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SYD ARTHUR

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Syd Arthur biography
This band hails from the UK mainly the South East ( London, Canterbury & Brighton)in 2005 and comprise of the following band members:

Liam Magill - Guitars, Lead Vocal
Joel Magill - Bass, Percussion
Raven Bush - Mandolin, Percussion
Fred Rother - Drums

Syd Arthur are to quote the Dawn Chorus Record Company, devotees of sound, in a way which has become all too rare in this culture over the last three decades, patiently evolving their own sonic environments with a clarity of intent and a spirit of exploration.

The music that these four individuals come together to create sounds so unlike anything else around at the moment that it is genuinely worthy of the adjective -unique. While the spirit of their music has something in common with the more adventurous psychedelic and progressive sounds of the past, Syd Arthur are able to draw on a much more extensive musical palette. The result is what you might expect of musicians who have grown up in a post-everything world with WOMAD festivals and the world musical output at their fingertips. This ethos is also reflected in the studio, where they have been combining the art of traditional analogue recording with a contemporary digital approach.

Far from reaching this stage overnight, Syd Arthur have spent the last five years patiently honing their craft. During this time they have built up a strong following of admirers across the UK and other parts of Europe, who have been eagerly awaiting released material with a degree of urgency.

Their new single Ode To The Summer is released as an EP on the 31st October 2011

Syd Arthur official website

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Sound MirrorSound Mirror
Harvest 2014
Audio CD$7.23
$2.78 (used)
On An OnOn An On
Harvest 2013
Audio CD$5.83
$3.66 (used)
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Harvest 2013
Vinyl$16.21
$20.35 (used)
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Audio CD$22.71
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Carpuzi Records 2001
Audio CD$19.99 (used)
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SYD ARTHUR discography


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

SYD ARTHUR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 46 ratings
On An On
2012
3.70 | 37 ratings
Sound Mirror
2014

SYD ARTHUR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SYD ARTHUR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Remixes by The Amorphous Androgynous
2014

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

3.33 | 3 ratings
Willow Tree
2010
4.87 | 4 ratings
Ode To The Summer
2011
4.63 | 8 ratings
Moving World
2011

SYD ARTHUR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sound Mirror by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 37 ratings

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Sound Mirror
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

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 should be considered prog. Well, they are quite new thinking so why not!

They come from the South East of London and has released three singles and now two studio albums. "Sound mirror" from 2014 is their second one. It has an easy-foreseeable length and a notable cover picture of what I think is a huge concrete foundation. The line up is the vocalist and guitarist Liam Magill, the vilinist, mandolinist and keyboardist Raven Bush, the bassist and vocalist Joel Magill and the drummer and percussionist Fred Rother.

I was rather disappointed from the beginnign when I heard this sounded like some form of alternative rock or indie rock or something. I am not especially familiar with these genres but I have heard similar things at random occations on the radio or at small scenes at bars and I have felt uncomfortable about its squeaky exclamations. Well let's just say I am not into that modern stuff. With that said I could nevertheless say that this is the best of that genre I have heard!!

Syd Arthur (great name) plays very skillfully and it's easy to hear the acoustic feeling, the variety of instruments and inspiration. "Sound Mirror" contains very melodic music and they are not bombastic. That is I guess the similarity people have found with this band and the band I like. The half of these songs are good or more than good and the rest are less interesting. "Garden of time" (7/10) is a pleasant starter which contains both things to love and things I can't help doubt in. The album's best track though is the instrumental "Singularity" which also must be considered the most progressive track here(8/10). That is the only track I don't hesitate to listen to at all. But through a majority of the songs I hear a lot of musicality such as on "Autograph"(6/10) a nice little pop song and "Backwardstepping" and "Chariots"(both 6/10). Least interesting are the three tracks 4-6 in the middle which I have very hard to appreciate(4/10). There it's just not my musical world I guess.

My rating ends at 2.75 which becomes a three star rating. It is good and well performed music which also is quite unique. But it doesn't appeal to me as much as other prog music uses to.

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 Sound Mirror by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 37 ratings

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Sound Mirror
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

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 through...in 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.

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 Sound Mirror by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 37 ratings

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Sound Mirror
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

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.

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 Sound Mirror by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.70 | 37 ratings

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Sound Mirror
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by freyacat

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 and rhythms underneath all of the distortion. I decided to go down to the concession stand and buy a copy of the album.

Am I ever glad I did! "Sound Mirror" is a delicious album of Psychedelic Rock / Canterbury Prog that satisfies on every level.

The sonic textures achieved here are splendid, creating a mysterious sonic space where instruments blend into each other, vocals echo off into the darkness, and one feels as if the 70's have arrived again in the best possible way.

I heard people compare Syd Arthur to Caravan, but I must admit, this is what I always hoped Caravan would sound like. Liam, the singer and guitarist, purrs like the lower range of Grace Slick. The arrangements remind one of Hatfield and the North, or Soft Machine's Third album. Lots of jazz melodies coupled with psychedelic noise bits and jamming. My favorite song is "Autograph," which has a melody I cannot get out of my head!

