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AFFINITY

Affinity

Eclectic Prog


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In the early 70's a number of Jazz/Prog rock outfits signed and recorded with Vertigo Records with AFFINITY being one of the stellar acts. AFFINITY were a 4 piece band led by lead singer Linda Hoyle (who has a gorgeous and powerful epic style voice) and keyboardist Lynton Naiff who plays some scrumptious 70's analog keys. Songs are nice and varied with the overall album posing a highly 70's styled music. Of instant attraction for me here was the fine bass, guitar and drum interplay which along with Hoyle vocals will make you drool. At times AFFINITY carries a "psychy" feel to their music and when combined with the orchestration gives the listener a wild connection. AFFINITY were a highly original band who wrote and recorded 1 fantastic album with great virtuosity and color. One of the finest examples of their musical competence is found on 12 minute version of "All Along The Watchtower". The fine folks at Repertoire have included a couple of bonus tracks from AFFINITY which nicely closes the chapter in this superb charming bands history. A great discovery...!
Report this review (#30709)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Highly recommended by collectioner around the world before Repertoire Records released it in CD , this prog-blues record is the only real release from the band and not a bad one really . I would've loved this had I discovered it in the 70's but I only like it as I found out in the mid-90's. Why would twenty years make a difference? Well for one I am twenty years older and my musical progression made forget a bit about blues and although I still love the bluesy rock albums that I dicovered at the time (souvenirs from my youth) , I have not the fond memories/nostalgia linked to it for this one . This is still a fine album well worth the discovery, as there are lots to please the 70's addict.
Report this review (#30710)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes...i concur with my fellow reviewers...well,almost ..this being a well sought after item.. actually its a funny thing....those sought after lp´s on vinyl...vertigo label or otherwise.. have a tendency to become "rare" and not excatly for their exuberance musically. Affinity are a quite nice "little" thing...with Linda Hoyle on fabulous vocals.....and the music is...well....sort of...soul/pop/rock....IMO not really the thing for this site. However its a nice album...with nice tunes...nothing more !! Rare,but not essential, in prog terms that is !!! Now, if you´ll excuse me..ill´go put on Glasshammer!! Have a nice summer!!

Report this review (#30711)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars AFFINITY's self-titled album from 1970 is one of the best English progressive albums ever. This album has been available on CD before, but this new Angel Air edition contains no less than 8 bonus tracks. The original LP was released on the well-known Vertigo label, which at the time were one of the most interesting labels for progressive rock. The value of the original LP has reached £100.

Their music is a blend of blues, jazz-rock and progressive rock with lots of nice Hammond organ. The band had a fantastic female vocalist in Linda Hoyle. AFFINITY started writing for a second album, but in January 1971 Linda left the band and that was the end for the whole band.

If you're into 70's progressive rock this album should have its given place in your collection, and if you haven't already got it you should buy it immediately.

Report this review (#30712)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The criteria for giving four stars says it all, this is a very good album, and of course an exellent addition to any collection. My CD issue, purchased from recordheaven.net, has fourteen tracks total, with four extra live bounustracks. A very nice addition, I think. Anyway; this one is for those who love a good hammond-sound! And they are not afraid to use it. The majestetic voice of Linda Hoyle is wonderful all through, and you find a couple of really good coversongs here; "i am the walrus" and the 11-minut hammond orgy "all along the watchtower". Very cool, guitars and hammond give it like we all love. Other highlights are "nightflight", "three sisters", and "mr.joy" . All in all a very, very good album!

Report this review (#30713)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars AFFINITY was a short-lived band that released one album and one single in 1970 and then spilt up. They were a highly regarded band and looked upon with much promise as the one of the new wave of jazz-rock fusion artists. With an effective blend of folk, jazz, soul, blues, and rudiments of modern-day psychedelia and progressive rock, it simply was not fair to put them into any one classification of music. With the powerful vocals of Linda Hoyle leading the way, it looked as though the band had quite a future ahead of them. It was not in the cards unfortunately. What they left for us was a superb achievement by any musical standards, and that includes the most important factors such as sound, production, and musicianship.

The original LP artwork is packaged and reproduced beautifully; it comes displayed on traditional gatefold sleeves with original reviews of the LP and liner notes. The180-gram virgin vinyl renders a gorgeous sound and highlights Ms. Hoyles' excellent vocals. What comes as a real surprise is their version of Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower." It runs for over 11 minutes and it stands as one of the very best versions I have ever heard, and that includes HENDRIX's classic version.

This is very progressive music for its day; in fact, logic dictates that it was more than likely considered a little on the extreme side in 1970. I cannot help but think how this group would have evolved if they had stayed together for a few more albums.

Rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#30714)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Album released in 1970 "Affinity". There is an eerie scale in the sound. This age is really peculiar to atmosphere. Music that the cool, melancholic atmosphere is rich in variety has been put together. It is a work that has various problems. However, a painful, melancholic mood that drifts in the whole has splendidly brought the total together. And, it is Keef to say nothing of having taken the photograph of the jacket.
Report this review (#61714)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The jazz influences of this charming album seem to come from bluesy soul music, so the rhythms are not chaotic, and the music is accessible and easy to listen to. The brass dominated orchestrations accompanied with the instrumentation of the early 70's create a pleasant sound texture, which resembles Uriah Heep's jazzy maneuvers on "Salisbury" and the music of Mogul Thrash. The beautiful voice of Linda Hoyle also shares the voice range of the male hard-rock singers of the 1970's certainly. What I found sad about this record was the fact that all of the tracks except "Three Sisters" and "All Along The Watchtower" ended up to a fadeout (I have been listening to a CD version with two bonus tracks). This felt annoying, especially on the fourth song, where Linda is just starting to get it seriously from Mr. Joy, and then her ecstatic voices are muffled by the engineer with a fade-out fetish. If you are not allergic to this kind of treatments, then the listening experience should be more rewarding. I'm certainly going to check out Linda's Solo album and the other posthumous instrumental recordings of this band, as the music sounds very good despite the mixing solutions.
Report this review (#83965)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Affinity's sole release in their lifetime is this S/T album. Originally on the famed 'Vertigo' label and highly collectable, the wonderful Italian label 'Akarma' is responsible for re-issuing this (and many other prog rarities) with an affordable price tag, and even pressing this one onto orange vinyl !! Stylistically, the album covers many aspects of music from straight forward pop/rock (I Am And So Are You, I Wonder If I Care As Much), to 'underground' groove with 'Three Sisters', soft rock (Cocoanut Grove, Mr. Joy), the more typically progressive tunes being 'Night Flight' and their rendition of 'All Along The Watchtower. The music is superbly performed, with loads of excellent Hammond organ soloing from keyboardist Lynton Naiff (funny how the organ isn't even credited in the gatefold), solid bass playing from future studio session ace Mo Foster, competent drumming from Grant Serpell and the seductive voice of Lynda Hoyle, which can be ever so soft and sweet, or fiery and aggressive. Even guitarist Mike Jupp gets a chance to shine.

The lengthy 'Night Flight' (7.15) is a beauty - a precisely composed piece, book-ended with soft, melancholic verses, with the mid-section Hammond solo sounding very much like Atomic Rooster's Vincent Crane and the vocals sung to perfection by Lynda. 'Watchtower' goes on for 11.36, and features extended Hammond work-outs, and a grand, GRAND finale. It's huge !! 'Mr Joy' is an excellent track, showcasing the dynamics of Hoyle's voice, backed by rather sombre music. Of the remaining tracks, only their version of the Everly's 'I Wonder If I care As Much' is a rather weak choice, and the bonus tracks of 'Eli's Coming' and 'United States of Mind' being firmly 'pop' oriented. Another album deserving a 4 star rating though.

Report this review (#104981)
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Affinity was great rock group although it is not really prog band. Officialy they released just this one album and it is a great debut.

Linda Hoyle has nice covered voice and surely is one of the stars among women singers. All members are professionals and the musical part of album is pretty good. As for genres, it is mainly some light psychedelic music with strong stress on hammond and keyboards. The opening track has nice brass section arranged by John Poul Jones from Led Zeppelin. The highlight is the cover of All along the watchtower. I have CD from Angel Air with a lot of bonus material. Some of those are not very good in sound, but another cover I'm the walrus (not so well known song from Beatles) is nice.

This album is great, but it is not very prog and that's why I give it 3,5 stars. But it is necessary for everyone.

Report this review (#104995)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe it's not a prog album in the vein of King Crimson, Pink Floyd or Genesis. Maybe it's not even prog. But, after all, it's a very good album ad money well spend. Gentle, hippie music. The best version of All Along The Watchtower I've ever heard. Ang also great tracks such as Night Flight, I Am An So Are You, Three Sisters. I have this lp released by Akarma and it sounds better than the Repertoire version. If you like good old rock music, female vocals and great hippie climax than you must buy this album.
Report this review (#108980)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Have given this a full 5 stars without a second thought, this LP is simply sublime. Indeed many may argue about those long lost rarities being not up to scratch, but this is. The only only 'official' release by the band, which is a shame, If they could churn this out as a debut, god knows what else they could have had in store for us. It still amazes me, how good this is, as it is made up of many cover versions. Indeed, their version of All Along The Watch tower, covered by many, is by far the best rendition I've heard - Yes even Hendrix I'm afraid.

All tracks benefit hugely from the brilliant vocal abilities of Linda Hoyle. She has power and soul. Possibly the most underated vocalist of all time. Just listen to the track Mr Joy. Reminds me of the James Bond theme that never was!

