Your Secret" opens with violin and picked guitar as vocals join in. It picks up before a minute and contrasts continue with lots of violin in this one. "All And Everything" is catchy with vocals to start. Lots of fuzz when it turns fuller, love that guitar as well. "Forevermore" opens with intricate guitar and a light beat as reserved vocals join in. The chorus is fuller with some nice drum work. "Backwardstepping" features acoustic guitar and vocals as the violin comes and goes. A beautiful song. "Chariots" opens with what sounds like processed accordion then fuzz and some manipulated vocals follow. Distorted keys after 2 minutes when the vocals stop breifly. It blends into the only instrumental "Singularity" another top three tune for me. An ominous beginning then a powerful section kicks in before a minute. Check out the guitar, oh my! Kicking some ass here as we get fuzzed out bass as well. "Sink Hole" with guitar, drums and vocal melodies standing out early impresses. Then vocals and a fuller sound follows.

Right now this is the best album I have heard for 2014 but I have quite a few to get through before I decide that. Essential! Thanks Bamsen!

Review by Warthur
4 stars I'm not sure how Syd Arthur came up with their name, but I suspect it comes down to honouring two of the UK's major originators of prog-oriented psychedelic music (or psych-oriented prog, depending on where you draw the line) - namely, Syd Barrett and Arthur Brown. Certainly, their Sound Mirror sounds like the sort of thing that Kingdom Come might have been produced if left to their own devices with 21st Century equipment and a stack of early Caravan albums. Released through the venerable Harvest label, Syd Arthur represent a fine continuation of that label's psych- prog tradition, as well as taking into account 40 years of musical innovation since that label's heyday.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Since I saw some people compare this new band "Syd Arthur" with Caravan I had been very curious to hear it and so I have done for the last days. I could say immediately that this band sounds like no other prog band I have heard, so it could be worth checking it out. Though am I hesitant if it sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1300448) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's funny, because I was extremely annoyed by Syd Arthur's performance opening for Yes in Denver this year. The sound was mixed horribly, and sounded distorted almost beyond the point of recognition. Yet the band had a presence that intrigued me, and I could detect some interesting melodies ... (read more)

Report this review (#1254319) | Posted by freyacat | Tuesday, August 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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