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Solstice - Circles CD (album) cover

CIRCLES

Solstice

 

Neo-Prog

2.86 | 28 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Solstice were back but not actually kickin', even if ''New life'' was a great comeback.Heidi Kemp appeared to leave the band at some point, while Marc Elton was unable to perform live due to suffering from tinnitus.Andy Glass found the replacement of Kemp in Emma Brown, a student and session singer, while at the same time he had built a good relationship with former Jethro Tull members Mick Abrahams and Clive Bunker, while producing an acoustic album for the first.Bunker agreed to join Solstice for the upcoming third album.He not only provided solid drumming, but his involvement led Solstice to find a new home on A New Day, a small label set by the eponymous Jethro Tull-related fanzine.Recorded at Audiolab in Buckingham, ''Circles'' originally came out in 1997.

Insisting on producing vinyl-length albums on CD, the new formation of Solstice seems to be pretty tight, but the music on ''Circles'' lacks a few of the incredible melodies and twists of the band's previous releases.New singer Emma Brown has a nice Annie Haslam-like voice, providing a RENAISSANCE/MAGENTA-related spark to the overall melodic music, which has still some pretty strong links with Folk, while Andy Glass' guitar work recalls now more of DAVID GILMOUR's slow guitar solos with a touch of STEVE ROTHERY in some passages.Despite his health problems, Elton is the reason the band is always rooted in old-styled British Folk, great solos and impressive runs are coming out of his violin strings.Compositionally Solstice retained much of their inspiration.The pieces are well-crafted with rich moments and fine soloing by the instrumentalists, but there is certain turn towards more accesible songwriting, which is not a bad thing as far as the music is good.Moreover the album is less keyboard-oriented than any of Solstice's back catalogue at that point with only some supporting colors here and there.Violin, guitars and ethereal female vocals prevail in ''Circles'', which sounds as the most RENAISSANCE-like effort of the band in terms of the atmosphere.

Full respect to a band, that fought hard for a number of reasons to get back on track.Even if ''Circles'' does not belong among Solstice's top albums, it's a fine work along the lines of Folk-influeneced modern Prog Rock.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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