From the moment you hear the mid-tempo running sound of the drums, synths, and the vocals of “Nowhere to run/the world will find you/six degrees of separation from you/I’m not moving until the sun shines on me.” You get the feeling that someone is watching you and you are on the run from the wolves of prey and hiding from them until the sun is up to make sure that the coast is clear on the title track. It’s quite interesting and a new direction from the realm of Canterbury’s own Syd Arthur.
This is their fourth release on the Harvest Records label and while it is a diverse album, they still carry the progressive touch throughout their music. I’ve been a big champion of Syd Arthur’s music since 2012 when I read about them in an issue of Prog Magazine and bought their second album, On and On. And the rest is history. They have supported acts including Paul Weller of The Jam, Sean Lennon’s band The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger, and Yes.
They have been very busy lately during those few years to be the headlining act with such amazing bands/artists for those three including performing at SXSW (South By Southwest) and Coachella. You can’t deny these guys. There is absolutely no way in hell you can’t deny them. They are damn good. When I listened to their new album entitled, Apricity, I was nearly in tears from the moment I put the CD on.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s a diverse album and while they want to keep the Progressive and Psychedelic touch, it has an early 1980s vibe to their music and I absolutely love what I’m hearing. There’s also a different line-up in the band. Fred Rother left the band as the Magill’s brother, Josh takes over Fred’s duty on the drums. Syd Arthur for me, is not just a band, it’s more like a family unit that keeps the wheels going for the end of time.
Coal Mine starts with a fade-in awakening between keyboards and epic guitars. Enter in the acoustic/electric melodies and deep into the jazz-like rhythm with a dancing groove along with the violin. It’s a futuristic kicker and with melodic guitar lines/rhodes, you are the bird flying away into the sea and bringing some kind of treasure and knowing that what the world has become, is not what you think.
Plane Crash in Kansas is back into the mind of their second album. It feels as if it’s a continuation of First Difference. With some ‘60s organ, guitars, and incredible drum work by Josh as the rising beats get into some touches like something straight out of the John Hughes films in the 1980s from The Breakfast Club with No Peace. The afterlife can be an emotional turn as it tugs your heart with another rising rhythm from the drums, guitars, vocals, and synths as lyrical touches hit you inside to space and the sacrifices we make.
“I’ll meet you on the other side/said it’s gonna be alright/brother don’t you cry said it’s gonna be right/I’ll meet you on the other side said it’s gonna be alright/there is a trap door to my heart.” You can’t write amazing lyrics like that with a journey into the afterlife of outer space for the Sun Rays. The ominous yet eerie ambient noise grows into an alarming yet mourning tone as you head Into Eternity.
Keyboards and Guitar handle the melodic warmth as your life is looking forward as you are on the top of the mountain to see the sun in all of it’s glory and knowing the next chapter is ready for you. The music nails it down to know your future is ready for you looking out. Rebel Lands is another mid-tempo beat. Swarming guitar introduction and drums set to the tempo of another dystopian atmosphere of a young man who’s from a troubled time and witnessing what is happening right now in his country.
He wants to get away from it and start a new life by travelling and focusing on not making this mistake and knowing it’s going to be okay. Syd Arthur takes you into the militant drums, oceanic waltzes, and taking you into the distant places thanks to the acoustical folk-like rhythm before kicking into a driving beat for the Seraphim. It’s very classical thanks to the string-like keyboards setting this aqua adventure.
The thumping beats keep on growing and growing. Here on the instrumental, Portal, the synths reminisce at times of Devo’s late ‘70s/early ‘80s style of the Post-Rock and Psych approach to take you on another journey to where you never seen before in your lifetime while Evolution draws into a heartbeat bass drum effect and echoing reverb effects of the vocals. With eerie hopes for love and sorrow, it still grabs more and more for swirling guitars to come flying in.
Dark, somber, art, and psych, Syd Arthur show there is no sign of stopping and the sound is essential and emotional. This here is another follow-up that needs some more recognition and deserves my stamp of approval that they have come a long, long way. Get ready for another journey with the band and hold on tight for Apricity.