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SOLSTICE

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Solstice picture
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 hia...
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SOLSTICE discography


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

3.50 | 62 ratings
Silent Dance
1984
3.34 | 51 ratings
New Life
1992
2.93 | 36 ratings
Circles
1997
3.62 | 48 ratings
Spirit
2010
4.20 | 75 ratings
Prophecy
2013
3.86 | 38 ratings
Sia
2020
4.03 | 36 ratings
Light Up
2022

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

3.84 | 12 ratings
The Cropredy Set
2002
4.10 | 10 ratings
Kindred Spirits
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sia Live
2021
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Veruno
2022
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The Stables
2023

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

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

4.24 | 8 ratings
Pathways
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Beginners Guide to Solstice
2023

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

SOLSTICE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live At The Stables by SOLSTICE album cover Live, 2023
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live At The Stables
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars On September 2nd, 2023, Solstice sold out the iconic venue built by jazz legends Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine in 1970, something they view as a career highlight. The night was recorded and is now available as a full concert film (plus photo gallery) or as audio, and it is this which I am now playing. The band are the same as the previous two studio albums, namely founder Andy Glass (guitar), Jess Holland (vocals), Jenny Newman (fiddle), Peter Hemsley (drums), Robin Phillips (bass), Steven McDaniel (keyboards) plus two additional singers in Ebony Buckle and Gwen Taylor. Apart from the three singers, this line-up has been together for some years, having released 'Spirit' in 2010.

It is now 40 years since 'Silent Dance' came out, although I must admit to not hearing it until 10 years later, after I had already reviewed 'New Life'. Solstice are included on ProgArchives as Neo due to where they have come from, but if they were up for inclusion now I can see there being a battle with Crossover, as the band has in many ways moved from what they were and created a sound quite unlike any others in the scene. The fiddle has always been an important part of the music, and Jenny knows when to take the lead or when to take a break, the keyboards are often a backdrop as opposed to a driving force, while the same can be said for Andy who is more than happy to take a back seat at times, riffing hard at others. The whole band is designed to keep the female vocals front and centre, bringing in prog, pop, rock, folk and other influences to produce a highly polished performance. Jess is a real find, being a real performer as well as singer, and having two others with her to provide vocal harmonies in a live setting allows for more passion and depth.

We have been fortunate enough to have two studio albums, from the same line-up no less (which is somewhat unusual for the band) and given the way they are playing some high-profile gigs let us hope they have enough time to record another one soon. This is a wonderful demonstration of great prog from a band who for some strange reason have never really been given the acclaim they so richly deserve. If you are already a fan then I am sure this is in your collection, and if not then now is the time to investigate given the band have made this available free of charge so that even more can discover the great sounds of Solstice.

 Light Up by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 36 ratings

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Light Up
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Light Up is a fine album by the veteran Milton Keynes band and a great improvement over Sia, their last recorded effort. This is because the band have struck up a balance between the song's music and the impressive vocals of singer Jess Holland. A balance that I felt was missing last time around, in favor of showing off Holland's vocals at the expense of music that one could sink their teeth into.

That feeling returns on Light Up, with band leader and songwriter Andy Glass displaying his exiting touch of shredding guitar leads mixed with exquisite melodicism as only he can do. Fiddle player Jenny Newman is in more of a support role this time around as is keyboard player Steven McDaniel, but both add depth and layering to the songs that help convey dramatic moods and flights of fancy. Pete Hemsley and Robin Phillips, on drums and bass respectively, are still far from my favorite rhythm section in prog but they do rise to the occasion this time around. Especially on the near Motown rhythms of "Wongle. No. 9", an R&B like gem with good old fashioned call and response vocals from Miss Jess. An album highlight, as is the optimistic opening title track and the Glass guitar tour de force of album closer "Bulbul Tarang", which is a type of Indian stringed instrument heard at the beginning of the song. "Run" and "Home" are excellent prog workouts with lyrics that focus on the beauty of home and are the bands celebration of it, be it "home" in whatever sense the listener conceives from the expressive music and vocals.

Solstice may be looked on as a second string 80's derived neo-prog band behind such heavy hitters like Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and the like, but that's down to musical short sided-ness, I'm afraid, because they really deserve to be on every neo-prog fan's playlist. 4 stars.

