Syn, The : Trustworks
It's fair to say that Trustworks was, in a sense, born at ROSfest. A brief history:
The Syn is one of England's original progressive acts. With an alumni list including Chris Squire, Alan White, Francis Dunnery, Tom Brislin, and Peter Banks; Steve Nardelli's The Syn is sometimes thought of as an early incarnation of Yes.
Moon Safari is a band of talented young Swedes who have earned a dedicated following in prog circles with their refreshing style of light Swedish prog meets the Beach Boys choral vocals. It's an interesting blend of third wave Scandinavian progressive rock with '60s harmony and innocence.
The reference to two separate bands here is because The Syn's Steve Nardelli met Moon Safari at the Keswick theater outside Philadelphia, where they were both on the bill for the annual ROSfest prog festival. Several years after that 'born at ROSfest' moment, and with input from acclaimed artist and producer Jonas Reingold, Trustworks is a collaboration between the two bands - with Nardelli's songs enriched by Moon Safari's skilled instrumentation and rich backing vocal harmonies.
Take that 'Beach Boys' reference with a fistful of salt, though. Moon Safari's backing harmonies are not overwhelming, instead adding a subtle but rich depth to the vocals.
Combining the depth of The Syn's rich history with the fresh Swedish approach yields a full sound that is at once approachable, and unconventional. It's unfair to pigeon-hole Trustworks - but as a point of departure, imagine a vocal-rich third-wave / symphonic / neo blend. Nardelli's delivery of the meaningful lyrics is clean and easily understood.
The result of the collaboration is a melodic, pleasing, upbeat sound. Listen for the clean, retro-styled guitar motifs in "Never Too late", which is an interesting mix of spoken lyrics, a simple but effective piano lead, and an earworm of a chorus that is approachable and memorable. The harder-edged "The Wheel" has a driving rhythm with powerful organ passages. It's an impatient, frustrated piece with a darker tone that adds an important contrast to the other 8 tracks on the record.
The album closes with "Seventh Day Of Seven", an epic piece that recalls IQ's longer tracks, and with a loose reference to Genesis's Supper's Ready. It has a restless, continually developing structure with tempo shifts, expressive guitar solos, reprises, and powerfully melodic instrumentals, and it will rivet your attention through the full 15 minutes. It's an excellent showcase for the combined artists' polished performances and intelligent songwriting. The closing minutes are a wonderful wall of sound that will have you reaching for the 'replay' button.
Despite The Syn's personnel overlaps, the music is very different from Yes – yet many Yes fans will find a lot to appreciate here. You might like this album on first spin. But you'll probably develop a deeper appreciation for it on each subsequent spin.
Let's hope we can persuade the ROSfest organizers to bring the two bands together, to perform Trustworks live.
Track Listing :
This World of Ours
Something That I Said
Never Too Late
Seventh Day Of Seven
Added: May 3rd 2016
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: the Band's Web Site
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