Dateline: November 2005
FEATURE SPOTLIGHT CD - NOVEMBER 2005
THE SYN - SYNDESTRUCTIBLE (2005)
By Mark Stephens
One of those rare reunion projects that surpasses the original!
SYNDESTRUCTIBLE is a MUST LISTEN CD for ALL Art-Rock fans (not just Yes-fans!)!
Chris Squire reunites with Stephen Nardelli to finally deliver their long awaited debut album of new songs titled "Syndestructible" If you don't already know all about the legendary story of THE SYN's musical adventures in the 1960's, and how they influenced the future development of Prog Rock as we now know it... immediately proceed to http://www.synmusic.net! (Do not pass "go". Do not collect $200!!)
Program your CD player to read Syndestructible’s first 3 tracks as a single twelve-minute-long song. Track One (Breaking Down Walls) immediately absolves the listener of any lingering doubts as to whether Chris Squire’s vocals will play a prominent role. Of course they will!! Some of Chris’ best vocal work since Fish Out of Water is on this disc!
The Prog-Rock landscape is littered with no shortage of "Jon Anderson-ites". Scores of “almost but not quite tenors" strain to attain that angelic, elfish yet ethereal rhaspy tone that only Jon Anderson can truly deliver. Nardelli avoids this trap entirely, unapologetically and uncompromisingly bringing his own character and vocal tone to THE SYN. (After all, he sang and harmonized in this band with Chris before Yes even existed!) New listeners may slightly bristle at first, but, oddly enough, once Stephen’s vocal character is established, a serendipitously uncontrived Yes-like sensibility emerges! That having been said, the songwriting, instrumentation, and vocal harmonies are more restrained than one would expect to hear from Yes. No other band sounds quite like THE SYN!
The CD’s “single” Cathedral of Love is finally given the 8:38 art-rock arrangement and jam it deserves. Every track is a certified winner, with the possible exception of the curiously delivered “Golden Age”. Imagine Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones doing art-rock – yet somewhow pulling it off convincingly well!! Even the weakest tune on this album sparkles!
Syndestructible clocks in at a little less than an hour, which is part of its beauty. When the final track (another masterpiece titled “The Promise”) re-visits the "Breaking Down Walls" passage from Track One, it is still fresh enough in our mind's ear for each track of the album to coalesce into a meanginful and singular musical statement... a hallmark indication of a truly great album!
From songwriting to arrangements, and vocals and instrumentation, everything on Syndestructible is sublimely understated, creating a uniquely disarming and sensitive brand of art-rock music.
(Obligatory prog-purist warning: Although this music is intelligent, catchy, and creative, if your prog music must have lots of odd time signatures, virtuosic extended jam solos, and dissonant strands of challenging harmony, this disc may *not* be for you.)
Gerard Johnson and Oasis brothers Paul and Jeremy Stacy round out the 2005 lineup of THE SYN.
1. Breaking Down Walls
2. Some Time, Some Way
3. Reach Outro
4. Cathedral Of Love
5. City Of Dreams
6. Golden Age
7. The Promise