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THE SYN

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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The Syn biography
The Syn was one of the first bands in the London early prog scene and its history is intimately related to YES' origin and therefore it was fundamental to the development of prog. Originally, the band was formed by school mates Steve Nardelli (lead vocals) and John Painter (guitar) around 1965, playing R&B covers.

The Syn was later joined by the members of a band called THE SELFS comprised by Chris Squire (bass), Andrew Jackman (keyboards) and Martyn Adelman (drums). Shortly afer, original guitarist Painter was replaced by Peter Banks and Martyn Adelman left to be replaced by Icelandic Gunnar Hákonarson behind the drums.

The addition of two new members changed the direction of the band. Instead of playing R&B covers they started to write their own psychedelic oriented pieces, releasing two singles (Created by Clive and Flowerman) in 1967 and becoming one of the first bands (if not the first) to perform a rock opera on stage. The band became a regular at the Marquee club in London and got to open for JIMI HENDRIX on one of his historic concerts.

In 1967 the band disbanded and Chris Squire together with Peter Banks left to form Mabel Greer's Toyshop which will later evolve into Yes' first incarnation.

In 2003, 36 years after disbanding the band, Adelman, Nardelli and Banks started to plan a reunion. In 2005 the lineup formed by Paul Stacey(guitars), Gerard Johnson (keyboards), Steve Nardelli (vocals),Jeremy Stacey (drums) and Chris Squire (bass, backing vocals) released the first studio album of the band "Syndestructible".

After the release an tour of "Syndestructible", Nardelli took over the THE SYN name and recruited Francis Dunnery (guitars) and Tom Brislin (keyboards), the last one having played with other classic prog acts such as Camel and Yes. This lineup released "Big Sky" in early 2009 with the collaboration of Brett Kull, Paul Ramsey and Dorie Jackson.

Studio Discography:
"Syndestructible" 2005
"Big Sky" 2009

The overall sound of "Syndestructible" will appeal to modern YES and Chris Squire fans, since the style is very reminiscent to recent YES (specially Rabin era) and CONSPIRACY. On the other hand "Big Sky" has moved to a more original sound but is still close to YES.

Highly recommended to Chris Squire and mellow prog fans.

Michael (AKA ProgressiveAttic)

The Syn official website

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Buy THE SYN Music


The Syn: Syndestructible Tour 2006The Syn: Syndestructible Tour 2006
Multiple Formats
Umbrello 2006
DVD$12.49
$11.64 (used)
Original SynOriginal Syn
Umbrello 2006
Audio CD$14.04
$10.95 (used)
SyndestructibleSyndestructible
Umbrello 2005
Audio CD$10.17
$3.75 (used)
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THE SYN shows & tickets


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THE SYN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE SYN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 32 ratings
Syndestructible
2005
3.19 | 10 ratings
Big Sky
2009

THE SYN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE SYN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.62 | 6 ratings
Syndestructible Tour 2006 (DVD)
2006

THE SYN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Original Syn
2004
2.17 | 7 ratings
The Syn, Original Syn 1965-2004
2005
3.25 | 4 ratings
Armistice Day
2007

THE SYN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Created By Clive/Grounded
1967
1.00 | 1 ratings
Flowerman / 14 Hour Technicolour Dream
1967
1.00 | 1 ratings
Cathedral Of Love
2005

THE SYN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Syndestructible  by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 32 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Syn: Syndestructible [2005]

Rating: 6/10

Although Syndestructible is technically The Syn's debut album, this group actually dates back to the 60s. Described as "a precursor of Yes", The Syn was one of Chris Squire's first bands. They played R&B and eventually became more and more psychedelic before their breakup in 1967. This album is the result of their reunion in the early 2000s. While it's obvious that these musicians have come a long way in forty years, Syndestructible strongly retains a 60s feel. I've always had a soft spot for "hippie prog", and this album is no exception. Although not nearly as musically fascinating as I hoped, this album is a wonderfully pleasant collection of songs that gives me an enormously good feeling whenever I listen to it.

