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Affinity - Affinity CD (album) cover

AFFINITY

Affinity

 

Eclectic Prog

3.71 | 102 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Of all the groups that came and went during the progressive rock boom of the early 1970's, Affinity were perhaps one of the most intriguing. With just one full-length studio album under their belts, this Sussex-based outfit seemingly came-and-went in the flash of an eye, the obvious quality of their self-titled debut ignored by the fickle record-buying public for reasons best known to themselves. However, as seems to be the trend with these things, Affinity's brief tenure in the British pop landscape has survived the intervening decades with impressive popularity, with much posthumous kudos heaped upon the six jazz-tinged tracks that make up this wholly eclectic album. The group themselves emerged from the beer-and- smoke stained concert halls of West Sussex, a green, homely and quintessentially British county South of London where the University of Sussex - the group's formative home - was, not surprisingly, based. Featuring a line-up comprised of Linda Hoyle(vocals), Mo Foster(bass), Michael Jupp(guitars), Lynton Naiff(piano, harpsichord, vibraphone) and Grant Serpell(drums), Affinity enjoyed limited success on the road, building up a small-but- enthusiastic following which eventually led to a deal with Phillips progressive imprint Vertigo Records(home to the likes of Juicy Lucy, Black Sabbath and an early, psych-flavoured version of Status Quo) which in turn led them to record their first, and only, album. The group were helped along their(short) journey by jazz-man Ronnie Scott, who was so impressed by the five-piece that he subsequently became their manager, booking them tours in jazz clubs across Europe and even snaring them a spot on the BBC's prestigious Jazz Club radio show, a spot usually reserved for more traditional purveyors of the genre. Perhaps spurred on by Miles Davis unique electronic excursions into the hither uncharted territories of jazz- rock fusion with his post-1969 albums 'Bitches Brew' and 'Dark Magus'(too name but a few), more and more groups were starting to merge the idioms of rock and jazz with increasing success on both sides of the Atlantic. Affinity, although leaning more towards progressive- and-psychedelic rock elements, sported a refined jazz-edge, prevalent on such tunes as their blistering, guitar-heavy version of 'Hey Joe' and the more relaxed, almost playful 'Night Flight'. These songs, along with the more conventional tracks 'Mr Joy', 'Three Sisters' and 'Coconut Grove', showcased a unique outfit who were willing to do things slightly differently, as evidenced by having a female lead-singer, a rare occurence in Western rock music at the time. Sadly, thought, despite the many interesting ingredients Affinity had to offer, it seemed their refined mixture of sounds and styles proved a touch high-brow for the era's rock fans, and not quite authentic enough for the jazz lovers. And it's a shame. 'Affinity'(the album, not the band) is great little release, filled with expert musicianship and stylish grooves, and the group's muscular version of 'Hey Joe', which clocks in at around the ten-minute mark, is still one of the defining versions of the oft-recorded song. Progressive rock fans who enjoy the similarly-styled jazz-flecked rock of Colosseum, Nucleus, Samurai or The Advancement should find much to admire here, with the only real disappointment being the lack of a follow-up. Otherwise, this is very Impressive stuff. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 4/5 |

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