Band's new-found status is thoroughly deserved
MANY young bands struggle to find an audience these days. Syd Arthur have managed to attract two. Rather like their spiritual brothers in Wolf People, the band formerly known as – titter ye not! – Grumpy Jumper are folky and jazzy enough to draw in the cooler-than-thou hipster demographic. But they're also sufficiently adventurous and musically accomplished to attract the attention of the burgeoning progressive rock scene. Somewhat to Syd Arthur's apparent bemusement, they now rub shoulders with ELP, Yes and Dream Theater in the prog press, where they're the recipients of extravagant praise.
It's a pleasure to report that this is thoroughly well-deserved. Seemingly styled by Through a Hedge Backwards, purveyors of free festival chic since 1971, the hairy quartet waste no time getting stuck into what is probably their best-known song, Edge of the Earth.
This showcases all their strengths in one compact four-minute package: jazzy, staccato violin; twisty time signatures; and bucolic lead vocals augmented by effective three-part harmonies.
Despite their protestations, there's no getting away from the fact that this sounds very much like early Caravan and mid-period Soft Machine, with a dash of the ferociously adventurous Gentle Giant chucked in for good measure.
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A tight rhythm section, fully capable of bringing the funk as well as coping with those tricky time changes, forms a sturdy bedrock for Liam Magill's effortlessly complex guitar work and the multi-instrumental talents of keyboard/ mandolin/ violin player Raven Bush.
Oh, and Mornings Calling includes the best use of whistling since Wind of Change. Given the hype that Tame Impala are currently receiving, there's no reason why Syd Arthur shouldn't grab their place in the mainstream media spotlight. o it.