There is always a thin line in what is progressive rock and what is not. Take for example the album we received from Elaine Samuels & Kindred Spirit Band. Their album Elemental is on my desk for a review. The bands third release after Metamorphosis (2009) and Phoenix Rising (2015, see review).
Let me first introduce the main musicians who recorded the album. The West London UK based five-piece band was formed in the late 1990s and led by singer-songwriter/guitarist Elaine Samuels. I guess she must be very fortunate to have two excellent, classically trained musicians in the band. Namely Martin Ash (violin and viola) and Catherine Dimmock (flute and saxophone.). Furthermore are in the band Mike Hislop (bass) alongside Aleem Saleh and Les Binks (ex- Judas Priest) on drums. But also Stevie Mitchell has a role on this album by playing cello and sax on several tracks.
In our review of Phoenix Rising the music by this act was described as a nice mix of almost classic folk, folk prog and renaissance folk, but also some (not really) straight forward rock.
And now four years later maybe the same description can be used. Maybe not so strange if you consider that every act throughout the years of their career probably always comes up with the same style of music.
So the question certainly comes up if this release is suitable for a review on a website which mainly writes about progressive rock and related styles. Well at first I think so, because we had reviewed a release from this act. Listening to twelve tracks I noticed that the progressive rock influences are this time around less to the foreground as on their previous release. But they are still there if you listen carefully and more often to Elemental. The following songs got my interest:
Daemons, A number about not letting the daemons in; running from them but ultimately fighting them with your will.
Red Red Rose, a number about the book of revelation.
Feelin Good, A cover made famous by Nina Simone and Muse, which they have made their own, because their fans have asked them to record it.
All three of them have more or less progressive rock influences. Most of all the instruments such as flute, violin and viola which brought me into progressive rock territories. Listening to the flute parts on those songs and sometimes also the vocal performances made me think of a band such as Mostly Autumn. Most of all their earlier period with Heather Findlay on vocals and Angela Gordon on flute. Don't get me wrong, Elaine Samuels & Kindred Spirit Band is certainly not a band you can compare with Mostly Autumn. And they certainly don't have to be like this band. They are just going to attract on their own merit an audience. No doubt about it. Because they certainly have songs which are rather enjoyable. Most of all if you are into a nice mix of classic folk rock and straight forward rock.
Even if the progressive rock level is rather low on this release you can say that nevertheless, Elemental is an enjoyable disc. Because as mentioned before there is always a thin line in what is progressive rock and what is not.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2019