Exposé Online banner

Solstice — New Life
(PRO-017, 1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01

New Life Cover artThroughout their career, Solstice has consistently eschewed the commercial interests shared by most other bands of the 80's UK scene, favoring instead to concentrate on live performances and a very intimate relationship with their fan base. Through the years the band has continued gigging regularly and writing new material, but it wasn't until the unexpected success of the reissue of their first album on an independent label that they even considered doing a second. In the nine years since the first album, the lineup has changed considerably - although core members Andy Glass (guitars) and Marc Elton (violin, keyboards) are still the guiding force in the band's sound. The most evident change is the departure of lead vocalist Sandy Leigh (with her quasi-Jon Anderson stylings) and subsequent replacement by Heidi Kemp, a stronger overall vocalist with a powerful delivery, more appropriate for Solstice's folk-tinged melodic rock sound, which draws influence from two bands not usually associated with the neo-progressive movement: It's A Beautiful Day and Renaissance; In fact Marc Elton's classical-meets-jazz violin style, the carefully crafted vocal harmonies, and the band's overall hippie ethic go far to fuel comparisons to David Laflamme and company on their original post summer-of-love classic - nowhere is this more evident than on "Guardian", a twelve minute excursion culminating in a ripping guitar solo by Glass, that might even remind some of Andy Latimer at his best. The band offers an obvious radio-ready cut in the title track, an uptempo number in standard pop-song format with a catchy refrain, but by no means a sell-out; it is sandwiched between two instrumentals "The Sea" and "Pathways", that give the band some stretching room. The closing track "The Journey" is another long epic, and takes the band as close as they get to the mid-period Renaissance sound - but just when you figure you know where this song is going, the drums and violin step in, change the tempo and take it into a whole new direction... The only downside is that for all of the violin and guitar soloing during the album's 45 minutes, one does hear variations on some of the same themes ported over from one track to another, especially on the instrumentals; a minor flaw, though, in light of the sheer power and style this album puts forth overall.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 2, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Solstice

Latest news

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Roach - Sigh of Ages – Sigh of Ages is Steve Roach's fourth release of 2010. Six continuous tracks totaling 74 minutes take you on a journey that is deep, dark and hypnotic for its duration. You either really like this type...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues