Call them Magenta of a slightly different hue. Cyan is Rob Reed’s earliest band, tracing back to his school days as he came of age into the role of prog musician. Originally releasing three albums under the Cyan name, Reed set the stage for much bigger triumphs ahead. As if he didn’t already have enough projects at hand, a few years ago Reed decided to go back to his original band’s material and give it a reboot. Enlisting the remarkable Luke Machin on guitars and Peter Jones on vocals, along with Dan Nelson on bass, Cyan 2.0 was suddenly approaching the term “supergroup” and stacking the deck in its favor.
Cyan’s first redux attempt in 2021, “For King And Country”, was a strong launch for the new ensemble. Not only did the new cast of musicians raise the bar of performance but Reed also took time to rearrange the material to benefit from the maturity of intervening decades. On this second foray into Reed’s past, the band again succeeds with a delightfully engaging album, filled with satisfying performances and skilled production.
“Broken Man” opens the album and immediately Jones makes his presence known with an emotive performance. Each time he sings “Feel the snow, feel the rain”, one could only wish prog always sounded this good vocally. As if that weren’t enough, female vocalist Angharad Brinn is featured throughout the album, a wonderful counterpoint to Jones’ vocal. You can almost hear the same approach to vocal lines that Reed authored for Magenta’s Christina Booth with Brinn’s delivery. The song is an impressive 11-minute opener, Machin’s guitar blazing with tasty solos throughout, the band sounding tight and inspired.
The title track gives Jones a chance to blow on the saxophone, though the song does have more of an 80s feel to it, especially with some of the keyboard choices. More soulful is “Solitary Angel” which really gives Jones, Brinn, and Machin many opportunities to belt it out in a beautiful emotive display. “Follow The Flow” is the most gorgeous moment on the album, a piano and vocal ballad that offers a welcome respite from the prog attack of the rest of the album. Jones’ and Brinn’s duet is a high point.
“Tomorrow’s Here Today” stands out immediately with its intriguing guitar progression. Once again, Brinn’s presence poignantly elevates the arrangement and Jones gives a Peter Gabriel-worthy performance. Reed’s synths and Machin’s guitar blaze away later on as the song picks up speed, and Nelson is always driving the rhythm forward with his deft bass playing. The 18-minute “Nosferatu” closes the album, again offering Jones a chance to really go for it as he expresses the thrills and agony of the vampire life. This one is a little uneven – there are plenty of thrilling musical sections but it also comes off a bit campy lyrically, wearing its heart on its cape sleeve a bit much. Such is the nature of a young Reed project, though, and it’s all good fun.
Overall, Cyan is a fantastic old shoe made new & shiny thanks to the exceptional musicians involved. Reed gives his main project Magenta a run for their money in terms of satisfying classic prog-rock, and gives Jones one more ideal platform for him to shine on. It’s always a thrill to hear Machin on the guitar, and the addition of Brinn is over the top. Combined with a rock-solid rhythm section, Cyan brings all the retro prog feels.
Released By: Tiger Moth Records
Release Date: November 17th, 2023
Genre: Progressive Rock
“Pictures From The Other Side” track-listing:
1- Broken Man
2- Pictures From The Other Side
3- Solitary Angel
4- Follow The Flow
5- Tomorrow’s Here Today
- Robert Reed / Keyboards, backing vocals
- Peter Jones / Vocals, saxophone, whistles
- Angharad Brinn / Vocals
- Dan Nelson / Bass
- Luke Machin / Guitars
Order “Pictures From The Other Side“ HERE.
Cyan, originally a precursor to Rob Reed’s band Magenta, return with their second outing in this 2.0 version, featuring an exceptional lineup of musicians. The captivating vocals of Peter Jones are matched by those of Angharad Brinn, making the ensemble even sweeter as Luke Machin’s fretboard frenzy and Dan Nelson’s buoyant bass realize Reed’s vision to its full potential. It’s retro, it’s beautiful, at times it’s even campy, but it also is sincere classic prog at its best.