I have seen the future. A vinyl edition of Solstice‘s 2013 album, Prophecy, will be released on 2nd July 2021. Or so the Burning Shed oracle tells me. The significance of this revelation, though, was obscure for, although I have seen many summers, no Solstice had ever appeared on the domestic music machines. While the future was clear, the past remained shrouded in a murky darkness. It was time to launch a new research project.
Solstice was founded by guitarist, Andy Glass, in 1980. The band released the album, Silent Dance, in 1984 before splitting up the following year. They reformed for a while in the nineties, recording two more studio albums (New Life, Circles), and one live album (The Cropredy Set). A third incarnation took shape in 2007, giving us three more albums: Spirit (2010), Prophecy (2013) and Sia (2020).
The Band (in 2013)
- Andy Glass, guitar
- Jenny Newman, violin
- Emma Brown, vocals
- Steven McDaniel, keyboards
- Robin Phillips, bass
- Pete Hemsley, drums
The Prophecy Album
- Eyes of Fire
- Keepers of the Truth
- West Wind
- Black Water
- Find Yourself
- Return of the Spring
Prophecy takes as its theme the ‘fakelore’ of the Rainbow Warriors. The story predicts that the world will enter a time of environmental crisis and that people of many colours will come together to save the planet. It has its origins in an evangelical Christian text, Warriors of the Rainbow, published in 1962. In an attempt to promote Christianity in Native American cultures it misrepresents the story as an ancient legend of the indigenous people and links it to the Second Coming. Although the story is fictitious, like many fables, it is both compelling and inspiring. The Greenpeace movement, for example, encapsulated their core philosophy by naming their ships Rainbow Warrior.
On the album, the prophetic message creeps in with almost subliminal organ chords. From far off a Native American girl has cast her song into the wind. “I am Eyes of Fire“, she whispers, but this is the gentlest flame you have ever felt. Slowly the air fills with feather-light sounds. Duck-down clouds gather around you, lift you up, and carry you drifting over the unseen land below. This is the future and the future is bliss.
Then the past and the present are laid out before us. A folk-rock anthem tells the age-old tale of the Keepers of the Truth and the Warriors who answered the call to arms with a three-of-a-perfect-pair tramping of heavy boots. A doleful West Wind blows in renaissance harmonies while, in the east, a camel dances beside Black Water in a bedouin camp. Decay is all around. But there is hope if you heed the Desiderata-tinged pop/folk song and Find Yourself. Soon the age of Aquarius brings the end of winter and we celebrate the Return of the Spring with Jean-Luc Ponty vibes and joyful la-la voices.
The crisis is finally over. In Earthsong guest vocalist, Sandy Leigh, sounds for all world like Jon Anderson while acoustic guitar and fretless bass rejoice that the Earth is green and the waters are clear and blue again. We have come full circle. All is right with the world once more.
The Crotchety Categorisation Committee place Solstice close to Jethro Tull, Renaissance and Camel, with weaker links to Yes, Jean-Luc Ponty and King Crimson. That’s a delightful part of the music world and Prophecy does a wonderful job of promoting it.