Album review: ELAINE SAMUELS & KINDRED SPIRIT BAND – Elemental

ELAINE SAMUELS & KINDRED SPIRIT BAND - Elemental

[Release date 02.11.19]

Folk rock imbued with flute?  It’s impossible not to make Tull/Anderson comparisons.  Violin – Curved Air anyone?

But Elaine Samuels and her Kindred Spirits (no relation Siobhan Maher’s all too short lived post River City People liaison with The Bangles’ Debbi Peterson), while folk rooted, have more in common with Sam Brown’s solo works and some of Renaissance’s more concise material.

And with sax also prevalent in the mix, Elemental is a rather charming, mildly proggy release from a band with a fluctuating line-up of players including, on this occasion, the classically trained Catherine Cooper (flute, sax and backing vocals), Mike Hislop (guitars), Stevie Mitchell (cello, sax and backing vocals) and Les Binks (ex Judas Priest) and Aleem Saleh on drums, depending on availability.

One of many endearing things about the album is its unassuming nature.  No reaching for the stars and falling short.  No showiness, no dramatics.  Just a really strong, welcoming set, played with an organic warmth and musicality rarely encountered these days.

And while vocalist and song writer Elaine Samuels may not have Annie Haslam’s five octave range, there’s something about her engaging delivery that frequently brings the Renaissance front woman, and Sam Brown, to mind (which is pretty exalted company).

Something of a throwback to what many listeners will consider ‘better days’ with elements of folk, rock, and blues through to reels and jigs, it’s the latest release in a well-hidden catalogue that spans back to mid-nineties, but which has only really begun to garner a mild head of steam with the well-received Phoenix Rising (2015).

Baby Boomers seeking to ‘turn back time’ are therefore strongly recommended to investigate further.  And full marks for a particularly comprehensive website.  Excellent stuff!  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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