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Syd Arthur - On An On (Review)

Syd Arthur, On An On

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SYD Arthur, a Canterbury-based quartet, release their debut album in the form of On An On and seek to replicate some of their idols by recapturing the spirit of the sonic pioneers of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

The ensuing album seeks also to combine strong songwriting values, a keen sense of performance and something a little exploratory, or unexpected. Hence, while there’s a lot of melody and some pop leanings, songs also have a habit of not doing what’s quite expected, thereby lending them that experimental edge.

It also makes the album something of an acquired taste, albeit one that has been lovingly and patiently crafted by the group themselves, given that they have also taught themselves how to engineer, produce and mix using an innovative hybrid of analogue and digital techniques.

In order to do this, Wicker Studios, their own studio space, was created in 2009, followed by their record label, Dawn Chorus Recording Company.

Hence, while Syd Arthur revel in the music of decades long past, they also match the psychedelic rock and hallucinogenic sounds of modern contemporaries such as Wolf People, Black Mountain and Tame Impala.

Sometimes this works to endearing effect, on tracks like bright album opener First Difference or Ode To The Summer, which successfully captures the tumultuous nature of the great British summer-time (and its ever-changing climate).

But when they go more hallucogenic, as in Dorothy or the really trippy Truth Seeker, they become more of an acquired taste.

The album therefore rates as a mixed bag; good in places, hard to access at others. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t necessarily even rate mainstream credibility as all-important.

Download picks: First Difference, Ode To The Summer, Black Wave

Track listing:

  1. First Difference
  2. Edge of the Earth
  3. Ode To The Summer
  4. Dorothy
  5. Truth Seeker
  6. Night Shaped L|ight
  7. Promise Me
  8. Black Wave
  9. Moving World
  10. Paradise Lost