CD Reviews

Nad Sylvan - 'Courting The Widow' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2015    
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Another contender for 'Album of the Year'.

This is Nad Sylvan's third solo album ('Life Of A Housewife' 1997, 'Sylvanite' 2003) and the first since is involvement with Unifaun, Agents of Mercy and latterly as the obvious choice for Steve Hackett's 'Genesis Revisited' tour extravaganzas.
For those familiar with his work this album is going to be just what you expected, it doesn't stray far from the style of music redolent of those bands. It would be too easy to label this as Peter Gabriel era Genesis given Sylvan's vocal similarity but there's more to it than that; however you slice it's an extremely good album.

Whilst it's a vocalist's album don't underestimate Sylvan's prowess with both guitar and keyboards, consequently he's not afraid to let instrumental sections have their place; without exception they're splendid. Needless to say he's been able to call on notable guests to help him out; along with the ubiquitous Hackett there's Roine Stolt, Nick Beggs, Jonas Reingold, Nick D'Virgilio, Gary O'Toole and Doane Perry, amongst others. Sylvan produced the album with Reingold watching over him and he's done a fabulous job; the mix is crystal clear and the bass sound immense.

Without doubt Sylvan has produced a selection of classy songs that are filled to bursting with wonderful melodies, hooks, refrains and instrumental passages; everything to love about Symphonic Prog.

'Carry Me Home' is a jaunty opener with lovely bass, a splendid synth break and delicious harmony vocals; the bar is set very high, fortunately the rest lives up to this early promise. The title track starts with piano and vocal, the other instruments joining to great effect on the second verse. Quiet verses are juxtaposed with high energy choruses which feature some delightful Hammond Organ and strings.

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'Echoes Of Ekwabet' is about the suppression of the Native American population which is both poignant and dynamic. Rich bass (and bass pedals) set down a marker before a lovely piano and string section. The instrumental passages are inspired. The required epic is the twenty-two minute 'To Turn The Other Side' and it's fabulous. Various styles are pulled together seamlessly. Again, both vocal arrangements and instrumental sections are simply sublime.

I had one doubt, that being the whimsical 'Ship's Cat', however placing it after the epic does work. 'The Killing Of The Calm' has a Celtic feel thanks to the violin, the drumming is superb and once more the melodies are infectious. 'Where The Martyr Carved His Name' is a fantastic song with a hint of Motown thanks to the wonderful groove and 'Long Slow Crash Landing' closes out the album in equally fine style and features Nad Sylvan trading guitar solo lines with Hackett.

Another contender for 'Album of the Year'.

Gary Marshall

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Graham Ford said:

I have not played an album as much as this one for a long, long time. It holds your attention throughout. Even 'Ships Cat@ well there has to be one quirky track is growing on me, anyone who likes Genesis, Steve Hackett etc. should buy this album.
December 25, 2015
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