‘Phoenix Rising’ from Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit progressive folk transitioning through style and feel(April 03, 2015)
Trying to ‘pin down’ the album ‘Phoenix Rising’ from Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit is something of a task, when you think you have it fixed, it slides away. The overall impression is progressive folk transitioning through style and feel - otherworldly wraithlike meanderings, faintly eerie overtones, lost hope tinged with dark sadness and the resilience of an eternal optimism.
Age could well dictate the conclusions drawn on this album. There’s a ‘throwback’ feel to somewhere in the late sixties listening to smusic in darkened rooms, perhaps an echo or two of a certain ‘summer of love' or possibly a sense of some intense searching through music for sense and meaning. Whatever it turns out to be it will only be fleeting as the intriguing mix morphs as you listen through a coming together of complex musical threads involving searing violin, echoing flute driving guitar and synths. There are faerie-folk echoes within ‘Kindred Spirits’ with flute and acoustic guitars, the joyful ‘Life is a Circus’ holding a fatalistic examination of life, ominous foreboding in ‘Wolves At The Gate’ and a strange dream-experience narrative of ‘It’s Not Too Late’ before the harder driving guitar-ripped warnings of ‘Feed The Fire’ and a call to immerse in the balm of music with ‘Let The Music Set You Free’ seethe progression flow and coalesce. The inclusion of Dewey Bunnell’s ‘Horse With No Name’ is slightly incongruous with the original recorded by America making it hard to break new ground.
‘Phoenix Rising’ features Elaine Samuels (lead vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion programming) with contribution on selected tracks from Gavin Jones (violin, backing vocals) Catherine Dimmock (flute, saxophone, backing vocals) Chris Goode (congas, tambourine, keyboard synth) Steve Hutchinson (backing vocals) Mike Hislop (bass guitar, backing vocals) Les Binks (drums) David Rowe (drums, percussion) Jez Larder (programming, synths, percussion) and Phil Martin (electric guitar, backing vocals).
Reviewer: Charlie Elland