A story that began at the legendary Marquee Club in London's Wardour Street finally arrives at the chapter PROG journalist Martin Kielty describes as "Solstice becoming the band they were always meant to be"
On the new album ‘Light Up’ released January 13th 2023:
"Nothing prepared me for the extraordinary new line-up that they have settled on in the last few years. Solstice are back and are back to being brilliant. Their forthcoming album, Light Up, is utterly sensational: beautiful production, great songs, great voices, tricky rhythms and epic guitar solos.” Greg Spawton, Big Big Train
‘Wow! - that's a great sounding album! Very Solstice, and a wonderfully dynamic vibe. Evokes the spirit of the band I first saw in the 80s, but with very much a ‘here and now’ production sound that brings with it the wisdom of those ensuing years. Jerry Ewing, Editor PROG mag.
And live shows:
“Solstice - absolutely outstanding! This band are riding a wave of inspiration right now. The current line up is amazing with each of the eight onstage playing their part to the full. It has to be the happiest and most joyful band on the circuit!” TPA
With the beguiling presence of new vocalist Jess Holland and following the release of 2020 album Sia, Solstice have become THE band to catch live this year. With a string of high profile festival appearances from Glastonbury to Milan, the band’s star continues its rapid ascendence while UK, US and European festival promoters alike add Solstice to their lineups.
The new album, Light Up, will no doubt continue their upward trajectory bringing their music to an ever growing audience. Loved by luminaries like Steven Wilson and Greg Spawton of Big Big Train, Solstice remain a band you’ll never find in the mainstream yet whose music continues to enthral music fans old and new.
Soaring violin and guitar weaving around delicately passionate female vocals, underpinned by driving rhythmic complexity - Solstice were an unlikely band to succeed in 1980s Britain. Yet because of their unique vision, audiences in search of an alternative to the shiny 'product’ of the music industry reveled in the band’s performances at all the major festivals and sell-out tours, on which they made the legendary Marquee club their home.
In spite of this live success, bolstered by BBC sessions and national music press coverage of an unprecedented level for a then-unsigned band, by the close of the 80s the members had dispersed to pursue successful careers in session work, soundtracks and elsewhere, leaving only the independent Silent Dance album to keep the memory alive.
Interest generated by a CD reissue in the nineties led to a Solstice renaissance, with two studio releases – New Life and Circles – and a live album – The Cropredy Set – documenting their return to the big festival stage. This was a period of close ties to Jethro Tull, with Clive Bunker joining on drums for Circles and The Cropredy Set and Andy Glass working as Tull's front of house engineer. between '96 and '98.
Pursuing an intense involvement with traditional music, guitarist Andy Glass once more put the band on hold in order to put his energies into the critically-acclaimed 3sticks, but things once again came full circle. A long-awaited DVD release of the Cropredy performance set the stage for a renaissance in 2007, with the entire back catalogue being re-mastered and issued in greatly expanded 'Definitive Edition’ form, tapping into the current ascendance of musicians mixing traditional influences with contemporary elements, drawing a wider audience for a band who the cognoscenti have loved for decades.
This rich musical heritage provided the foundation for the next stage of the band’s development. With club and festival dates in the UK and, for the first time, mainland Europe, Solstice found themselves playing to a larger audience than ever before, including – the latest in a tradition of bizarre gigs – to the Queen at the new Milton Keynes Stadium. Whilst Her Majesty was unavailable for comment, an unconfirmed rumour suggests that Prince Harry has 'Time for a Toke’ on his iPod.
Following the critical acclaim of 2010 album, Spirit, and it’s live counterpart Kindred Spirits, Solstice released the superb, Prophecy, on Esoteric Antenna, finally providing the band with a platform they had so long deserved. Support, in the form of three remixes, from none other than prog lord, Steven Wilson, and artwork from iconic Marvel artist, Barry Kitson, helped bring the music to the attention of new ears.
2020 finds Solstice on a high. The new album, Sia, sounds like a band finally finding it's true voice. New singer, Jess Holland, brings soul and magic to these beautiful songs as Solstice become the band they've always aspired to be. And what perfect timing for Solstice to sign to GEP, a label that understands and loves both the music and the audience and, of course, was founded as a vehicle for IQ who played with Solstice right at the very beginning.