 Light Up by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 36 ratings

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Light Up
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the seventh studio album from Solstice (if you don't count the Cropredy Set, which was a live-in-the-studio runthrough of a set previously played live), and the second to feature Jess Holland on lead vocals. Andy Glass, of course, has been in the band since beginning; Robin Phillips, Pete Hemsley, Jenny Newman, and Steven McDaniel round out the group in roles they've held since 2010's Spirit.

Next to Sia, this is pretty much business as usual for Solstice; whether that's a good thing depends on how much you enjoy their usual business. For those who want their prog rock to be raucous, highly complex, and very intricate, it may come across as sleepy and simplistic, but for my part I quite like their placid combination of a New Age sense of wonder and tranquility, prog musicianship, and just enough folk to glue the two halves of their sound together. As with Sia, it's another release from a long-serving band who haven't been all that prolific (they've put out seven albums in some 40 years or so), but are at least consistent.

 Sia by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 38 ratings

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Sia
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solstice have never been inclined to hurry when it comes to putting out studio albums, emitting them in little fits and starts here and there rather than keeping up a steady, consistent pace. Having taken a seven year break from studio albums after Prophecy, in 2020 they returned with Sia, their first release on Giant Electric Pea.

It's perhaps appropriate that Solstice should have found a home there, given that the label was founded by their old Marquee-era mates in IQ, and with a followup (Light Up) following some three years later and not one but two live albums also emerging since they joined the GEP fold, there's some reason to hope that this is kicking off a late-career rebirth for Andy Glass's neo-prog unit.

Certainly, things are freshened up a bit here with a new lead vocalist in the form of Jess Holland, replacing the capable Emma Brown who'd been singing lead since the Circles album. Holland doesn't represent a radical departure from the approach Emma took, any more than Emma was all that radically different from Sandy Leigh - Solstice lead vocalists have always had performances which sat at the borderline between laid-back singing and New Agey chanting, with a lot of influence from Jon Anderson of Yes. That's just kind of what the songs are composed to support, and Holland takes to it quite adeptly. (If you really want to compare and contrast, Cheyenne 2020 is a bonus track of this line-up tackling a number originally sung by Sandy Leigh.)

Holland replacing Brown is the only line-up change - the instrumentalists are the same team who brought us Spirit and Prophecy. This is perhaps beneficial; in earlier phases Solstice had a bit of a churn of personnel (Andy Glass is the only person still with the band who played on their debut album, after all), but now that the instrumentalists have been working together for over a decade they've really had a chance to gel.

The material here sits in that special realm which Solstice have made their own - relaxing, laid-back, peaceful music which nonetheless has enough structural complexity and instrumental flair to give progheads something to chew on. That sort of combination of New Age calm and prog intricacy is hard to pull off; Yes touched on it in a few of their quieter moments, as did Mike Oldfield, but I think the only group I can think of who really managed to strike this sort of balance was Jade Warrior.

That isn't to say things are always soporific - appropriately enough given their titles, Shout and Stand Up both have their more rambunctious moments. Nonetheless, the emphasis here is very much on continuing and evolving the New Age/neo-prog mashup that Solstice are so good at, with an infusion of folk here and there to help the two sides blend. Jenny Newman's violin is key to this, whilst Andy Glass's delicate touch on acoustic guitar is of course also a key ingredient.

On the whole, this didn't blow me away like Prophecy did, but I do think it's a solid new chapter in Solstice's gradually continuing story.

 Light Up by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 36 ratings

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Light Up
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars There are some enchanting videos available, where you have the possibility to follow them, while they are recording some of this songs in the studio. The title track for example. It's worth it to have a search. There you can get a valuable impression what concentration was necessary, but also how much fun they had in the same way. Very enlightening. SOLISTICE are more or less headed by guitarist Andy Glass. Relatively new to the fold though, since the predecessor album 'Sia', lead singer Jess Holland turns out to be a new face of the band. Light up and get up, the six new songs are provided with much melody and proper dance appeal. The lead and backing female vocal arrangements are a special strength, always delivering a warm and charming atmosphere.

Exquisite songwriting throughout. Every track given here bears a special flair, and let's say tension. What probably may sound rather innocent in the first place evolves to a thriving experience sooner or later. At some point the initiating title track Light Up sees Jenny Newman and Jess Holland taking off the violin respectively acoustic guitar. Now immediately some deep folk feel is coming up. Wongle No. 9 then is showcasing the funky rhythm section comprised of Robin Phillips (bass) and Pete Hemsley (drums). Mount Ephraim initially transfers us to a party taking place in an Irish Pub or so. Delivered by Andy Glass several inspired and crystal clear sounding guitar solos are putting the cherry on the cake. If you will have the possibility to see them live on the stage soon, lucky you!

