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SOLSTICE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Solstice biography
Founded in Milton Keynes, UK in 1980 - Stil active as of 2020

Formed in 1980, English band SOLSTICE is first and foremost the band project of Andy Glass (guitar), the only musician participating on all the band's productions and the main composer for the band in it's various guises.

Apart from recording the demo cassette "The Peace Tape" Glass and his companions didn't produce any recordings in their first years of existence; concentrating on playing live in these early years. Come 1983 and the band had already seen vocalists Sue Robinson and Shelly Patt come and go, and when they hit the studio it was with a line-up consisting of Glass, Marc Elton (violin, keyboards), Mark Hawkins (bass), Martin Wright (drums) and Sandy Leigh (vocals). The result of the studio time was issued as "Silent Dance" in 1984. The band started breaking apart shortly after this release though, as Leigh and Hawkins left. Barbara Deason (vocals) and Ken Bowley (bass) replaced them, but by 1985 the band effectively broke up, with a one-off comeback for a charity event in 1986 the initial swansong for this outfit.

6 years later a real comeback took place though, Glass and Elton were the sole remaining members from the formative years now, this time joined by Heidi Kemp (vocals), Craig Sutherland (bass) and Pete Hemsley (drums). 1993 saw this line-up issue a CD aptly named "New Life".

More line-up changes followed following this release though, and the next time the band hit the recording studio Kemp and Hemsley were gone, replaced by Emma Brown (vocals) and Clive Bunker (drums, formerly of JETHRO TULL, PENTANGLE, GORDON GILTRAP). The end result this time around was a production named "Circles", issued in 1997.

Shortly after this release more line-up changes were afoot however. Sutherland left, and Elton had to give up playing live due to a hearing ailment. New musicians in were Jenny Newman (violin), Steve McDaniels (keyboards) and Rob Phillips (bass).

In 1998 this version of the band hit the Cropredy Festival, and equipment was set up to capture this live show, planned to be released as a live album shortly after. It turned out that the sound quality of these recordings weren't the best though, so the band opted to record a live in the studio version of the concert instead, eventually released as "The Cropredy Set" in 2002.

The pause between recordings and release was at least partially the result of the band yet again entering h...
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SOLSTICE discography


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

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

3.50 | 58 ratings
Silent Dance
1984
3.33 | 49 ratings
New Life
1992
2.93 | 35 ratings
Circles
1997
3.62 | 45 ratings
Spirit
2010
4.17 | 65 ratings
Prophecy
2013
3.94 | 25 ratings
Sia
2020
0.00 | 0 ratings
Light Up
2022

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

3.83 | 11 ratings
The Cropredy Set
2002
4.00 | 10 ratings
Kindred Spirits
2011

SOLSTICE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.18 | 8 ratings
Pathways
1998

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

SOLSTICE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 65 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Andy Glass' Prog Folk project that he started in the 1980s finds new heights in this, his 21st Century incarnation of the band.

1. "Eyes Of Fire" (8:52) beautiful atmospheric keys with distant aboriginal chants open this before acoustic guitar plays arpeggi to get us ready for the gorgeous voice of lead singer Emma Brown. The vocal weave that slowly builds around Emma's lead is even more gorgeous. At 6:00 electric guitar begins a loud, slow solo which kind disrupts the Eden-like mood previously established. What is the band (Andy Glass) trying to say with this? Rock drums and bass join in as Andy wails plaintively, effectively emotional. Piano gets the next solo to finish gently. Beautiful. (19/20)

