A wonderful group, the members of Syd Arthur named the band after two of their major influences; Syd Barret of Pink Floyd and Arthur Lee of Love and this shines through in their music. Everybody has influences, and in musical terms these are two of the finest.
Formed in Canterbury, Kent, in 2003 by the brothers Liam and Joe Magill, the band soon added Fred Rother on drums and completing the line-up was one Raven Bush on violin, son of John Calder Bush, brother of Kate.
Gigging regularly in the south of England they released their self titled debut in 2006 and have since released “On an On” in 2012, and then “Sound Mirror” in 2014. Each album has been a significant step further along their musical journey and they have kept their growing group of fans happy by releasing several EP’s along the way.
Now we have “Apricity”, released in 2016 and the largest leap forward between albums. Sadly, after more than twelve years together, Fred Rother had to vacate the drum stool due to tinnitus, so filling the void on this album and keeping it in the family was Josh Magill. A very good job he does too, not missing a beat.
It is very hard to describe Syd Arthur’s sound except to say it’s very good. It’s psych-pop-rock with elements of jazz and although many of the songs are plaintive, some by contrast are very cheerful. There are influences of British progressive goup Van der Graf Generator plus some of Dave Gilmour’s solo material, all given the Syd Arthur’s positive stamp.
The album opens up with the title track, introducing us to Liam Magill’s hypnotic vocals and with the band following him strongly. It’s awash with keyboards, subtle but vibrant violin, militant drumming from newest family member Josh and pumping bass lines from Joe Magill.
Once you’re settled into the Syd Arthur sound, the band break off to deal with diverse topics such as happiness, sorrow, evolution, coal mining, science fiction, and the dangers of the sun, with the positive and negative emotions being doled out in equal portions. Perhaps listening a little bit too much to Nick Drake?
The music never fails to deliver the songs subject matter, although that can at times make it a little difficult to follow. The song “Seraphim”, however, serves up everything that is good in Syd Arthur lyrically and musically and I feel sure is destined to become a classic.
This marvelous band have been flying just under the musical radar for more than a decade but I’m sure that 2018 will see them get much more recognition. The world needs a new Pink Floyd.
Album Rating: 5 Stars
Liam Magill – guitar & lead vocals
Joe Magill – bass guitar
Josh Magill – drums
Raven Bush – violin
Plane Crash in Kansas
Note: Written By Mott The Dog, who can be found at Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.