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C SIDES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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C Sides biography
Founded in Wales, UK in 2007

In 2007, three ex-members of Magenta - Allan MASON-JONES (drums, percussion), Dan FRY (bass, voices), and Martin ROSSER (guitars, keyboards, voices) - formed another project named C SIDES (aka The C SIDES PROJECT) with massive inspiration by early 70s Rush.

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C SIDES discography


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C SIDES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Devitrification
2011
3.18 | 9 ratings
We Are Now
2017
3.87 | 42 ratings
10 Days
2018
3.48 | 6 ratings
Purple Hearts Corner
2020

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C SIDES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Purple Hearts Corner by C SIDES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Purple Hearts Corner
C Sides Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars My first pleasant surprise this year 2020. Let me start with the résumé right now ... a real prog showpiece is ready to announce, no ifs, no buts. Stunning compositions, hot entertainment, tension, excellent musicianship, emotive vocals. 'Purple Hearts Corner' comes as their fourth album meanwhile, and I dare to say they have reached peak form here. Hailing from Wales the band is driven by core members Allan Mason-Jones (drums) and Martin Rosser (guitars), alongside with Kevin Dawson (keys) as well Allen McCarthy (bass, vocals). Female singer Sian Elson is aboard again, though somehow taking a backseat on this occasion, that said more restrained, providing fine background vocal harmonies predominantly.

You may recall some Magenta relations here and there, yeah maybe, albeit this is rather individual overall. Where the flow appeals, from end to end. And that counts. 'Purple Hearts Corner' is running throughout the wide border area of art and neo prog, though equipped with psychedelic respectively ambient elements too. The album title is pointing to the concept behind, necessarily. The story deals with a B-17 bomber sent to fascist Germany across the English Channel during Second World War. That means reflecting moments of awful fear, pain and tragedy. Now it makes sense if you are recognizing aircraft noises, marching drums and synths howling like sirens within this issue.

Nonetheless, or you may say even for that reason, the frame is set to the benefit of passion and playfullness. They are offering five songs, nearly all are taking the ten minute hurdle with ease. If distributed on different albums every single one on its own would reach for the particular item highlight. Now the plane is starting ... final flight, or not? Into Clouds is mirroring alertness, suspense furthermore - a very cinematic implementation. Concerning the song Bremen one may think of this as the homebase of the famous town musicians with innocence. But the title is target too, and related to the mixed feelings of the bomber pilot regarding his mortal instructions.

There are psychedelic guitars given on Engine Down, which evolves into a thriving groove soon, accompanied by striking riffs. Gripping, unpredictable, the closing title track is meandering as well as rocking through that main uncertainty with ups and downs, plus litte dissonance occuring. The story splendidly set into music. Yep, this is sophisticated melodic prog, stylistically close to The Far Meadow, Red Bazar, The Paradox Twin, if you will need some rough orientation. Considering the conceptual background not an easy case. But the band have succeeded to deliver a really compelling effort, a pleasant relief. Melody, heaviness, catchy repetitive motifs, nice piano lines, samples, all put together with inspiration. Chapeau!

 Purple Hearts Corner by C SIDES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Purple Hearts Corner
C Sides Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The C Sides Project, originally known as just "C Sides", was founded in the early 2010s from 3 ex-members from "Magneta". In February of 2020, they released their fourth full length album called "Purple Hearts Corner". Two of the original founders, Martin Rosser (guitar) and Allan Mason-Jones (drums, percussion) are still with the band who is also made up of Allen McCarthy (vocals, bass), Sian Elson (additional vocals), and Kevin Dawson (keyboards, piano).

This album is made up of 5 fairly long tracks, and follows their usual sound (as of late) of a light progressive sound that sits somewhere between Neo-prog and Crossover Prog. You'll definitely get that impression with their first track "Fields" which tends to follow a main thematic element that doesn't veer to far away from its main melody. It's good music, but doesn't seem to offer much in the way of groundbreaking and doesn't try to challenge the listener too extensively. "Into Clouds" shows a bit more ingenuity with a nice piano solo introduction which finally brings in a more progressive theme after 3 minutes, utilizing a start/stop section that builds up a bit of excitement. The music is interesting, but tends to get bogged down in its efforts to present a progressive idea. The guitar finally gets to settle things into a more straightforward rhythm, though with a bit of complexity to it, but now it tends to lose a little steam as it utilizes a boring, ascending riff that finally brings in vocals around 6 minutes. Unfortunately, the lead singer sounds a bit bored, and adding in layered vocals doesn't help. Real excitement doesn't really appear until deep into the track as things intensify a bit more both in the vocals and the instrumental fills.

