AYSO: A Matter of Time – Syn

A MATTER OF TIME

SYN

I remember reading a review in the Orange County Register some time in 1993 the week Syn’s “A Matter of Time” was released. I was intrigued both by the name of the artist (a person not a band) as well as the reviewer and interviewer’s discussion of the struggles that artist faced when his faith conflicted with his his art.

Of course I could only do one thing: buy the darn album!

Despite never being able to talk to anyone about the album since no one I knew ever owned it, it has remained a long time favorite and has withstood the test of time musically than many releases from that same time period. To list comparisons always prove to be unfair and futile, but for a point of reference you can think Michael Hutchins (INXS), Joe Cocker, The Wallflowers and Adam Again. Pounding rhythms and groove driven rock and soul with more than touch of Terence Trent D’Arby, Lenny Kravitz and Adam Duritz.

Emotional, raw and provocative. For those who are squeamish regarding flowery language there is an expletive or two but they seem to fit the artist and the message. I have long past dismissed the issue of language in music and will not reintroduce the debate here. Plus, DW Dunphy says swearing in songs is cool!

“Love on My Side” starts the album with a cool, light bluesy riff and soulful vocals reminiscent of Trent D’ Arby with a sore throat, a soulful growl aged in a bottle of gin and spilling out into the speakers. This song oozes with a subtle raw emotion that builds slowly. In an odd way the song is both glossy and raw and works with the message of faith and redemption.

I spent years in the darkness

Alone and a afraid

I needed help, couldn’t bring myself to pray

And from the depths of despair

I looked up and saw the light

I knew right then it was time to give it a fight S

o I joined in the fight

I got love, I got love on my side

And a a deeper understanding

Of who I am And I believe, that love knows my name

And with a deeper understanding

Baby I’m a better man

Great gospel tinged backing vocals complete the revival theme as the song crescendos to finish.

“Bleed” is heavier and with a riff comparable to INXS meets Pearl Jam, Syn’s soul is poured out like the blood he sings of. This song is musically the heaviest on the album and has a blues guitar solo that steals the show. The song, like the whole album, matches brutally honest lyrics with a vulnerable and passionate vocal performance.

So, this is what it feels like to be lost in the blues
Beaten and frustrated, second hand used
Up to me ears in all these rules and regulations
Promises from liars, preachin soul salvation

I’ve had enough, of people tellin’ me what to do
I’m gonna stand up, gonna get it out, get it out
When the going gets tough, I’m tough enough to see it through
I’ll never give up, Said I’ll never give up, never give up

The wah-wah guitar just rips through as a killed Hammond organ keeps things melodic and constant. But here again it’s Syn’s vocals and the pain expressed that makes the song believable. At time Hendryx is brought to mind, not for the guitar but the vocals that influenced the likes of Kravitz, Duritz and obviously Syn.

The first ballad on the album is “Suicide” that immediately reminds me of some of Michael Anderson’s best songs, but sound a little more like Van Morrison here than anywhere else on the album. The slurred vocals takes a higher register and is subtly accompanied by drums, organ and acoustic guitar.

“Hey John” is a tribute to John Lennon and remembers the Beatles death and even contains some Beatles references. Though not the strongest song musically, nor the most memorable, it does contain some of Syn’s better lyrical touches with references to Strawberry Fields, etc interlaced throughout.

The other ballad is the beautiful “Please Be There,” the only direct “love song” on the album. Accompanied only by the acoustic guitar Syn vocals strain with a longing and emotional touch that is absent from the rest of the album and fits the message perfectly.

The title track closes the album and is closer to “Bleed” than anything else on the album, The song starts slow with just acoustic guitar but does not stay there. As the song build and progresses so does Syn’s performance. Chris Cornell inspired vocals drives home this six minute closer. The song is one of lost and regret that summarizes the pain, frustration and longing that weaves throughout the entire project.

Syn’s “A Matter of Time” epitomizes the definition of an album you should own but probably don’t. For those interested in getting a glimpse of the album please check the “comment.”

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Well, maybe not “cool” per-se, but if it is the most appropriate word at the moment, yeah.

    Although I wouldn’t ever go visit my Grandmother in the nursing home and say, “It’s a beautiful (mucking) day, Grandma! Let’s go get some (fit) to eat at (Schmollive Garding).”

    Reply

  2. I shall check this out tonight!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on April 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I really don’t want to download a Realplayer just to get this. I suppose Winamp would work. itunes and Windows media don’t take this extension, however.

    So, was this a very regional release? How is it that I have never heard of it til now?

    Reply

    • Posted by low5point on April 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      That’s odd…I play it on my Windows Media Player all the time…thought it was WMA?

      It was released on Elektra originally…so it was out there, just totally missed. Never heard from the guy again either…just disappeared.

      Reply

  4. It’s really a solid album, and the title track is a monster! Thanks so much for pointing this one out. When can we expect your next entry?

    Reply

  5. Posted by David on April 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Bought this CD this morning on eBay based on your recommendation (how do you say “sight unseen” about ears instead of eyes?). However, listening to the samples on Amazon now….can’t wait ’til it arrives to hear it. Thanks for the recommendation. Looking forward to reading through the blogs (btw, loved the “Steve Taylor – Meltdown” blog).

    Stumbled on to your blog yesterday (via http://www.christianmusicfinder.com) and I’m hooked (already).

    Used to listen to KYMS non-stop in the late 70’s/early 80’s especially while commuting back and forth to Cal State Fullerton. Christian music was instrumental in drawing me to the Lord (pun intended) as a high school freshman) and, after moving to Orange County in 1974, it was very influential in my spiritual development.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on April 18, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Well, it is an .rar file and it says that windows media player can’t play this extension…..odd.

    Reply

  7. Posted by JL on June 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Love this album! Bought it when it was released, as I was working @ an indy music store. Even have one of their tour shirts. Amazing album…was searching for stuff on them when I found this site and another.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Alex on July 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hello,

    I have a lot enjoyed your Top 50 list. You have helped me with discovering new Christian music. Thank you for that.

    Have you als a Top 100 ready? An explanation is not necessary, only the titles.

    I’m looking forward for your reply!

    Alex

    Reply

  9. Posted by Griffon on September 9, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I Named my daughter Allasyn, I have listened to this album many many times over the years. My daughter always asked me how I came up with the spelling of her name and she never believed me until I gave her the CD for her Sweet 16.

    Reply

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