Album Reviews

"The Watchers" Album Reviews

Shire Folk (Jan - April 2003, No. 77)

This is a personal magnum opus that will I am sure appeal to existing fans and followers. However the test will be whether it draws others to the flame. The lyrics draw heavily on metaphores of wonder and love, and the messages are generally hopeful. They're mostly basrd on the songwriter's personal views, but these seem abstract and hard to pin down. The backing is mainly folk rock based, with some nice electric guitar and fiddle on several pieces. There's a clear attempt to use different styles but the production seems to push the instruments together, and as a result that large sections of the album sound very similar. Overall the album feels over-ambitious and would have benefited from more judicious editing and mixing.
                                                                                                   Pat Green 


Tradition (No. 4 Autumn Equinox 2003) - More on Tradition magazine

Elaine Samuels is a consummate songwriter and singer who has developed her skills over many years and she proclaims herself more excited about this album than any of her previous ones. It's a testimony to her undiminished songcraft that she can sustain interest over 16 diverse tracks with a stylistic cohesion and an unshakable ring of confidence. The yearning scope of the title song, inspired by both a trip to the Tower of London and a train journey into the capital is anchored by expressive voicing and laced with a gentle flute part from Annie Parker yet given a propulsive drama by Russell Morgan's drums.

Other musicians joining Kindred Spirit on this album include Saskia Tomkins and Steafan Hannigan. All the Kindred Spirit musicians play with freshness and musical savvy throughout. I especially liked Sim Jones' sensitive electric guitar on Eddie devoted to the intrepid ski jumper of a headline grabbing 15 minutes of fame some years back.

Elaine's writing is rooted in the concepts of melody and form - she structures her songs well around clearly defined hooklines, and whilst occasionally lapsing into whimsy, this is by and large an adventurous and clever CD.

A lightness of touch often conceals a deeper intent - The Child Inside - for example which concerns the golden days of childhood would do credit to Kate Bush and there are many pleasant surprises here.

Ecological concerns, personal statements of love, dreams and aspirations, night drives home - they're all here and all grist to Samuels' mill. A mixed bag then but a compelling one nevertheless and I'd imagine that a visit to would pay dividends.

A worthwhile release with its heart in the right place.
                                                                                                     Clive Pownceby