Dateline: Summer 2007

Source: Music Web Express

On the net: 2007 Summer Spotlight

UMBRELLO - The news in the rock world is that Chris Squire departed The SYN at the end of 2006. The SYN — the psych-pop band formed by Squire and Steve Nardelli in ‘65 and disbanded when Squire formed YES in 1969—staged a brilliant comeback CD, Syndestructible, at the end of 2005.

2007’s seven cut CD, Armistice Day debuts a classic rock title track fueled by catchy hooks and utopian lyrics of world peace. The CD is further fleshed out with live 2006 XM radio versions of tracks from Syndestructible that feature key contributions from YES drumming legend Alan White and guitarist Shane Theriot. The Syndestructible covers are interesting, near unplugged versions with White’s tasteful drumming offset by Theriot’s acoustic guitar and acoustic piano from Gerard Johnson. Armistice Day may signal the end of the 2005 revival with Squire and Nardelli, so here’s wishing them both much success in the future.

Over in the U.K. the multitalented singer/songwriter Steve Nardelli has launched his Umbrello Records roster with some mighty impressive CD releases including Dreamer by N.J. based Anton Roolaart. With his vocals very much in the spirit of late period Pink Floyd, Peter Hammill and even label boss Steve Nardelli in The SYN, Roolaart proves to be more than an adept singer songwriter and guitarist. Joined with an excellent band—including drummer Rich Berends of the group Mastermind—Roolaart conjures up a sumptuous palate of symphonic rock textures, heralding the era of when the prog-rock pioneers like Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant ruled the earth.

Another intriguing CD on Umbrello comes from guitarist Kurt Michaels. Michaels follows the 2004 release of Inner Worlds with his 2007 CD Outer Worlds. Taken from a series of 2006 live show where Michaels opened for the Umbrello supergroup The SYN, the 75+ minute Outer Worlds features Michaels performing his fourth dimensional, dreamlike guitar instrumentals. Although Michaels cites John McLaughlin and Miles Davis as his early influences, Outer Worlds sounds inspired by the otherworldly soundscapes of early Tangerine Dream combined with the atmospheric guitar looping of Robert Fripp. From the cover art down to the up close and personal sound of the CD, there’s an air of authenticity to Michaels’ guitar sound.


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