Review: Nad Sylvan – The Bride Said No
Released: May 26th 2017 Inside Out
Can I say from the offset that I truly believe Nad Sylvan is a consummate romantic at heart and once again, it shines through on this, his latest solo album and with tracks titles like “A French Kiss In An Italian Cafe”, says it all really. There’s a “European” feel to the entire album, can’t quite put my finger on it, but some of the themes sound familiar, maybe from some lost 60’s French TV series ?
I suppose it’s inevitable that some of you may know Nad from his time with Steve Hackett on the Genesis Revisited Tours and albums, but there’s way more to this guy than you can imagine….
A musician since an early age, he went fully professional at the age of 56 and so now fully embraces his love of music, something that’s been a big part of his life and on this album it shows !! Billed as a “follow up” to his previous album “Courting The Widow”, the guest list is full to overflowing on this one – Steve Hackett, Guthrie Govan, Doane Perry, Tony Levin, Nick D’Vigilo and so on.
Album kicks off with a short instrumental called Bridesmaids which introduces a theme that reoccurs throughout the album and segues nicely into the second track The Quartermaster, which was the first track preleased from the album. There’s a very catchy synth riff used in this which supplements the vocal really well and on the subject of vocals, once again we hear the reason Steve Hackett chose Nad to front his current band when they take on the Genesis back catalogue as Nad has a very distinct vocal style that sits somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. The quartermaster is a new character in Nad’s universe who’s joined the Vampirate he introduced on the last album.
So, with the first two tracks under our belt, let’s take an overall look at the rest of the album.
Unlike the last album there is no EPIC included here, the longest track is the title track which weighs in around 12 minutes, a “mini-epic” I suppose !! I daresay there will be those who listen to this album and throw in a few “Is this Prog?” remarks, but as usual, it very much depends on your definition of Progressive Rock. As far as I’m concerned, it ticks all the boxes as it is as unpredictable as it is ground-breaking at times….
Musicianship throughout is as you’d expect from such a top notch guest list, but Nad himself plays keyboards and guitar, this is no one-trick pony.
Standout tracks for me are: The White Crown – there’s a bit everything going on here. Funk, heavy, orchestral, whimsy. Very well structured with a driving rhythm section and lush keys (including harpsichord !!), The Quartermaster, which I mentioned previously and the title track The Bride Said No and it’s here I want to go into maybe more detail….
The origins of this track date back to the late 80’s, but having resurrected it, there is a now a more modern edge to it and features Tania Doko from Batchelor Girl singing alongside Nad and she also sings background vocals on The Quartermaster – what a voice, very powerful, very sexy. She complements Nad very well. What I like about this track, you don’t know where it’s going, constantly changing mood and style, some crazy freak-out keyboard moments, funky bass, mellotron flutes, orchestral arrangements and very theatrical – a true PROG track and a mini-epic at just over 12 minutes, what’s not to love ?? What Have You Done – Don’t be deceived by the slow start to this track, solo piano with a wailing synth in the background and a very emotional and soulful lyric from Nad (with Jade Ell contributing a gorgeous harmony), but as it builds, the drums kick in at just under 3 ½ mins and a minute later, oh dear – a guitar solo to die for from Steve Hackett, concluded by Guthrie Govan at just over the 6 minute mark – very emotional, very beautiful and totally jaw dropping, the song fades as it started, inspirational stuff people !! I could have gone into great detail about each and every track, but what would be the point of that, you need to discover its inner secrets for yourself…..
What more can I say about this album other than – he’s done it again !!! I After “Courting The Widow”, I was curious to see (and hear) where the man would take us and I was not disappointed. Nad Sylvan is here to stay, check this album out as soon as you can and be inspired and uplifted.
9 out of 10.