Market Square [Release date 25.08.17] Website
1967: one notably exotic, if delicate, bloom amidst the flower power trademarking the nascent psych-pop scene of London’s Summer of Love was the enigmatic Nirvana. The loose-limbed, multinational collective’s debut was the launch release for the Island label and the following year’s phasing-drenched summer charter, “Rainbow Chaser”, as well as others from the band’s sumptuous if brief repertoire of symphonic pop have become staples in TV and movie synchronisation.
At the helm, ex-pats Greek Alex Spyropoulos and Irishman Campbell Lyons; post-the band’s 1971 demise amidst sky-high costs and an A&R swerve at Island, the duo went their separate ways, the former back to writing in Athens, the latter to production and solo work and much travelling.
This 50th anniversary of that summer and that debut are marked by reissues of the band’s catalogue and this brand new gem from a reinvigorated Campbell Lyons, now residing in Athens himself and clearly taken again by the ‘muse’.
Recorded in Greece, this comet of a record brims with vitality counterpointed by pools of still self-reflection in a 11-song set ranging from quirky ditties (“Only Heavens Knows”) to slow-build ballads (“A River And a Day”, “Now”) via the jaunty likes of “Honeyman” and melancholic (“I Want you back”), much of which resonates tonally and thematically with his former band’s material. “Different Day” stands out, tackling gender reassignment with strident celebration, and catchy closer “The World Is A Beautiful Place” is likely to be 2017’s number one ‘earworm’.
Alex is on board amidst a complementary 20-strong Anglo-Greek line-up of Hammond, piano, synths, horns, acoustic guitar and much chorusing, providing some well-rounded heft to the gentler material and Campbell Lyons’ keening vocal.
His solo career, much like his life, has been restlessly erratic, but the Greek sun and overall vibe have worked wonders for Patrick Campbell Lyons in this late-blooming return to form. ****
Review by Rob Peters
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