Band: Solstice

CD Title: “Spirit”

Band Website:

Label: Festival Music Records

Label Website:

Release Date: 2010


Solstice was part of the progressive rock renaissance that took hold of Britain in the early eighties. They were one of those bands who stomped the boards along with Marillion, IQ, Pallas Twelfth Night and Pendragon. Today the band is made up of founder Andy Glass (guitar, vocals) along with Jenny Newman (violin, viola), Pete Hemsley (drums), Robin Phillips (bass), Steve McDaniel (keyboards) and Emma Brown (vocals). The Solstice sound is one that mixes elements of Yes with Renaissance and with the added violin there is also a hint of Curved Air, although never so classical.


Spirit consists of seven compositions and to borrow a weather metaphor in comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The introductory track, “Solomon’s Bridge” [9:47] starts of with some acoustic guitar strumming before the violin comes in creating a soothing atmosphere. Then about the one-minute mark it gets all loud and electric with a series of cascading crescendos and climaxes before launching into the song proper a kind of mid-tempo epic made up of a couple distinct musical sections but all written as one. The album closes out with the title track “Spirit” [11:40] a softer, subdued affair that is sung in a dreamy fashion while Glass performs a variety of searing blues guitar solos throughout. It never peaks but rather flows to close out the CD. If you begin to analyze the music of Solstice here’s what you find; it’s a mixture of some blues-rock, some Celtic, some folk or acoustic and some definite rockier edges. All of this comes together in a style that is decidedly progressive folk although it’s never very acoustic for too long. The female vocals from Emma Brown reinforce the links to bands such as Renaissance and Curved Air as does the violin playing from Jenny Newman. Most of these songs are on the longish side, the title track is the longest and they go through a variety of musical changes but there is usually more than one spot that features some of Andy Glass’ bluesy guitar work. Add to this all manor of symphonic prog flourishes and you have a stirring mixture of styles that is uniquely Solstice. 


The record label Festival Music has done a stellar job in releasing this new Solstice as a double disc set with the second disc being a DVD of a complete live show set. Fans of the band will already have a good idea of what to expect and will no doubt have already added Spirit to their collection. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, this is a great place to start. Not only do you get their latest music but you also get the DVD which features many tracks from earlier releases. This is a great release and a welcome one at that. It’s good to have Solstice back.