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Nad Sylvan - 'The Bride Said No' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 21, 2018    
 
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To say I like this album a lot would be something of an understatement.

Nad Sylvan has pedigree via Unifaun and Agents Of Mercy, however it's his more recent sojourn as Steve Hackett's touring vocalist – for the Peter Gabriel era Genesis material – that has elevated his profile and led to a second bite at a solo career.

This is the follow-up to 2015's very fine 'Courting The Widow' and continues the plot established there, albeit to me this effort demonstrates a greater confidence and expands the musical landscape more than somewhat. It's more varied and the fact that he's collaborated this time might have something to do with that. He plays much of the music himself but calls on notable guests to help out, including three female vocalists.

After a short atmospheric piece, 'The Quartermaster' shakes away any cobwebs with its superb heavy riff and theme. The drums, bass and guitar laying a wonderful platform for Sylvan's terrific synth lead, so good is this intro that I get goose bumpy when I hear it. When the vocals arrive, it's difficult not to reference Gabriel, the quietish verses are supplemented by upbeat and compelling choruses. There's a short but sweet synth solo; it's an exuberant start.

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'When The Music Dies', with its heavy drum groove and Tony Levin's Chapman stick work, is a tribute to the great musicians who've departed recently. The opening puts me in mind of The Flower Kings and the various refrains soon get into your head. It has modern Prog sensibilities but is more melodic and interesting.

'The White Crown' has elements of The Neal Morse Band in the heavier sections but it's also quite theatrical. 'What Have You Done?' is spectacular, not least because of the shared guitar solo (?) by Guthrie Govan and Hackett which is exquisite. With a simple voice and piano to start, it builds superbly to the aforementioned lengthy solo.

'Crime Of Passion' picks up the pace and it has another great groove and fabulous chorus, while 'A French Kiss In An Italian Café' is a melancholy track with yet another great hook. The title track clocks in at over twelve minutes and is consequently multi-faceted; the dual male/female vocals work wonderfully well. The album's closing bonus track 'Black Sheep' reminds me of Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill', in both vibe and structure, with hints at Hackett's acoustic works.

To say I like this album a lot would be something of an understatement.

Gary Marshall

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