It might not have been Chris Squire's band that rock royalty showed up for at London's legendary Marquee Club in 1967. The Beatles, the Stones, Clapton, Page, and Townshend were there to check out some cat named Hendrix, who was debuting in the U.K. But Squire's outfit, the Syn, did open the show, as it had for a number of other rising '60s stars -- Pink Floyd and Cream, for instance. And, besides, it wouldn't be that many years before this bassist, who possessed formidable facility and the cleanest of tones, would himself join the royal ranks as a member of prog-rock icon Yes.
The instrumentation and aesthetics of that celebrated lot are alive and well in the Syn's 21st-century reincarnation, which includes another founding member of the band, vocalist Stephen Nardelli. The polished, multitextured sound is populated by classically tinged keyboards, graceful melodies, and more utopian references than you can shake a stick at, all underpinned by Squire's lyrical bass work. Syndestructible, released last fall, is a tasteful and varied set that recalls prog-rock's golden days and is being hailed by some as the rebirth of the genre. Whether it manages to live up to that lofty designation remains to be seen, but either way, Squire's crew will still generate welcome sounds for many.