2. "Keepers of the Truth" (8:14) organ and strummed guitar are joined by "fiddle" and female vocals in a folk rock sound palette. Kind of a standard, dated song style, melody and sound. I do appreciate the less-is-more treatment of the tracks--everything is recorded in a kind of analog-sounding way rather digitally "perfected." Another surprisingly forward electric guitar solo begins at the three-minute mark and continues for 90 seconds before giving way to Herbie Hancock-like synth. Nothing very new or refreshing here--unless you're nostalgic for a 1970s hippie fest--like something from MANTRA VEGA or MOSTLY AUTUMN. (13/15) 3. "Warriors" (17:33) interesting polyphonic weave is slowly established before full prog rock walls of sound and Native American-sounding ulullating chants take over. Settling down into a more spacious weave Emma Brown enters singing in a kind of prayerful way with long, drawn out syllables, all. An instrumental section ensues with some nice soli from fiddle and electric guitar while rhythm section maintains its rather simple and straightforward (kind of boring--especially the bass) foundation. A bit of an Allman Brothers feel in the jam during the twelfth minute before everything stops and switches direction, establishing a slower, more folk spiritual style (that sounds a lot like some of the whole-troup chorus vocals from the musical Godspell or else from the ensemble cast of Polyphonic Spree or some other Southern white gospel choir). Multiple tracks are devoted to Andy's wailing electric guitars as they solo above, beneath, and within the choral vocals. Despite all the prolonged themes of the three sections filling these seventeen minutes, the song ends faster than expected. (30.5/35)

4. "West Wind" (11:05) soloing steel-string acoustic guitar over gently wafting synth washes and, later, beautiful Fender Rhodes play open this song for the first 2:15 before Emma enters singing in a gentle, soothing voice. Lovely and hypnotic. The lyrics seem to convey a naturistic message that is more associated with Celtic Prog musical traditions--which is, interestingly, fully borne out when Celtic instruments, organ, and then, heavy guitar and violin riffing join in. The vocals turn choral as the tension in the music builds. Now we're definitely in the Folk Rock territory pioneered by bands like Curved Air, Iona, Jethro Tull, and even the Strawbs. The power of the instrumentalists is matched and mixed quite perfectly with that of the choir. Andy Glass' searing guitar is supported quite nicely by the work of fiddler Jenny Newman and keyboardist Steve McDaniel. At 9:30 the tension is broken and we return to the dreamy Fender Rhodes-supported vocal section as in the opening. Great song! (18.5/20)

5. "Blackwater" (10:52) low electric guitar arpeggi establish a portentous, even ominous mood before joined by fiddle and drums. The drums are quite showy for the first 90 seconds before the rest of the band is welcomed into the mix. A somewhat Middle Eastern melodic theme is introduced--which then morphs into a kind of Hendrix- familiar motif by Andy's wailing electric guitar, but then he quickly gives it up for a kind of weave like a Celtic reel. The Hendrix motif returns in the fifth minute before giving way to a piano-based motif over which Emma eventually sings in a powerful, aggressive almost Annie Wilson way. Powerful. This is not what I was expecting from Solstice, but it really works! I am truly impressed with the versatility of Ms. Brown. At 7:05 the tempo slows as Emma switches to the long-drawn syllable approach to her delivery (as in the first part of "Warriors"). Man is she effective with this approach! And the band's weave in support is absolutely perfect! So powerful! And emotional! The smooth jazzy piano in the tenth minute is just icing on the cake as Emma soothes and comforts us with some soft background words repeated within the weave of electric guitar chords and fiddle play. Piano carries forward Emma's final melody line to the finish. Wow! I am moved! My final top three song on an album of very powerful music. (19.25/20)

- Bonus tracks (Steven Wilson re-masters): 6. Find Yourself (6:15) 7. Return of Spring (7:24) 8. Earthsong (6:32)

Total time 77:18

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music--and a real treat for any lover of Prog Folk music.

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 65 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars There is no doubt that one of the most important progressive bands to come out of the scene in the 80's was Solstice, but due to multiple reasons they never really managed to maintain the consistency of membership to allow them to be able to build their reputation as they should. However, with the release of the excellent 'Sia' in 2020 they are finally getting the recognition from a wider base than they have previously enjoyed. 'Prophecy' was the album which preceded that one, only seven years earlier, and this was the first time they had released two studio recordings within three years of each other and the only time that consecutive albums featured the same line-up. Even though the album itself is more than 50 minutes long, comprising five songs, this CD also features three tracks taken from 1984's debut, 'Silent Dance', which have been remixed by Steven Wilson.