Other reviewers have remarked on the similarity of the songs in terms of chord structure and melody. I would instead say that the songs flow together perfectly. I can listen to this hypnotic album again and again, and I am usually a listener who gets bored easily.

One of my favorite elements of progressive rock music is poetic, spiritual lyrics. Syd Arthur delivers this for me in a way no band has done for years. Their abstract, impressionistic lyrics don't reveal easily what they are about, and yet you can get the overall sense of spiritual longing and exploration.

"Syd Arthur" after all, is a pun on "Siddhartha."

Syd Arthur deserved far better sound engineering at the Yes concert, but I am hoping that they will be headlining someday, and that I might see them again. They are a marvelous band and this album is something truly special!

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 On An On by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 46 ratings

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On An On
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Coming from Canterbury, claiming to play Progressive Rock and not having 70's local influences in your sound is pretty much impossible.Syd Arthur hail from Kent, led by four musicians, brothers Liam Magill (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, flute) and Joel Magill (bass, percussion, vocals) along with Raven Bush (mandolin, violin, percussion, piano, vocals) and drummer Fred Rother.They slowly built a cult fame directed by the release of no less than 3 EP's, ''Kingdoms of experience'' (2008), ''Willow tree'' (2010) and ''Moving world'' (2011), before they launched their first full-length album ''On and on'' during the summer of 2012.The album was recorded at Syd Arthur's Wicker Studios and released on their own Dawn Chorus label, handed in CD and a limited number of vinyl editions.

They sound quite close to ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS, developing short tracks with a dense musicianship, where Pop sensibilities finally find some space next to nervous, jazzy interludes of the Canterbury scool of Fusion.''On and on'' comes actually as a mix of Prog, Psychedelic Rock, Jazz, Pop and Blues, but the adventurous workouts of the classic Canterbury scene are more than any of Syd Arthur's other influences.CARAVAN is the most appropriate comparison for this modern group, which builds its sound on some cool electric piano, plenty of violin moves and a happy rhythm section.Even Liam Magill's vocals seem like coming from the 70's, while he occasionally throws in some nice guitar bits, but his best contribution appears to be the clever mandolin shades in the bulk of the album's tracks.The music rarely becomes powerful, but when it does some moments of prog majesty are waiting in the corner.These guys seem to be fond of elaborate, finesse-styled musical textures with a flexible Fusion palette and indeed the result is usually quirky with the impressive violin tricks and the sound of piano being complemented by some inventive electric textures and a touch of acoustic crescendos.Only attempt on a longer composition, the 8-min. ''Paradise lost'' sounds like an amalgam of CARAVAN's career with ethereal passages, jazzy textures, proggy twists and a Post Rock vibe during the ambiental sceneries.

The spirit of Canterbury Prog will never be lost with bands like these.Modern material with beautiful vintage acoustics of the local area, wrapped in a mix of Prog, Jazz and Pop.Recommended.

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 On An On by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 46 ratings

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On An On
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by JwixVonJwax

5 stars What a lovely and elegant blend of so many different genres! Most songs have a warm and estival feel to them which is made even more interesting with the heavy jazz chords played in the background. Syd Arthur were not only able to mix genres but they did it in a very catchy way. They didn't trade beauty for complexity, everything flows naturally.

"First Difference" is one my favorite tracks on the album. From the first few bars, you are immersed in this bright Canterbury prog mood while the sound remains modern and fresh.

"Edge of the Earth" is a cool track but I think it lacks the catchiness and impressive background details of other tracks.

"Ode to the Summer", what a fabulous track! It will please prog lovers and their grandmas alike. The verse is a syncopated 3/4 riff. The chorus is incredibly catchy and I particularly love the contrast between the catchy vocal lines and the jazz chords.

"Dorothy" is a mellower, slow paced song which heavily relies on guitar jazz chords. The chorus is extremely catchy as well where quite a good part of the orchestration relies on background vocals in harmony.

"Truth Seeker" is one of the songs I liked the least. I find it a bit chaotic. Although it calms down half way through it. Give it a listen, you might like it!

"Night Shaped Light" is an instrumental. One recurring theme is played on guitar and is somehow reminiscent of Tosin Abasi's playing. The main theme is driven by Raven Bush's violin. A great tune!

"Promise Me" is a bit dull in my humble opinion. I won't elaborate since I'm not a big fan.

"Black Wave" is a cool song. A bit darker than other songs on the album. Won't elaborate either.

"Moving World" is also darker than most songs on the album. I like how the chorus emerges from the verse in a cresendo fashion. It suits the lyrics pretty well. The chorus is very well orchestrated.

