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'Courting The Widow'
(Inside Out)
Release date: 16th October 2015

Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland

nad sylvan

Swedish singer Nad Sylvan has been around the prog scene for a long time but the former Agents Of Mercy front man has raised his profile recently touring with Steve Hackett doing his Genesis Revisited sets. This has prompted him to take the plunge to both become a full time musician and release his first solo album since 2003.

'Courting The Widow' is a star studded affair with Sylvan making the most of his contacts and getting the likes of ex Spock's Beard man Nick D'Virgilio, Steve Hackett himself and The Flower Kings' Jonas Reingold to play on some of the tracks.

Reingold also produces the album and he has made a fabulous job of that as everything sounds big and lush and beautifully balanced.

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The expectation of many of those who have come across Sylvan through his work with Hackett would be that the music here would be very much of a Genesis ilk and you know, that is actually very true in places.

The vocals do have a sub-Gabriel echo in places and the opening duo of songs 'Carry Me Home' and the title track are certainly reminiscent of Gabriel era Genesis and even in places the early part of the post Gabriel era.

Additionally there is the twenty two minutes plus of 'To Turn The Other Side' which may or may not be an attempt at aping 'Supper's Ready' but doesn't quite work either way without enough of a theme or narrative to work as a complete piece.

Influences there may be then but there is much, much more here besides. There is a symphonic sound to the likes of the eloquent and haunting 'Echoes Of Ekwabet' and a folky undercurrent and jaunty swing to 'The Killing Of The Calm'.

nad sylvan

I'm not sure that the sea shanty undercurrents of 'Ship's Cat' works as well as a change of pace as it is meant to and personally I prefer the more understated slightly funky edge which subtly underpins the smooth bass driven grooves of 'Where The Martyr Carved His Name'.

Much of the guitar work on the album is superb whether it comes from Sylvan himself or one of his guests and the luscious hooks which adorn final track 'Long Slow Crash Landing' are a fine example, superbly executed as a twin guitar attack from Messrs Hackett and Sylvan combined.

Despite his Scandinavian background Sylvan has managed to come up with an album which has that peculiarly English progressive rock feel to it. Whether that was deliberate or not, it mostly works very well and there is a hell of a lot here for fans of gentle, lovingly crafted, thoughtful progressive rock to enjoy.

Nad Sylvan easily confirms that he is much more than a front man for someone else's band and his full time professional career has started off very well indeed.




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