 Light Up by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.03 | 36 ratings

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Light Up
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I'm not really sure what there is left to say about one of our most iconic and unique progressive rock bands, as for more than 40 years they have been following their own path, guided as always by guitarist Andy Glass. It is strange to think that new album 'Light Up' is following on very quickly from 'Sia", and with the same line-up, both of which are unusual for Solstice. However, the line-up has been stable for quite some time with only singer Jess Holland not appearing on 2013's 'Prophecy'. The artwork is again by Shaun Blake who painted 'Sia', and it makes sense to have the same person involved as in many ways this is a continuation of that album, except here with even more of a concentration on the vocals. Musically there is much on here which could be thought of as prog folk as opposed to the neo tag they are often given, with a depth of thought and complex arrangements which contain a great deal of space within.

A violin has always been a keen element of their sound, but here it is used sparingly so that when it comes in it has even more dramatic effect, while the same is also true of Andy's delicious guitar breaks. When he pushes himself to the fore it changes the direction and momentum of the music, while the rhythm section keeps it tight and allows him room to move. The keyboards are often quite simplistic in comparison, allowing the others to weave the melodies while they often operate as a backdrop. It is nice to see that the album is a "proper" length, i.e. it will fit on one side of TDK-90 tape (if they are still made). Back in the "old days", 45 minutes was seen as an optimal length for pressing purposes, but the advent of CDs allowed that time to move to 75 or more, meaning some bands overstretched themselves when judicious editing would have been useful, but here we have a distillation of all that is good and wonderful about Solstice. This is refined, enjoyable and pleasant music with a rougher edge when the time is right, always with the focus on the vocals.

I have been fortunate enough to have been sitting with this album for some time, and it really is delicious with wonderful arrangements which invite the listener inside to sit down and rest a while. It is one which repays repeated plays as the more one listens to it the more there is to discover with some gorgeously understated moments from all involved, all ensuring they are doing everything they can to put Jess front and centre. There has been a resurgence in activity from Solstice in recent years, who have also been making live albums available to their fans, and there is no excuse whatsoever for discovering the wonderful music of one of our finest bands. It will be released on January 13th through GEP.

 Sia by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.86 | 38 ratings

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Sia
Solstice Neo-Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars It's with a heavy heart that I write this review. Solstice is one of my favorite part time prog collectives and some of their past albums are stellar. Particularly the environmentally apocalyptic masterpiece that came out in 2013 titled Prophesy. That album sported doomsday lyrics fitted to some of the most emotionally charged music that has ever been put forward on such a gloomy subject, but the album ended on an optimistic high note lyrically, musically and spiritually.

What separates that album from this new one is the exit of singer Emma Brown, who is replaced by newcomer Jess Holland. Holland does possess a fine sounding instrument in her voice with a good vocal range that is always pitch perfect. But I'm afraid that the band's songwriter and guitarist Andy Glass got a bit too smitten with Holland's vocal abilities. This resulted in songs with numerous over dubbed backing vocals by Holland, but I'm afraid was done at the expense of the music. Missing are the the counter melodies of Jenny Newman's violin and of Glass's impeccable guitar solos. I'm not sure what prompted this extreme interest in Holland's vocals for this album as the departed Emma Brown was a fantastic singer in her own right. What also drives the music down is the band focusing on funky R&B styled bass and drum grooves for the mini epics "Shout", "Stand Up" and "Seven Dreams".The rhythmic duo of Pete Hemsley on drums and Robin Philips on bass don't possess a sense of swing and sound way too stiff for this type of material. Keyboardist Steven McDaniel fairs better on electric piano and organ, but his roll is largely of support. Glass does breakout some smoldering lead guitar on the slow paced "Seven Dreams", showing that he can still mesmerize as well as showing what's missing in the other songs.

The more folky acoustic guitar numbers like "Long Gone" and the first half of "A New Day", while showing off Holland's over dubbed vocal charms, sound like something from an early seventies Crosby, Stills and Nash album. Provided that they had a female lead. It's alright in its place, but this type of laid-back folk rock with idyllic hippie sentiments sounds far too outdated for the 21st Century.

I've always liked what Andy Glass and company have done, but I hope they bring back their majestic gloom and doom prog. They're better at it.

 Prophecy by SOLSTICE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.20 | 75 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
4.20 | 75 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
3.86 | 38 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.

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

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