After the brief a-cappella intro "Breaking Down Walls", "Some Time, Some Way" opens the album. This is a wonderful track, with groovy bass/drums backing up the ethereal guitar and Stephen Nardelli's warm vocals. "Reach Outro" continues directly from its predecessor, with spacey vocals and excellent bass work. "Cathedral of Love" continues with the warm vocals. The middle section of this song is the high point of the album. The electric guitar solo is sublime, and the fast-paced vocals sound fantastic. "City of Dreams" opens with some funky bass. This song is less psychedelic than the rest of the album. Generally, it has more of a rock feel. There are excellent sections here, even though it's not one of the best songs on the album. "Golden Age" actually has a bit of a country vibe to it. The main riff is solid, but the chorus doesn't do a whole lot for me, and the song is a bit overlong. This is the weakest track here. While the thirteen-minute closer "The Promise" has a bit of an overextended first half, it redeems itself with the groovy and psychedelic second half.

Overall, Syndestructible is a very warm and pleasant album. It's difficult not to have a bit of smile on your face while listening to this. However, some tracks (or perhaps sections of tracks) sound a bit dull to me. There are fantastic moments here, particularly "Cathedral of Love" and "Some Time, Some Way", but the album as a whole doesn't quite live up to these songs. The atmosphere on this album is wonderful, but it's not sufficiently backed up on a musical level. Don't get me wrong, though - this a great album that I would highly recommend to Chirs Squire fans and 60s-rock aficionados.

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 Big Sky by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 10 ratings

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Big Sky
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars More flower power

The history of The Syn is truly remarkable and full of surprises. Among Prog fans, the group is mostly known for featuring Chris Squire several years before he co-founded Yes and found much greater fame and success with that band. But The Syn are also known for a couple of local hit singles they had all the way back in the mid 60's. Despite never having had any substantial success in their original days and despite the fact that they never even released a full length album back then, they decided to reunite in the new millennium. This was the first surprise and I think this is a strong candidate for the most unlikely come-back ever to have materialized. It is doubtful that this would ever have happened had not Squire achieved such success elsewhere.

This reunion resulted in the band's first full length album, Syndestructible, in 2005, as well as a 2CD compilation called The Original Syn featuring material from the 60's including the group's original singles as well as demos, a new epic song and an interview. A tour followed that would result in a live concert DVD called Syndestructible Tour 2006 (that also features Yes drummer Alan White). Both the studio album and the DVD are very good and recommended to all Chris Squire fans. The compilation too holds some good moments (and some not-so-good ones).

After this Chris Squire left the band and everyone expected this to be the end of The Syn. But no, and this was the second surprise, singer Steve Nardelli has tasted success and was not willing to give up just yet. He replaced Squire with ex-It Bites leader Francis Dunnery and recorded Big Sky. He also recruited keyboard player Tom Brislin, known from his live work with Yes (Symphonic Live DVD) and Camel. Without Squire's distinctive bass guitar sound and equally distinctive backing vocals you might expect The Syn to fall rater flat, but Dunnery in not a bad replacement. As such there are traces here of the It Bites-sound (mostly in Dunnery's distinctive backing vocals) in the otherwise 60's-orientated sound. The sound is not fully retro though, but also not fully contemporary.

While no longer particularly progressive, Big Sky might appeal to fans of old-school, mellow symphonic Rock by the likes of The Moody Blues and perhaps Barclay James Harvest. The tempo is mostly slow and the mood is mellow but optimistic. The songs are driven by Nardelli's somewhat raspy vocals and there seems to be no room for Dunnery's expressive guitar solos (as we know them from It Bites) or Brislin's flashy keyboard work. Rather, the band is relegated to the background where they create a nice backdrop for the vocals and acoustic guitars.

The songs are well written and agreeable, but I fail to be impressed by any of them. Big Sky is a pleasant listen, but an underwhelming one; enjoyable, but hardly remarkable in any way. If you are looking to explore the band, I would strongly recommend to start with the much better Syndestructible album or with the live DVD I mentioned above.

Big Sky is good, but certainly not essential

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 Big Sky by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 10 ratings

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Big Sky
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Beautiful artwork, optimistic music, but unfortunately not Prog (well, there's another possibility, my ears are bad). I also would see this record more fitting in Crossover genre, it sounds like that. Nevermind, bands transcends genres very often (for a good of the thing).

