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Cyan: For King And Country 2021

Revisiting ones past is an activity often fraught with danger and trying to update and improve upon it, even more so. And so Magenta’s Rob Reed took the dangerous step of re-recording and reworking the debut album from his original band Cyan. For King And Country was first released in 1993, but I must admit that I’ve never heard it, so the opportunity to compare these two versions is beyond me. However, from reading the liner notes in this updated issue, it was very much a fledgling affair and one recorded on what could be called a strict budget - £35! So let’s instead focus on what we do have, Cyan now consisting of Reed on keyboards, Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tales/Camel) on vocals, Luke Machin (Maschine/The Tangent) on guitar and Dan Nelson (Magenta/Godsticks) on bass. That in itself should tell you that we’re dealing with a serious outfit here, the quality of this collective’s previous work really quite outstanding. Even with that in mind, however, the results to be found on an album that from the outside seemed like a questionable undertaking really are quite something. It’s worth mentioning from the off that the compositional skills behind all eight tracks don’t for one second suggest the early experiments of a young musician taking baby steps, instead - especially with the superb Luke Maschin handling guitars - this is an assured and accomplished set of songs that swirl with emotion, melody and an incredible atmosphere.

The journey begins with the fifteen minute “The Sorceror”, where Cyan prove to be masters of a sound that can now be described as noughties British prog. Yes, that does undoubtedly mean that there are a lot bands operating in this sphere and many of them featuring the very people on this CD, but whether its Magenta, The Tangent, Tiger Moth Tales, or whoever, that are gently reminded of, the hugely wondrous statement which opens this album really does prove to be rather exhilarating. Jones is the perfect voice for this fare, his characterful vocals carrying this - and each of the vocal tracks - magnificently. With clever string bursts and acoustic strumming interjecting the more expected keyboard swathes and guitar forays, the voyage this song takes is undoubtedly a thing to marvel at.

“Call Me” and “I Defy The Sun” follow, the former again using synth-strings to set the tone of refined melody through a relaxed setting that immediately makes you feel at home. The latter eases off even more, an almost pop edge that gently reminds of Peter Gabriel as it ebbs and flows proving to be a clever reset after the realised ambitions of what has already come. Not content with one epic, For King And Country instead holds two, the eleven minute-plus “Man Amongst Men” finding Maschin and drummer Tim Robinson (who doesn’t appear to be a full member of the band) truly letting loose. But again, it’s the song, the tone, the mood and the atmosphere that truly matters here - something which Cyan never lose sight of for even a single second as they tell both musical and lyrical stories.

Impressively, right across For King And Country 2021, the standard never slips once, with each of the eight tracks holding their own on an album that simply refuses to dip at any stage. Cyan may well have been looking back as they created this release but the results simply couldn’t set out a brighter future. Hopefully this impetus isn’t allowed to slip away and that Reed can somehow make both Magenta and Cyan fit permanently into his spectrum of musical colours.

Track Listing
1. The Sorceror
2. Call Me
3. I Defy The Sun
4. Don’t Turn Away
5. Snowbound
6. Man Amongst Men
7. Nightflight
8. For King And Country

Added: October 3rd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Cyan @ bandcamp
Hits: 718
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Cyan: For King And Country 2021
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-10-03 16:54:15
My Score:

For King and Country FINALLY gets the full-band treatment from Cyan that it always deserved, with band mastermind Rob Reed now surrounding himself with stellar players such as vocalist Peter Jones (Camel, It Bites, Tiger Moth Tales), guitarist Luke Machin (Maschine, The Tangent, It Bites), and bassist Dan Nelson (Godsticks, Magenta) for a revisit of this early gem in their catalog, now bigger and better for 2021. Jones and his commanding vocals just soar over Reed's wealth of synths, piano and Machin's stabbing guitars on the bright, epic opener "The Sorceror", and it's all uphill from there. The lovely hooks of "Call Me", the pop meets neo-prog of "I Defy the Sun", the blazing keys & guitars of 'Don't Turn Away", and the upbeat and harder rocking "Man Amongst Men" are just a few highlights here among an album full of them. If you missed For King and Country back in 1993, fear not...THIS is the way it was always meant to be heard! Neo-progressive rock doesn't get much better than this folks.

» Reader Comments:

Cyan: For King And Country 2021
Posted by Molly Whipple on 2021-11-21 03:14:27
My Score:

My copy of this album finally arrived today... and, as the kiddies say, OMG! This is now my favorite album of 2021. The songs are skillfully constructed. The leads are tasty with lots of the sorts of synths that really carry the listener along. And every so often a tasty guitar lead cuts in. I'm sure that this album benefits from being reworkings of music originally created a couple of decades ago. I've never heard the original, but the result of this reworking is the near perfect melodic prog record.

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