Guitarist Andy Glass is the mainstay of the band, ensuring that the musical legacy and style is maintained, which means the line-up always has two distinct features, namely a female singer and a violinist, one of the very few prog bands in the scene to have one as a permanent member. This means the line-up for the first five songs has Andy joined by Emma Brown (vocals), Steve McDaniel (keyboards, vocals), Jenny Newman (violin), Robin Phillips (bass) and Pete Hemsley (drums) (interestingly, 'Sia' was released some seven years after this one but the only change was to the singer with the introduction of Jess Holland), while the last three has him joined by Sandy Leigh (vocals), Marc Elton (violin, vocals), Mark Hawkins (bass) and Martin Wright (drums).

Solstice will always be viewed as a neo-prog outfit, but there are also huge elements of pastoral and symphonic prog as well, which means there are times when they appear to be influenced by Camel, others by Yes, a little Gentle Giant here, some Kansas there, all wrapped up in their distinctive sound which makes them so appealing. Andy's guitar often provides cut through, giving us an edge, which allows the softer elements to be even more so, ensuring we never get too laid back but instead are fully engaged. There is a great deal going on in this recording, with wonderfully complex layers which build, taking the listener on a journey. The music can be driving, rocky and with passion, and in "Warriors" we find a sudden shift into symphonic with keyboards, guitar, and violin as one and Emma wailing over the top. This is the longest track on the album and is the one I would point towards to demonstrate just what Solstice are so good at as it keeps changing yet there is a continuity within, so it is easy to follow the path.

With the publicity and rich critical acclaim for 'Sia' one can only hope that progheads will look back further into the catalogue to understand more about one of the UK's more enjoyable prog bands, and this is a great place to start.

 Sia by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.94 | 25 ratings

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Sia
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Surely here is a band who need no introduction whatsoever, as when it came to prog in the Eighties these were one of THE bands. I was really late to the party, not hearing 1984's 'Silent Dance' until it was reissued by Progressive Records in 1991, and immediately fell in love with both that and the next album, 'New Life'. Solstice built up a huge following in the live scene in the UK, but they never really had the stability and release schedule for them to establish themselves on a wider basis, and I am sure there are many of us who wish the breaks had gone their way as they always deserved to be much bigger. Their last album prior to this one was 2013's 'Prophecy', and apart from new singer Jess Holland, this features the same line-up of Andy Glass (guitar, vocals), Jenny Newman (violin), Pete Hemsley (drums), Robin Phillips (bass) and Steven McDaniel (keyboards, vocals). Solstice have always been a band who have used female lead vocals and violin, something which has always made them stand out from others in the scene, and on this album, they have moved at times into a folkier side.

Songs such as "Long Gone" are simply beautiful, with the concentration on Jess's beautiful vocals and Andy's acoustic guitar, with some delicate accordion-style keyboards. When Jenny's violin comes in over the top of the harmonies, it adds a touch of beauty which takes this to a whole new level. The album starts with one of its most overtly progressive tracks in "Shout", where the layered keyboards and violin fool us as we jump into something which is quite funky in some respects, allowing a groove to build right from the beginning. This has always been Andy's band, but he acts more as an arranger than a diva, only bringing himself forward when it is right for the music, yet he can more often be found in the background. This is the longest song on the album, at more than 10 minutes, yet it passes by incredibly quickly as the listener is drawn into some wonderfully melodic music.

Jess's vocals are pure and clear, Jenny has the wonderfully folky style one expects from someone who has developed her style in that sphere, adapting it to prog but never moving too far away from the roots, then Andy adds in his pieces when the time is right and together the trio provide the melody, with keyboards often in a support role, as are the rhythm section. However, one needs to pay close attention to Pete, Robert, and Steven, as they are often laying down complex lines and rhythms which the listener may not always pick up on.

The whole album is a delight, and it is something of a surprise to find they have revisited a track from their debut all those years ago. Back then Andy was accompanied by Sandy Leigh, Marc Elton, Mark Hawkins and Martin Wright, and while I must admit I am not always a fan of bands going back to music they had previously released, this has been given a totally fresh lease of life some 36 years on from when it was originally recorded. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the album and brought a smile to the face of old proggers like me. I see Solstice are touring heavily in the UK, and as I don't think they will ever make it down to Aotearoa, let's hope we get another album from them soon.

