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THE SYN

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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The Syn picture
The Syn biography
Active from 1965 to 1967, without issuing any record - Reformed around Steve Nardelli in 2004

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.

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

3.47 | 46 ratings
Syndestructible
2005
3.24 | 8 ratings
Armistice Day
2007
3.26 | 15 ratings
Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right
2009
3.53 | 30 ratings
Trustworks
2016

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

3.83 | 6 ratings
Live Rosfest
2015

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

3.63 | 7 ratings
Syndestructible Tour 2006 (DVD)
2006

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Original Syn
2004
2.24 | 7 ratings
Original Syn 1965-2004
2005

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Created By Clive/Grounded
1967
2.00 | 1 ratings
Flowerman / 14 Hour Technicolour Dream
1967
1.00 | 1 ratings
Cathedral Of Love
2005

THE SYN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Armistice Day by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Armistice Day
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Heart of the Matter

3 stars The opener sounds maybe too overly pop to be considered a strong start, but still, it has a nice piano interlude and good vocals (let alone the bass playing). "Silent Revolution" gains in atmosphere, incorporating a jazzy vibe in the rhythm section and the guitar. In "Cathedral Of Love" the band shifts down a gear, when (to be honest) it should have went up. Vocals are still fine, nevertheless. "21st Century" starts with a promising acoustic guitar strumming, but the vocal melody is too generic to increase the amperimeter's reading, so, still flatlining, basically. And the show goes on, with some good ideas and melodies, but never fulfilling the White-Squire promise.

Good if coming from a generic band, poor in the shadow of giants.

 Syndestructible by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.47 | 46 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Squire Jaco

3 stars I feel a bit like a traitor. Sorry Chris.

I could quickly rip off the names of twenty or so master bass players (from McCartney to Wooten) for whose playing I have always had a deep appreciation. None of them have ever thrilled me as consistently or deeply as Chris Squire. For me, his playing has always possessed the greatest combination of tone, speed, melody, creativity and personality of any bass player before or since. So it pains me to write a less-than-gushing review of a cd on which he participated.

Mind you, this "reunion" cd of The Syn (really only Squire and Steve Nardelli from the original group) doesn't sound like a bad idea in theory. ("Let's see what the great Master Squire and company were doing before Yes!") But I'm afraid that classic Yes fans and true progressive rock followers will be disappointed. There's nothing really offensive here, but it's not going to satisfy the typical progger. This is more like medium-heavy pop rock with some progressive tendencies - e.g. melodic bass lines (of course), some keyboards, and longer songs. It's a little bit closer to Rabin-era Yes perhaps, but with the everyman vocals of an oftentimes tired-sounding Nardelli. Again, like the music, his vocals are not bad; they just don't do much for me.

What really had me skipping to the next song in places, though, were the lyrics. Too often they became repetitive, superficial and cliche. Maybe that's in the original spirit of the The Syn from 40 years ago, I don't know. (It doesn't work for me.) Despite my disappointment, there are some redeeming moments on this cd. I like the way it begins with the a cappella "Breaking Down Walls" (which is heard later on in the last track too); "Some Time, Some Way"; and some of the faster instrumental sections of "Cathedral of Love" and "The Promise".

If you like your prog a bit less virtuosic and challenging, you might find this cd enjoyable. (Many reviewers apparently already have!) But if you like 1971-77 Yes (or practically ANY prog group from that era, really), there is nothing here that you will miss. Non-essential for progressive music lovers.

 Syndestructible by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.47 | 46 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars To say that that The Syn is space rock seems is far fetched, I think. This has very little to do with psychedelic or space kind of rock. I do not know how they sounded back in the 60's but this is, sort of, now and not 1967. On the other hand I would definately say that this is highly competent, enjoyable and intriguing pop-prog in the sophisticated end of the stick. I would probably go for cross-over, on the basis of this album.

Chris Squire needs no introduction. His precense is evident due to the rumbling bass lines. That is a very endearing piece of the puzzle named The Syn. I come to think of bands like 10CC when hearing the some of the harmonies (as in "Reach outro"), Supertramp in the fine mannered approach to prog and pop. There are also traces of the rock music of Fleetwood Mac, I think. If one combines all these elements I think you will get a somewhat clear view of what the band sounds like.

Every song is very well crafted and leaves a sombre, mellow taste in the musical pallet. There are no huge outbursts of haard rock or anything in the manner of, say, Yes. Instead it is polished and pensive. Very emotional and beuatiful.

I came across this album in 2006 or something and I have been coming back ever since. It is not very complex but brilliant in it's seemingly accessible and easy-going attitude. I don't mean "easy- going" as in jolly, more in the sense that the musicians obviously are so talented that the music came to them easy enough. "Cathedral of love" is good example of The Syn's effort. A chorus- laden, little BIG song. It seems immense, now listening and reviewing. It is, literally, like standing in a cathedral, staring up into the dome and being showered with the blessing of Music. It is very impressive, actually. Another one of these great tracks is "Golden age", where Squire's rumbling really comes to the fore. I believe this is the song I have listened to the most. It is a very driven song, with a great pace and energetic flow.

You can't really pick out a song that is superior to the other in structure or manner of construction. Every song bears the experience and competence of it's makers. And still I find myself thinking that the album moght not be all that exciting and bold as I perhaps seem to make it. After all, the songs are similar to each other. I could have wished for more variation and tone. I mean, this is brilliant. These songs are not by some amateur, these are all professionals. Obviously it's great but I think one has to look at the entire picture to fully enjoy the scenery and I find myself less intrigued the longer it goes on. I do think that the album holds some truly amazing moments, I just wish something would bring me out of the hypnosis and back to life.

In conclusion I think that this is a good album, showing both a vigor and a vibrant tone but it fails to fully engulf me. Three stars.

 Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.26 | 15 ratings

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Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right
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

 Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.26 | 15 ratings

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Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right
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.

 Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.26 | 15 ratings

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Big Sky - A Chance To Get It Right
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.
 Original Syn 1965-2004 by SYN, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
2.24 | 7 ratings

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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.

 Syndestructible by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.47 | 46 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.

 Syndestructible Tour 2006 (DVD) by SYN, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.63 | 7 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.

 Syndestructible by SYN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.47 | 46 ratings

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Syndestructible
The Syn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions 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!

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

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