Source: Peter Mcguiness, Pedro-TV.com...MAKING MUSIC VISUAL since 1975
Review: The Syn ~ Big Sky
September 2009, New York –1 BIG SKY...ok all cards on table with opener, a stirring up tempo number with Dorie Jackson's haunting back vox, Steve's husky vox, Brislin brilliant on whistling synth, Francis strumming like a monster...catchy chorus "can you hear
me?, I'm calling"...theme is basically "embrace the big sky"...dare to live your dreams...uplifting, strong melody. A winner...sweet, dreamy coda..."open your eyes to the big sky"..."I won't give up if you don't give up"....
2...DEVILS AND DEMONS...nice vibey, rootsy opening which suits Steve's low key register, kinda urban electric folk...."and my heart is beating like a big bass drum" cue 3 big bass drum beats...hahahaha...simply brilliant...now it's a bit of a "f*ck you" track as Steve says nay to the naysayers....nice change of dynamics...elastic bass..."I'll keep
searching for the days of wonder".......great song with strong chorus. Florid catholic imagery...more of this…
3 NEW REALITY....ok, standout track, spookily treated percussion and keys, spidery guitar, questing lyrics...suddenly we're in film noir territory (great spooky, treated back vox by Francis)...kinda Bowie meets the blue nile...very euro feel, sophisticated, understated... "got to find a solution, got to find a way"....strong melody, synths...suspense keeps building...very synth led with understated guitar...Steve's vox warm and heartfelt...and then breakout chorus, "are you standing in the garden of Eden?"...wow...very cinematic moment and total rush and totally unexpected
mood from the band…dark, suspenseful, and modern.
4 UNIVERSAL WITNESS again acoustic, rootsy opener that kicks in with hilarious back vox as if suggs from madness has stormed into the studio (I imagine it's Francis droppin his aitches---East London style ??!!!) strong ripper of track, imagine madness meets the moody blues...strong florid catholic metaphors abound, blood, rust, rivers, angels, saints, devils, demons......nice change of dynamics...Steve continues to sing simple strong melodies, very heartfelt......"if you're not afraid to lose, you will never fail"..."head full of scorpions" (nice line, small poisonous thoughts)...
5 KINGS,CLOWNS,CARDINALS ...rootsy acoustic opening...again...suits Steve's husky voice...another FU song, "people comin' at me ,secret sarcasm"...basically he's saying he'll go his own sweet way....nice keys again from Brislin. Brilliant...takin swipe at web critics but maybe also at deeper authority figures...though it could be all a hall of mirrors/metaphors...nice electric piano…Dorie's sweet back vox...great track...again dreamy interlude till "shine on, shine on" section...great change of dynamics, mood...Dunnery, take a bow. Great production...horns, excellent drummin, bass...my lord, these rocks.
6. MILO hhahaahhahhaha MILO down under is a chocolate malt drink so giggles aside, tis wonderful Beatlesque track/feel....simple strong melody simply arranged to deliver message of a special child and after so many
angels, demons, kings, cardinals, milkmen. It's nice to see Steve write a song about a specific person, an ode as it were...very heartfelt, great melody...Noel Gallagher dreams about Liam being able to write such ballads for the last 3rd of OASIS albums...Steve should sub contract...."let the bells ring"...very English, very Sgt. Pepperish.
7 RUNNING OUT OF TIME wooo, someone's given Francis some angry pills...rockin' toon, monster strumming with poised counterpoint...could be track of the album...great back vox...a warning song delivered with URGENCY repeated
lyrics..."there is a bigger sky"...time for renewal....incandescent lead guitar, squalling but not overlong, again folky acoustic, great shifting dynamics, "something’s gotta give" great shuffling section… "Like winds across the prairies, like smokin cigarettes"....time for action.
8 MADONNA AND CHILD just lovely, a song of refuge and renewal...again Gallagher, Martin, Ashcroft would kill to write this ballad...a chorus you can take to the bank...these are just great simple melodies simply arranged to
deliver their message, no noodling, quasi Floydian head trips...just great timeless songs...another personal song with specific locations, Steve's house...George Martin + numerous associated saints up in heaven would be diggin'
this right now...very cool English melodic rock that only the blasted poms can do...it ain't fair.
9 THE REASON piano led intro...great tender Beatleseque melody, layered vocals, splashy drums --all to serve the chorus "love is the reason we're alive, love is the reason we survive" nice key change into "I'm calling" repetition of lyric and then a nice heartfelt lyric "I'm falling down and I don't even know where I am"...nice...honest...back to chorus, no sentimental bullshit, just back to the uplifting chorus...sweet finale (last third of album chock full of quality ballads...)
10...BIG SKY REPRISE some synth stuff. (Not enough churchbell!)
ok washup---pleasantly surprised by the more rootsier, introspective vibe---great production of layered back vox, Tom always tasteful on keys and Francis just audacious and funny with back vox/arrangements/guitar...nice repetition of
certain phrases throughout CD...uplifting messages/nice turn of phrase ("head full of scorpions"?---do we owe this to someone or is it original ?)...Steve has to be admired for his determination plus simple strong melodic songs, simple as that...if I can sing snatches of them as I work and commute and shop and stand at taxi ranks, anyone can....would love to see THE SYN on jools Holland and especially givin' it the full welly at the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL (Sydney) sometime soon.