One particular thing bugs my mind. Steve Nardelli, lead vocalist, sings in the same tone all the time. It's like he lacks more bass and high pitched directions, but actually, this is advantage here and this record gets nice, raspy feeling.

This album is very acoustic, humble and almost pastoral. However, this all changes when we're closing towards the end of album, where we get some keyboards soundscapes, more prominent bass work and even though that acoustic guitar is still prominent instrument (through all the album). Truly grower in literal meaning of this word.

4(-), what can I say.

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 Big Sky by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.19 | 10 ratings

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Big Sky
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by barp

4 stars Beautiful uplifting music. The addition of Francis Dunnery (ex It Bites) has brought the Syn's sound further into its own. Steve Nardelli's compositions manage to conjure up the optimism and innocence of early 70's prog whilst fully inhabiting the hi-tech recording systems of today. Echoes of early Yes still abound, but taken on to an individual sound of their own. Highly competent playing refreshingly kept at the service of the songs not preoccupied with using technique purely to impress. I would highly recommend this album to all those who enjoy early seventies prog - not really for those into the heavier rock accented side of prog. Four and half stars.

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 The Syn, Original Syn 1965-2004 by SYN, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
2.17 | 7 ratings

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The Syn, Original Syn 1965-2004
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

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.

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 Syndestructible  by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 32 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars For fans of Chris Squire this album is essential, having his stamp all over it. You can easily recognize his distinctive bass guitar sound and also his distinctive backing vocals. This new material sounds actually not really modern, but also not retro 60's, it sounds timeless, really! This could have been released in the 60's, the 70's, the 80's or the 90's without sounding out of place. However, the production values are truly modern.

The songs are all very good and this was the best new album by first generation proggers in a very long time (and since too).

It is incredible that Chris resurrected The Syn after so many years despite them never having had any real success back then.

Highly recommended for fans of early classic prog.

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 Syndestructible Tour 2006 (DVD) by SYN, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.62 | 6 ratings

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Syndestructible Tour 2006 (DVD)
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars For fans of Chris Squire this DVD is essential, having his stamp all over it. You can very easily recognize his distinctive bass guitar sound and also his distinctive backing vocals. This DVD features a very intimate performance by The Syn, Squire's pre-Yes band which also features another Yes-man - Alan White - on drums. The Syndestructible album is performed here in its entirety as well as some songs from the mid- 60's that were only released as singles back then. The new material sounds not modern, but also not 60's, it sounds timeless really!

This concert is lovely. Watching it is like being there. Squire tells jokes and a long anecdote from his time with the Syn in the 60's.

This might be nostalgia for some, but for most of us this is something brand new. It is incredible that Chris resurrected The Syn after so many years despite them never having had any real success back then.

Highly recommended for fans of Chris Squire and early classic prog in general.

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 Syndestructible  by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 32 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars Actually, 4/5 Stars

Well, thanks God, tere's still people like these guys, (and thanks for Chris Squire too), when this album came to me, i confess, i don't give too much for it. But... and I say but, i give a chance, c'mon have the touch of Chris!

2005 And this guys still doing the best of them to create music with energy, passion, melody and heart.

And the better part, it's not a typical case when people just 'copy' the 60's sound, there's a lot of refreshing sound here.

Vocals are soberb, Stephen Nardelli vocals are pretty good, and what can i say about bass lines? Is Chris don't? What more can i say?

One of the best surprises for me, together with Paradox Hotel by THE FLOWER KINGS.

One must have, sure!

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 Syndestructible  by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 32 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Cool and Relaxing

I have not heard that a band which was active 40 years ago reformed themselves into new outfit using the same name and newer music. The Syn was Chris Squire's band prior to Yes. The band was practically defunct after the first debut of Yes was released in 1969. I did not pay into attention on the first time when this band was reformed in 2005 with "Syndestructible" until sometime last year a friend of mine, Rizal informed me about the existence of the new album from a band of 1965. I was so curious about how the music would sound like having known the quality of Chris Squire - whom has been called as the grand pa of Rickenbacker bass guitar. I was actually not so explorative in terms of Chris's solo or the band before him - but for sure I do love his work with Yes.