 Sia by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.94 | 25 ratings

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Sia
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars Sixth album from Solstice (Sia is Gaelic for six) with their brand new vocalist Jess Holland, who brings his pleasant, folk-tinged tone aboard. The general sound of the band is, however, more complex and textured than that, setting a prog & fusion sonic scenary where the guitars generally take the lead with excellent taste & strength, and the violin imprints a decisive stylistic signature, fortunately avoiding the common places & cliches already established for this instrument in prog by the likes of Darryl Way and David Cross, for example.

The most properly progressive material is on the opening (Shout) and closing (A New Day) track to be found:

The first is an epic featuring prog-fusion start and great violin touches in the vein of Jean-Luc Ponty, followed by sections mainly based on angular riffs and tasty solos by the electric guitarist. The harmony and rhythmic signature are anything but obvious, providing for a pleasant prog experience.

The last begins with nice acoustic guitar strumming and builds momentum on the addition of an orchestral arrangement and beautiful violin melody. The overall sound is classically symphonic, with tons of good taste in the final electric solo. Renaissance comes to mind.

The bonus (Cheyenne) is a reworking of an early classic taken from their first album, Silent Dance, and makes a fine addition to this great album.

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 65 ratings

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Prophecy
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Prophecy is a special album in the Solstice discography for two reasons. The first reason it is their first album to be recorded with the exact same lineup that produced their previous studio album. (Indeed, it's almost but not quite the same lineup as produced their previous two albums, since The Cropredy Set - a live-in-the-studio affair rather than a true live album - was recorded with an almost-identical group of musicians except Pete Hemsley wasn't on drums, Clive Bunker was.)

The other reason? Why, simply that this is the best album Solstice have produced to date. Set aside the three bonus tracks - remixes from Silent Dance by Steven Wilson - because whilst those are decent, at the same time there's only so much even Steven can do to rectify the issues arising from the somewhat unsympathetic production job which Silent Dance suffered from. Concentrate instead on the five-song cycle that constitutes this album, and drink in the gorgeous production job which really teases out the subtleties of the band's work. With stronger than usual compositions, the band may well have produced their magnum opus here.

 Spirit by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 45 ratings

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Spirit
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solstice returned to studio action in 2010 with a lineup almost identical to that which had recorded The Cropredy Set - the swansong of their 1990s incarnation - save that Clive Bunker had departed the drum kit and was replaced by Pete Hemsley, who'd previously held the drummer's spot on the New Life. Far from allowing their sound to stand still, Solstice update themselves here - we're still talking a mellow New Age school of neo-prog here (or perhaps a mellow neo-prog school of New Age music at times), but with greater and more effective use of samples and more modern keyboard options.

On top of that, the production this time really seems to support Solstice's sound better than ever, with the end result being a chill, relaxing album which certainly hits the spot if you are in the mood for a taste of summer festivals. Jenny Newman, whose violin work on The Cropredy Set was a real eye-opening aspect of that release, trades lead soloist duty with Andy Glass capably, Emma Brown continues to hold down the vocals as she has since Circles, and by and large taking a decade or so of time off seems to have done the band a world of good.

 The Cropredy Set by SOLSTICE album cover Live, 2002
3.83 | 11 ratings

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The Cropredy Set
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though released in 2002, Solstice's The Cropredy Set actually hails from 1998. It's sort of a live-in-the-studio release: the band had performed at Fairport Convention's Cropredy festival, but it quickly became evident that the recordings they'd made of the performance were entirely unusable. Luckily, they were able to get themselves some studio time the next day to essentially recreate the set in the studio, with this album being the result of that.

In doing so, Solstice seem to have overcome the difficulties that their previous studio albums had suffered when it came to capturing their live sound; evidently past albums (Silent Dance especially) had been victims of the band and their producers just plain overthinking the matter, when a live-in-the-studio approach actually suits their style rather well.

