Syd Arthur - Apricity album review

Lively fourth album from the Kent combo

Cover art for Syd Arthur's Apricity

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Whether they like it or not, Syd Arthur will never quite be able to escape the legacy of their forebears on the Canterbury Scene. Soft Machine, Caravan, Hatfield & The North and their ilk have ensured that a certain corner of Kent acts as shorthand for a very English kind of fusion, a malleable interface where prog, jazz, psychedelia and the avant-garde are free to frolic.

The connection to Syd Arthur, however, is growing ever more tenuous as the band continue to move towards a more mainline pop centre. Much like Tame Impala, they seem intent on smoothing out the edges of music that was once knottier and less tamed.

Thankfully, they haven’t abandoned their experimental urges completely, with Apricity striking a deft balance between rushing choruses and free electronic grooves. The presence of producer Jason Falkner, formerly of Jellyfish, is pressed into the trippy power pop of No Peace and Into Eternity, both of which feel like hits in waiting. But the four-piece, who now comprise three Magill brothers (plus keyboardist Raven Bush, nephew of Kate), truly excel on the cantering guitar psych of Coal Mine, along with Seraphim’s deep synthetic ripples and the bliss-out that is Evolution.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.