"Paradise Lost" brings us back to the brighter mood of earlier tracks in the album. It is also considerably longer than those tracks. It does a perfect closing piece in my opinion. It starts with heavy distorted guitar than moves to one of the main themes where each and every member of the band plays a considerable part. This part is probably the one that will keep you coming. After that, we have a more chaotic section which serves as a transition to a peaceful and spacey part where lyrics kick in. This spacey part evolves into an additional section which is more syncopated, reminds me of Gentle Giant and Spock's beard. The song ends with the main theme.

Overall, an excellent album from a very promising band. In my opinion, highlights are: First difference, Ode to the summer, Dorothy, Night shaped light and Paradise lost.

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 On An On by SYD ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 46 ratings

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On An On
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by obiter
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Welcome to a wonderful world which some of us may have thought was lost only to be re-visited through the vinyl recesses of our collections.

From the first bars of First Difference you are transported to and wrapped in the warm optimistic Canterbury Scene of yore. But you are in an altogether modern environment. This has a distinctly contemporary edge. There's an undercurrent of jazz.

Edge of the Earth was a song I'd already come across on youtube. My favourite, this has an impelling rhythm, an edge, but it is the effortless changes of mood, the unstrained vocal which has such an impact. Love the drums. This is a must listen to track.

Ode to Summer I've already reviewed as an EP. The same beautiful synthesis of vocal, violin, bass and drums. Love the bass.

Dorothy: (there's an EP with studio and live). A slow understated jazz with almost lazy vocal style that reminds me of Stina Nordenstam (not the pitch though!).

Truth Seeker has a harder edge. Not typical at the start but again the effortless shifts in mood and rhythm stamp an unmistakable Syd Arthur seal on the track. I suppose that is one of the striking things about this band. Having only listened to 3 EPs and this album their sound is instantly recognisable. Formulaic this isn't.

Night shaped light features a stronger violin part. Again the changes and tight bass + guitar runs. For me there is a bit much. I found the guitar sound too distorted and muddy at the end. But then again I'm pretty sure that's exactly what was being sought.

Promised Me has a similar mix. Again the guitar is muddier as the song drives on. Then there is a break, the quiet melody on a radio.

Black Wave returns to the cleaner more open sound. There is control and balance. One of my favourites.

For a second as Moving World started I thought Michael Buble was about to cut in. That jazzy undertone is to the fore. But there is a folk story telling, a prog shifting of timing and mood. One of my favourites.

Paradise Lost. This has it all. At one point we have a distorted slow heavy beat with bass Geezer might have played. How did we get here? It's like Sabbath! Then a total breakdown, an ethereal passage more reminiscent of spacerock before the clean guitar brings us back. The vocals return with a delayed echo. Then back into an up beat staccato passage. Then break to a smooth rolling. reminiscent of classic yes. Classic prog.

You know you're hooked when you've listened to an album a dozen or so times and yet when it ends you find yourself going "what? no more?" replay and search the web for a few new snippets.

Simply a must have. Many will wait eagerly for the next offering. The worry is in an X-factor world of pop pap it takes proggers to support bands as such as this.

No hesitation: must have.

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 Ode To The Summer by SYD ARTHUR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
4.87 | 4 ratings

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Ode To The Summer
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by obiter
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Me Bad.

How did I miss this band. Beautiful. Way beyond the normal pap we're getting. Even on the prog scene. There's a maturity and finish that beggars belief. I really have been more surprised by this band than any since Hidria Spacefolk and Amplifier.

Cultured, restrained but for me ... there is a characteristic Canterbury vocal.

My favourite song is edge of the earth can't find it on any album.

What we're getting at the moment seems to be the best of early compositions. I cannot recommend this band too highly. I simply cannot imagine how this material should not be in a prog collection.

Having said this, these offerings are short, these are not fully formed albums: a few tracks.

If you are into prog you MUST listen to this. This music is fresh. there's a pint of folk, yard of ale of Canterbury and a gill or two of cross over.

We have a choice with prog. We contemplate our navels and ruminate about the magic 70s or we wake up and keep our eyes open for the contemporary.

I reckon this is a wake up moment. I may be wrong but I prepared to recommend this to all. I reckon this is the real deal.

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 Moving World by SYD ARTHUR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
4.63 | 8 ratings

BUY
Moving World
Syd Arthur Crossover Prog

Review by obiter
Prog Reviewer

5 stars OK,

This is the Canterbury Scene band you've been waiting for (for 20 years). I know they're in in the sort of don't really get it cross over prog category.

For this is an amazing reinvigorating Canterbury renaissance. Absolutely brilliant. Hatfield and Caravan trumped and brought to the 2010s. Not only essential but nailed to the top of any Canterburian (and hence any respectable prog collection).

I've always associated the Canterbury Scene with a vocal style as much as instrumental.

Simply awesome. The best original Canterbury style I've heard.

Nearly all their material is available in sorts online. absolutely no excuse not to try it out.

You will be gobsmacked.

This as good as Amon Duul's Phallus Dei is bad.

And that's saying something.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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