The opening song self titled "Kindred Spirit" starts with a percussive acoustic guitar riff which although is soon intertwined by a mystical flute and what I'd describe a lovely lazy violin, remains constant throughout the song giving it a mystical dreamy journey as Elaine sings angelically about searching and dreaming for a different place, a utopia maybe? Wherever it is, this CD's opening journey is pleasant.
The next song "Life is a Circus" picks up the tempo and describes the crazy fast speed we live our lives at but for Kindred Spirit this doesn't appear to be a problem as this happy song seems to embrace this fact and is delivered with a shrug of the shoulders and a smile …"watch me fly" Elaine tells us as it's definitely a song with a spring in it's step.
Then there is a turn to the more serious, dark and dare I use the term the more progressive "Wolves at the Gate" Is there no escape from these "Wolves"? There is no escaping the wonderful violin and guitar interplay here and is definitely a highlight of the album all underpinned by a dirty rhythm guitar which appears several times on the album. At seven minutes long this is one for you proggies.
"Let's be happy" sees another twist in mood and feel of the album. Elaine's voice really digs deep and she delivers a believable effort of trying to be happy although clearly in a situation she'd rather not be. Mike Hislop's bass line here underpins a happy little bit of percussion as yet again Gavin Jones' violin weaves around giving the song those less than happy overtones. One of my favourite tracks on Phoenix Rising and a definite Ear worm.
The next song is one of hope "It's not too Late", a pretty little song that I can't help feel if budgets and resources allowing would sound anthemic with an orchestra backing it in the chorus. A very well written song that can mean so much to so many for completely different reasons.
Then a cover, typical Kindred Spirit this. They have the skill at taking a cover and making it their own. This shows their experience as a working band. To include a cover on your album I think you need to add something to it and this is exactly what Kindred Spirit have done with "A horse with no name" which descends into drunken Landlady that gets as folky as it gets.
Then another twist ….."Feed the fire" back comes that distorted rhythm guitar making this a shake your big hair moment. Yes there is the lead guitar turning this into a typical rock song, but wait there is Catherine Dimmock on flute again, and the violin adds class to this track, another one of my favourites.
"It's a beautiful day" turns the album on it's head. A cheerful little ditty that just wants you to grab the old picnic hamper and blanket and disappear with friends to a field with butterflies and flowers, but just as you are wallowing amongst the long grass the deep bass introduces that dirty little rhythm guitar again as Elaine demands we "Let The music come and carry you away" love the big snare drum sound here ex Judas Priest drummer Les Binks provides the power. Again Jones on violin and Dimmock on flute add something quite special to this folk rock song.
"Children of the Stars" beautiful lyrics. We hear the welcome sound of Hislop letting go a little on the bass. The violin flute and saxophone take it in turns to delight us on another floaty song that takes you to them stars.
Then "The Phoenix" what a great ending to this eclectic album. There is a definite middle eastern quality about this song.The violin and flute take their final bow here and the use of backing vocals adds such a different feel to this track.This is a very varied and eclectic piece of work from Elaine and Kindred Spirit, I think everyone will find something to their taste on this album which delivers over an hour of music They combine their usual fine musicianship with thought provoking lyrics delivered
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Spriggan Mist – Myths and Legends Review by Elaine Samuels, April 3rd 2015
The album begins with the oriental feeling “Swimming Sky Dragon” track with its beautiful, breathy and haunting pan pipe sounds and smoky synth. Clean electric guitar sounds begin to ripple in and the whole mix is punctuated with exciting drum and vocal climaxes.
The next track, “The Fates” is a bright, jaunty look at why things happen. It has a really catchy, crowd pleasing electric guitar riff and chorus. This is the first time we hear Ann-Mari Thomas's lovely voice and there are great harmonies here too! This could actually be a pop – or dare I say it a Eurovision – song – it is so catchy!
Track 3 is called “Secrets” and looks at life through the eyes of the sea sprite and mermaid. It uses lovely, descriptive imagery of the “lands” seen by these creatures and has a hypnotic, undulating phrasing and melody.
“Brighid” is another song with Ann-Mari's lovely, breathy voice, dripping with the honey of distorted electric guitar, synth and beautiful lyrics.
“Narcissus” is a darker song about the person who takes all the adoration and attention of others and gives nothing back; just throwing them away. It has an edgier sound but still with Ann-Mari's great vocals, synth and electric guitar.
“Akhlys Mist” is much more rhythm oriented, with its stabbing bass, drum, synth and electric guitar phrases. It has a dark and compelling synergy of lyrics and melody, dealing with the moments of death!
“The Krampus” immediately reminds me of the brilliant “Supertramp”. It is a very catchy, foot-tapping number, featuring an impressive electric guitar solo, the bright melody concealing some darker lyrics. Ann-Mari's vocals are accompanied by lovely harmonies accentuated by an acapella section, which makes this number an even more pleasing listen.
The “Dragon's Fire” has a lovely, hypnotic melody, with evocative recorder and ethereal vocals full of spellbinding power calling upon the help of the dragon! This is further confirmed with the chanting at the end.
“Hel” the final song on the album has a great but unusually bouncy and uppy feel, considering the dark lyrics, about the underworld. There is another super electric guitar riff and solo in this song. The ending is particularly psychedelic, crazy and hypnotic.
This album has been beautifully produced at Denmark Studios, in Maidenhead. The sound is balanced wonderfully, the playing and singing are super and the songs are prog, folk rock gems with the mellifluous vocals, wind instruments, electric guitar and synth combined with driving rock drum and bass and punctuated by special, psychedelic moments!