Syd Arthur – Sound Mirror

The punk pogrom of late 1976 transformed the very idea of progressive rock into something pejorative, extinguishing a genre where creativity and musicianship were prized. However, in the past five years the notion of highly-crafted music has been resurrected, this time without the unpleasant whiff of patchouli. Canterbury’s Syd Arthur are prime exponents of what lazy hacks are bound to refer to as the ‘nu-prog’ explosion, as they draw on the rich legacy of the Soft Machine. Yet even this is a facile comparison. Opener Garden Of Time may move from its complex weaving guitar intro into an expansive post-psychedelic freak-out, but Sound Mirror is far more than an exercise in indulgence. The lilting, spacial Hometown Blues – a collaboration with Paul Weller – and the mystical lyricism of Backwardstepping reflect Syd Arthur’s ability to make music that sounds intimate, bold and thoroughly modern. Proof that ‘prog’ is no longer a four-letter word. Watch the video for Garden Of Time:

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