Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit - Phoenix Rising album review

Folky clan celebrates life and the other-worldly.

Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit - Phoenix Rising album artwork

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The brainchild of singer/songwriter Elaine Samuels, KS have clocked up a handful of self-released albums.

Recorded in 2015, Phoenix Rising is enjoying a recent re-launch, a second bite at experiencing its folk rock vibe and unashamedly new age sensibilities. Boasting numerous contributors (including ex-Judas Priest drummer Les Binks), Catherine Dimmock’s flute and Gavin Jones’ violin are most notable. Samuels provides consistency – a soft-edged Sonja Kristina at times bearing resemblance to 10,000 Maniacs’ Natalie Merchant. Listening to Phoenix Rising it’s understandable that Samuels has spoken of difficulties finding a niche, often perceived as falling between rock and folk camps. Jaunty yet unfussy ditty It’s A Beautiful Day rubs shoulders with the tempered electric folk rock of Feed The Fire, and the dark suggestion of Wolves At The Gate runs straight into the guileless easy listening of Let’s Be Happy. It’s Not Too Late and the two final tracks Children Of The Stars and The Phoenix are the most rich and layered offerings here, with the band at its most evocative and effective. Musically more charming than challenging, it’s the underlying themes of hope and spirituality that are likely to resonate most widely.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.