The upshot is that the Cropredy Set might well be the best place to start exploring Solstice, especially in their 1990s incarnation; you get some picks from each of Silent Dance, New Life, and Circles, plus Awakening - the title track from Clive Bunker's solo album of the same name, which Solstice leader Andy Glass had provided guitar duties on - and the non-album track Ducks On the Pond, a traditional song turned into an Ozric Tentacles-do-dub reggae backing for new violinist Jenny Newman to really show off her stuff over.

Newman, indeed, is the exciting new edition to the lineup. On past Solstice albums Marc Elton's violin performances had been an important feature of the band's sound. Sadly, Elton had to bow out of the band after the completion of Circles, due to tinnitus rendering him incapable of performing live - a serious problem for a band so focused on live performance as Solstice. Newman is his incoming replacement and is an absolute delight on here, with her contributions establishing her as an important contributor to the band's sound and a worthy musical partner to Glass. (Between this and Solstice's next recordings, Andy Glass would largely focus on collaborations with Newman in their 3Sticks project.)

As far as the rest of the lineup goes, naturally band leader Andy Glass is here to provide guitar, and much of the Circles gang are still here too - Clive Bunker's on drums (hence the cut from his solo album), and Emma Brown remains on vocals. Steve McDaniel takes over the keyboard spot which Marc Elton had previously been handling in addition to his violin duties, whilst Robin Phillips joins on bass.

In what would be for Solstice a stunning level of stability, this is more or less the same lineup that would produce Spirit and Prophecy, the band's two studio albums of the 2010s, the only difference being Phil Hemsley (who had provided drums on New Life) rejoining the group to replace the outgoing Clive Bunker. The Cropredy Set, then, is not only a very solid collection of Solstice songs, but also a chance to hear (most of) the future lineup of the band gelling in the studio for the first time.

 Circles by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.93 | 35 ratings

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Circles
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solstice's third album finds the lineup tweaked again - Jethro Tull veteran Clive Bunker's joined on drums and Emma Brown is the new lead vocalist. The long-serving Marc Elton is still here on violin, and has some powerful moments, but sadly this would be his last recording with the group - due to tinnitus he had to quit live performance, and he gave up his spot in the band after this album was completed.

Circles scales back the role of keyboards compared to New Day, so that the vocals, Elton's violin, and most particularly Andy Glass' guitar work can take centre stage; in this way Glass is revealed as a guitarist after the fashion of, and at his best on a part with, Andy Latimer of Camel.

Aside from the keyboards the album is largely in the style that Solstice album past have made us accustomed to, with a standout departure being the title track. This commemorates the Battle of the Beanfield - the confrontation between New Age Travellers (repeatedly scapegoated by the Tory government of the era) and gung-ho police which erupted into appalling violence and put an end to the annual Stonehenge Free Festival in 1985.

No official inquiry into the matter ever occurred, but a police officer was found guilty of criminal Actual Bodily Harm and the police were successfully sued by some of the travellers involved. The overall effect of the event was to herald a crackdown on the New Age Traveller lifestyle which had become inextricably linked to the free festival scene - with the result that such festivals became a thing of the past. (Religious neopagan ceremonies would not be allowed at Stonehenge for over a decade, until finally in the authorities relented; even then, these gatherings have been of a strictly religious character and not included the sort of freewheeling musical festival that veterans fondly remember and mourn the loss of.)

This would have been a matter dear to Solstice's hearts; the free festival scene had been the band's spiritual home for much of their 1980s run, and the coincidence of the band splitting in the very same year as the Battle certainly feels oddly fitting. That the 1990s incarnation of the band would mark the occasion with a song is only fitting. It's perhaps one of Solstice's darker moments, interspersed with reconstructed sounds and news reports from the incident; in this context, the band's spiritually-oriented style might seem a bit incongruous, but personally I consider the way the music keeps going in their accustomed style and the vocals stridently insist on the right to assembly and religious worship and celebration is actually quite apt, striking a note of defiance in the face of difficult circumstances.

And if the story of Solstice is not one of triumph against difficult circumstances, I don't know what it is...