Well, I don't want to dwell into all history kind of thing as you may find it easily through the net with the held of Dr Google. The main question remains: how would the music sound like? Would it be something close to Yes or Chris' own solo album "Fish Out of Water". The beginning track "Breaking Down Walls" (0:51) is very Yes "Magnification" style with a combined style of Chris "Fish Out of Water" solo album in an acapella version. It's quite relaxing intro followed with acoustic guitar work plus keyboard that brings us into next track "Some Time, Some Way" (7:56). The first impression about this song is something in the vein of Dire Straits music (similar to the style of "Brother In Arms" album). The music is so relaxing and enjoyable especially on its groove and rhythm section. There is basically nothing complex this album offers.

It's been quite sometime ago when I first spun the album. It did not really impress me at first spins of the album until quite sometime. It's not that the music was bad it's more on getting the "a-ha" experience from this album. In fact, in some occasion, I play the album through iPod while riding a bicycle to work or going back home. This morning, I spun it while I was riding a bicycle to the office. It's really quite relaxing and the music offers me a piece of mind so that it was able to keep in balance especially during the traffic jam.

It's so peaceful when "Reach Outro" (3:38) enters its intro with ambient keyboard, bass guitar and vocal. The song is basically an instrumental track with some chanting of "reach out" and it's cool. It also demonstrates Chris bass guitar work which serves as solo, instead of beat keeper. "Cathedral Of Love" (8:58) is a beautifully crafted song with nice melody and simple arrangement with some sort of string section. Well, I would say that you like this song as it cut across the whole spectrum of Chris Squire style, especially throughout his solo. Musically, there is an obvious style that is very close to Yes "Magnification" as well.

Almost songs in this album are crafted in similar style even though this does not mean that the album is boring. Even, I do enjoy this album when I spin it from start to end. This demonstrates that this album is successful in creating the music as a cohessive whole where the listeners will be instantly stimulated to have another spin of the CD. The only song that I think I feel "bored" is "The Golden Age" because I hate the beats that truly a very pop song.

This album is well produced and it does have good sonic quality. I would suggest you to play the msuic loud because there is basically no high register notes produced by the music. I do enjoy the mixing on guitar sounds as well as Chris' Rickenbacker bass guitar.

Overall, it's a very good album that I recommend to all of you who are exploring prog music to have this one. If you think that the music is quite simple, just treat it for a break after listening to complex music. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Syndestructible  by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.46 | 32 ratings

BUY
Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by iguana

3 stars this album is quite a disappointment. if i had reviewed it a few weeks earlier i might have only awarded it a ** but it has sat with me for a little longer now as i was eager to find something that i might enjoy. and - lo and behold - i did. "cathedral of love" is an excellent song, everyone's playing is consummate yet tastefully restrained and the whole idea of reforming a long forgotten band just for a laugh that has only ever existed as a footnote to YES really appealed to me.

however, there are also a few things that have obviously gone wrong. the entire album sounds awfully polished. i was probably expecting the wrong thing - a bold revisiting of the garage-y late-60's psych-style that SYN embraced during their first time around the block - but a lot of this sounds like latter-day YES, rabin-YES, conspiracy, world trade, you name it. calling themselves "prog modernists", this is rather the opposite. secondly, one can clearly hear that steve nardelli has not sung in a band for approaching 40 years. his husky baritone sounds awfully flat and to hear him struggle through the otherwise tepid "city of dreams" is a painful experience.

the true bonus of "syndestructible" is the gentleman, we have all come to see and hear anyway. chris squire's b-vox are as strong and resonant as ever (listen to his harmonizing throughout the album, especially the aforementioned "cathedral") and he still delivers the bass lines as only he can. but the fact, that he's only playing second fiddle is hard to stomach. chris squire is obviously still interested in progressing and moving on musically, but just why he keeps hiding behind these slightly inconsequential band projects is quite beyond me. how about a true solo album next time around, chris? if you need further convincement, read the reviews for "fish out of water" on this very site and anywhere else...

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