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Solstice Light Up album cover
4.02 | 39 ratings | 4 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Light Up (5:39)
2. Wongle No. 9 (7:14)
3. Mount Ephraim (5:59)
4. Run (8:14)
5. Home (6:42)
6. Bulbul Tarang (10:24)

Total Time 44:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Glass / guitar, vocals
- Jenny Newman / violin
- Pete Hemsley / drums
- Jess Holland / vocals
- Robin Phillips / bass
- Steven McDaniel / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

Label: GEP (CD1073)
Format: CD, Digital
November 6, 2022

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SOLSTICE Light Up ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SOLSTICE Light Up reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I'm not really sure what there is left to say about one of our most iconic and unique progressive rock bands, as for more than 40 years they have been following their own path, guided as always by guitarist Andy Glass. It is strange to think that new album 'Light Up' is following on very quickly from 'Sia", and with the same line-up, both of which are unusual for Solstice. However, the line-up has been stable for quite some time with only singer Jess Holland not appearing on 2013's 'Prophecy'. The artwork is again by Shaun Blake who painted 'Sia', and it makes sense to have the same person involved as in many ways this is a continuation of that album, except here with even more of a concentration on the vocals. Musically there is much on here which could be thought of as prog folk as opposed to the neo tag they are often given, with a depth of thought and complex arrangements which contain a great deal of space within.

A violin has always been a keen element of their sound, but here it is used sparingly so that when it comes in it has even more dramatic effect, while the same is also true of Andy's delicious guitar breaks. When he pushes himself to the fore it changes the direction and momentum of the music, while the rhythm section keeps it tight and allows him room to move. The keyboards are often quite simplistic in comparison, allowing the others to weave the melodies while they often operate as a backdrop. It is nice to see that the album is a "proper" length, i.e. it will fit on one side of TDK-90 tape (if they are still made). Back in the "old days", 45 minutes was seen as an optimal length for pressing purposes, but the advent of CDs allowed that time to move to 75 or more, meaning some bands overstretched themselves when judicious editing would have been useful, but here we have a distillation of all that is good and wonderful about Solstice. This is refined, enjoyable and pleasant music with a rougher edge when the time is right, always with the focus on the vocals.

I have been fortunate enough to have been sitting with this album for some time, and it really is delicious with wonderful arrangements which invite the listener inside to sit down and rest a while. It is one which repays repeated plays as the more one listens to it the more there is to discover with some gorgeously understated moments from all involved, all ensuring they are doing everything they can to put Jess front and centre. There has been a resurgence in activity from Solstice in recent years, who have also been making live albums available to their fans, and there is no excuse whatsoever for discovering the wonderful music of one of our finest bands. It will be released on January 13th through GEP.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars There are some enchanting videos available, where you have the possibility to follow them, while they are recording some of this songs in the studio. The title track for example. It's worth it to have a search. There you can get a valuable impression what concentration was necessary, but also how much fun they had in the same way. Very enlightening. SOLISTICE are more or less headed by guitarist Andy Glass. Relatively new to the fold though, since the predecessor album 'Sia', lead singer Jess Holland turns out to be a new face of the band. Light up and get up, the six new songs are provided with much melody and proper dance appeal. The lead and backing female vocal arrangements are a special strength, always delivering a warm and charming atmosphere.

Exquisite songwriting throughout. Every track given here bears a special flair, and let's say tension. What probably may sound rather innocent in the first place evolves to a thriving experience sooner or later. At some point the initiating title track Light Up sees Jenny Newman and Jess Holland taking off the violin respectively acoustic guitar. Now immediately some deep folk feel is coming up. Wongle No. 9 then is showcasing the funky rhythm section comprised of Robin Phillips (bass) and Pete Hemsley (drums). Mount Ephraim initially transfers us to a party taking place in an Irish Pub or so. Delivered by Andy Glass several inspired and crystal clear sounding guitar solos are putting the cherry on the cake. If you will have the possibility to see them live on the stage soon, lucky you!

Review by Warthur
4 stars This is the seventh studio album from Solstice (if you don't count the Cropredy Set, which was a live-in-the-studio runthrough of a set previously played live), and the second to feature Jess Holland on lead vocals. Andy Glass, of course, has been in the band since beginning; Robin Phillips, Pete Hemsley, Jenny Newman, and Steven McDaniel round out the group in roles they've held since 2010's Spirit.

Next to Sia, this is pretty much business as usual for Solstice; whether that's a good thing depends on how much you enjoy their usual business. For those who want their prog rock to be raucous, highly complex, and very intricate, it may come across as sleepy and simplistic, but for my part I quite like their placid combination of a New Age sense of wonder and tranquility, prog musicianship, and just enough folk to glue the two halves of their sound together. As with Sia, it's another release from a long-serving band who haven't been all that prolific (they've put out seven albums in some 40 years or so), but are at least consistent.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Light Up is a fine album by the veteran Milton Keynes band and a great improvement over Sia, their last recorded effort. This is because the band have struck up a balance between the song's music and the impressive vocals of singer Jess Holland. A balance that I felt was missing last time around ... (read more)

Report this review (#2946922) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, August 23, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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