Terry Sylvester

Terry Sylvester

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Terry Sylvester's debut solo album presented the Hollies' singer/guitarist as a romantic balladeer, covering territory ranging from Gordon Lightfoot-style folk-based numbers to string-laden, syrupy numbers that seemed as though they could have been lifted out of a Barry Manilow set. The slow- and mid-tempo songs on this album are less-viscerally exciting than anything on the Hollies' records of the time, though they are more than pretty enough and, in some cases, downright gorgeous; at his best, with the right song, such as the opener, "Pick up the Pieces," Sylvester can ascend to Paul McCartney territory as a romantic singer; elsewhere he's less memorable but the arrangements are pretty enough to carry him; and, still elsewhere, in one spot, the mix of sappy lyrics and overly cute choruses can border on the embarrassing. The most entertaining number here is "Mary Anne," which incorporates elements of West Indies music reminiscent of "Carry-Anne." "Pick up the Pieces," "Make My Day," and "It's Better off This Way" also have considerable appeal, with strong Sylvester vocals soaring over lush synthesizers and electric and acoustic guitar accompaniment. "The Trees, the Flowers and the Shame" is the most haunting song here, its dark and mysterious lyric holding the listener along with its beautiful melody. And then there's "Indian Girl," a re-recording of a song that the Hollies also cut two years earlier -- it's lighter-textured than the rest of the album, showcasing Sylvester as a guitarist-singer, and just about makes up for the pop excesses elsewhere on the record.

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