 New Life by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.33 | 49 ratings

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New Life
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After their original 1980s incarnation broke up in 1985 (with a brief reunion in 1986), Solstice hibernated and re- emerged in the 1990s with this album. Returning from the 1980s version of the band are Marc Elton on violin and keyboards and, naturally, guitarist and band leader Andy Glass; Heidi Kemp very capably steps into the vocalist spot and the new rhythm section of Craig Sunderland and Pete Hemsley round out the revived group.

The biggest breath of fresh air, however, has to be the production. Silent Dance, the sole studio album from the 1980s version of the group, had always been hampered somewhat by a production job which didn't feel like a good fit for the band's music. The production here, whilst perhaps being at times more reminiscent of a New Age ambient album than a prog release, offers greater clarity to the overall benefit of the album. Elton's keyboards and Glass's guitar work, in particular, end up the star players here; Marillion's Steve Rothery has gone on the record as appreciating Andy Glass's style but feeling that Silent Dance didn't really capture him at his best, and here you can get a better appreciation of just what Steve saw in Andy's work.

The compositions here don't quite feel as powerful as those on Silent Dance, but the improved sonic clarity compensates for this nicely, and I'd say that this album is worth a listen for anyone who wants to dig a little deeper into Solstice's peace sign-waving, good-natured spiritual neo-prog.

 Silent Dance by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.50 | 58 ratings

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Silent Dance
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Those who remember those days tell me that back when the new wave of British prog was in full swing in the early- to-mid 1980s, the top of the hierarchy was generally considered to be Marillion, Pallas, Twelfth Night, and Solstice. (Now-legendary names like IQ or Pendragon occupied a more secondary tier - perhaps headlining sometimes, but stepping back to take a support role when one of the bigger names was playing.)

Of these four, three would go on to sign major label contracts and make a shot for the big time. Marillion, out of all the pack, can be said to have truly made the most of this opportunity - most prog fans already know their history. Pallas and Twelfth Night's major label releases, on the other hand, sank like a stone - and the accepted wisdom is that this was due in part to attempts to make their sound more poppy and commercial. Certainly, Twelfth Night's self-titled album on Virgin is regarded as a bit simplistic compared to the dark depths of Fact and Fiction, whilst the original release of Pallas' The Sentinel was fumbled due to scrambling the intended running order of the Atlantis Suite, carving out great chunks of it and replacing them with poppier standalone tracks.

Solstice, on the other hand, stood apart from all this, being the only one of the Big Four of the era who never signed to a major label - and never intended to. This, perhaps, arises in part from their different ethos; while they were Marquee regulars and warmly embraced by the audience there, their hearts were really in the free festival scene of the era which also formed a home for the likes of Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles.

The original lineup of Solstice would break up in 1985 and the band would go on hiatus for some years after that, and whilst by all reports this was entirely down to internal tensions within the group, at the same time there's a certain aptness to this: under assault from a government hostile to it, the free festival scene would find its activities increasingly curtailed as the 1980s ground on, with the 1985 "Battle of the Beanfield" at Stonehenge proving an ugly turning point.

We can be glad, then, that before they split the good-natured hippies of Solstice produced this lone album, in which band leader Andy Glass' subtle guitar, Marc Elton's soaring violin, and the Jon Anderson-meets-Annie Haslam vocals of Sandy Leigh combine to present an intriguingly unique sound in the early neo-prog scene. True to Leigh's singing style, I sense strong hints of Renaissance's folk-classical blend and Yes' spirituality in this music, with perhaps a little influence from other folk-prog bands like Jethro Tull (especially from the Songs From the Wood period).

Previous editions of Silent Dance have suffered a little from a production job which, to my ears, isn't quite suited to teasing out the prog complexities of the material, but the Definitive Edition (which includes a number of bonus tracks offering a real feast of 1980s Solstice) does a good job of cleaning things up. It's not a perfect album - Cheyenne, whilst it unquestionably has good intentions, seems awfully keen on taking up the cause of Native Americans without showing much evidence that the band had actually consulted with representatives of the community or really looked into the issue beyond typical New Age "let's cosplay as Native Americans and borrow their culture" stuff of the sort which was rife at the time, but despite these aspects it's still a very pretty number. And when the album really works there's a sense of majesty to it which is uniquely Solstice.

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

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