After some lack-luster sound effects, "Bremen" kicks in with a Rush-like guitar riff, starting and stopping to build anticipation for something better, but this doesn't really materialize as the music can't carry the excitement, then the sleepy vocals start again. McCarthy is trying to get a bit of a gruff sound as he sings, but it just ends up sounding tired instead of energetic, and the music tries, but can't quite carry the excitement that they seem to want to convey. After that, the synth tries to liven up the party, but it is just too little, too late.

The style doesn't change too much in the other two tracks, the music just sounds tired. I understand the inclusion of an additional vocalist who actually sings behind the lead vocalist a lot, and that was probably to add a little bit of life to it all, but she is pushed to the back. Maybe they should let her sing out front more often to give things more life. This is especially important since the songs are driven a lot by the lyrics. Yes there are some progressive elements in there, but they almost sound worn out.

Some might find some interest in this music, but I can't get over the sleepy, or lackadaisical feel of the main vocalists delivery. The instrumentalists try to pull it off by throwing interesting riffs and solos, but the enthusiasm just isn't there. However, its not a complete wash here, there is some promise in the music from time to time, but you would think with the experience the founders of the band have had that they would have a much better effort here. The sound of this album just doesn't give me the desire to investigate the band any further. 3 stars.

 We Are Now by C SIDES album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.18 | 9 ratings

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We Are Now
C Sides Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK band C SIDES, which are known as The C Sides Project these days, was formed back in 2007 by members with a past from many other bands, noted progressive rock band Magenta among them. They released their debut album "Devitrification" in 2011, and in 2017 their second studio album "We Are Now" was self-released by the band. Since then they have released a third album, "10 Days", under their revised moniker The C Sides Project.

This second album by UK band C Sides isn't among the more memorable of the albums I have listened to from 2017. Primarily melodic rock as I experience this album, and with some songs that for me comes across as somewhat odd in the manner in which they have been compiled. There are many fine moments and details to be found for those fond of the most accessible aspects of progressive rock, but as a whole I found the total album experience to be somewhat underwhelming. A possible key audience for me would be those who love and treasure late 80's and early 90's Wishbone Ash, and then especially those who do not mind the occasional bluesier and arguably more US sounding take on that specific sound.

 10 Days by C SIDES album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.87 | 42 ratings

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10 Days
C Sides Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars This is the third album C-Sides, who apparently have gone through a slight name change. Originally formed by three ex-members of the mighty Magenta, it still features Martin Rosser (guitar, backing vocals) and Allan Mason-James (drums), while singer/bassist Allen McCarthy has been there since the debut. But only one year on from the last album and there have been other changes, with Sian Elson joining as co-lead singer with Allen, and new keyboard player in Kevin Dawson. With male and female vocals now at the forefront, the band has a different sound than previously, so of course the only way to announce their presence is with a full-blown concept album, complete with narration (provided by Molly Elson). This is based on the ten days Nellie Bly, an American reporter in the late 1800's, spent in the asylum for the insane on Blackwell Island. There are eleven songs in total, one for each of the days with the last being "On Reflection".

Overall the album is a delight, with a very modern sound which is light and unpretentious, yet also with plenty of nods back to bands like Genesis and Yes, while also bringing in Magenta, IQ, Big Big Train and Galahad. The music twists and moves, and one is never sure if the acoustic guitars are going to take central stage, whether it will be rocking along, or if it will be something more melodic. There is even slide guitar! A special mention must be made of the production, which is simply superb. The resonance coming from the acoustic is quite astonishing and should be held up as a way of doing things. Allen McCarthy and Sian Elson's vocals work incredibly well together, both melodic and fluid, yet the different ranges allows for additional depth and emotion to be portrayed. Punchy, dramatic, full of life and vigour, this is a superb album which delivers more each and every time I listen to it.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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