Kindred Spirit have been going in one form or another for more than ten years, so they are not exactly an overnight sensation, but they have paid their collective dues and now seem to be on the verge of breaking into the ‘big time’. They made various appearances at large festivals all over Europe in 2017 and this latest album, “Phoenix Rising”, their sixth, is a culmination of hard work and a burning desire to make an impact.
The band are led by the incredibly talented Elaine Samuels who has a hand in writing all the songs as well as singing lead vocals and driving the band along on acoustic guitar. Her voice soars above the instruments in the band, sometimes with joy and at others with a haunting quiver.
Now that the line-up of the band has become more solidified, the individual members can all show their musical armory. The violin parts on “Phoenix Rising” were recorded by Gavin Jones, but since then his place has been taken by the latest member of the band, Martin Ash, whose fiddle playing either leads itself to the rhythm of the song or roars away, soloing to the very devil himself.
Catherine Dimmock’s talent on flute and saxophone is not to be underestimated and acts as a perfect foil to the violin, leading to many exciting and well constructed battles between them. Dimmock’s backing vocals also give the sound an extra dimension and when she is not available, Emily Nash seamlessly steps into the musical space.
The driving rhythm section combines the bustling bass guitar runs of Mike Hislop and the drumming of legendary skins man Les Binks (ex-Judas Priest). Now this is a line-up to be reckoned with and surely there will be no stopping this band.
The music on the album, although each track follows a similar vein, is eclectic enough to give plenty of variety. From the poppy styling of “Life is a Circus” to the renaissance feeling of final track on the album, “The Phoenix”, where the violin flies off in all directions at once, the harmonies are quite beautiful. There is a wonderful cover of America’s “Horse with No Name” plus a downright hard rocker with “Feed The Fire” while the reelin’ and a rockin’ get given full reign in the aptly titled “Drunken Landlady”.
The album is excellently produced by Jez Larder and the songs are played with a driving force that is required to bring the band success, with the musical expertise shining through on all the instruments.
Of course there are comparisons to other bands, most notably to these ears to Curved Air and Jethro Tull, but that does not mean that Kindred Spirit do not have their own unique sound, as indeed they do. I am sure that with their upwards journey to fame and fortune set as it is, 2018 will be the big breakthrough year these talented musicians.
Mott the Dog rating: 5 Stars.
Elaine Samuels – vocals and acoustic guitar
Gavin Jones/Martin Ash – violin
Catherine Dimmock (or Emily Nash) – flute and saxophone, vocals
Mike Hislop – bass guitar and vocals
Les Binks – drums
Life is a Circus
Wolves at the Gate
Let’s Be Happy
It’s Not Too Late
Horse With No Name
Feed The Fire
Let the Music Set You Free
Children Of The Stars
Note: Written by Mott The Dog who can often be found chewing a bone at Jameson’s The Irish Pub on Soi AR, Northern Pattaya.