Her backing band are pretty damn fine as well. The keyboards are the real highlight, reminding me of ATOMIC ROOSTER at times, which is of course a good thing. Hard rocking, jazzy tunes, with brass sections mixed with gentle ballads, it just works so well. Every track is excellent. When you've finished reading this, click onto and music retail site, find this album and hit the 'buy' button. Reissues on vinyl and cd are easy to find, some as you can see with bonus tracks. Expect to pay mega ££££ for an original though.

AMAZING!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#123184)
Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I found this music according violent attemptions to listen some like Catapilla. In one article they mentions together, both Catapilla's albums were listened by me a lot of times, and I eagerly want listen something in this style...But...but when I heard soft sounds of 'I am and so are you' I... no, I wasn't disappointed, I generally nothing understood -- It was absolutely dissimilar. Affinity seems to me inexpressive.. compositions, music.. and vocals... Sugar voice (Linda Hoyle) got to remind everything, but not about progressive...But melodies original and very pleasant. 'Night Fligt' I sonsider enen romantic. 'Three Sisters' is nearer to hard rock. In my opinion, sole avant-garde composition on an Album is All Along The Wathtower turned out cover of Bob Dylan. It difficult to compare but this version I like more than cover of Jimi Hendrix. And on my CD was two bonus tracks (later I had knew, hat they were released as single before album). Eli's Coming -- simply wonderful! So rich, rainbow music... It's not what I waited, but came real discovery for me!
Report this review (#164017)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Affinity were a short-lived group of quite talented musicians who played a style of music best described as blues-based but created by folks who knew more than a little bit about jazz, and certainly weren’t above ripping off some fat and funky B3 keyboards when the mood suited them.

Formed from the ashes of forgotten sixties act Ice, the quintet was fronted by the powerful and ranging vocals of Linda Hoyle, who runs the gamut between from heavy rock (“Three Sisters”) to the almost lounge-act jazz of “Cocoanut Grove” to an early version of new-wave with the peppy girl-band sounding “Eli's Coming”. Her voice suits the music very well throughout, although the one place it is nearly absent she isn’t necessarily missed; on the funky and clearly improvised cover of “All Along the Watchtower”.

The musicianship is top-notch on every track, even if the group does not seem to have any clear sense of what sort of band they want to be. Besides the tracks already described, there is the mostly acoustic and folksy toe-tapper “United States of Mind” with catchy guitar work courtesy of Mike Jupp (Hoyle sounds exactly like the Canadian singer Martha Johnson of the 70s group Martha & the Muffins (“Echo Beach”); there’s also the original jam composition “Night Flight” in which a very talented Lynton Naiff totally wails on the Hammond and a variety of other keyboards; and the wafer-light “Mr. Joy” that has a cool bass riff from famous session musician Mo Foster but is otherwise a bit too long and lacking a bit in spark.

I can’t really decide if I like this record or am simply mildly curious about it. Affinity is a band that is often mentioned as a lost ‘gem’ of the late psych days, but really I don’t hear much here that is striking or ground-breaking. The one thing I would say is they managed to put out a very solid album of well-played music in 1970 without being too dependent on either psych, folk or rocking blues; which is in itself a bit of a feat.

Hoyle would depart the band and the music business shortly after this album released, although she did first manage to crank out a solo record that included future Nucleus and Soft Machine member Karl Jenkins. Jupp would go on to play for Michael d'Abo, while Lynton Naiff would appear on a long list of artist’s albums and tours for years including Queen, Real Thing, Blonde on Blonde and Delegation. Drummer Grant Serpell moved on to the 70s pop group Sailor, and Foster, like Naiff, would enjoy a lengthy career in studio and tour work.

This isn’t a masterpiece and it isn’t indispensable, but it is a decent record. I’d probably go with two stars and consider it a curio more than anything, but the solid musicianship deserves more respect than that, so three stars and recommended to folks who are willing to spend a little time and money on music from the past that is worth the time to rediscover.

peace

Report this review (#227182)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The only album of short-lived British band. Not too many prog fans know this name, I think.

The music is excellent there, if you like cool,dreamy and melancholic sound. Songs are melodic and include mix of blues-rock, jazz-rock, soft psychedelia and early progressive.

Female voice (Linda Hoyle) are beautiful and both together with all music buid very pleasant sound dreamy pictures. All the music is based on r'n'b structures, similar to Trinity/Brian Auger's music of that time. And Linda Hoyle's voice is often similar to Julie Tippett's.

There are strong bass line , plenty of brass and rich Hammond line in all songs. If you like Auger/Julie Tippett/Trinity music ( as I am), you will really enjoy Affinity .

Original LP is great rarity, but there are some re-issues in the market. I own Vertigo/Repertoire CD re-release with two added tracks, but some re-releases can offer till 8 bonuses!

I absolutely enjoy this beautiful music and only pity is that the band released just this one album!

Report this review (#252461)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Very nice little known british band that released only one album during their brief career. If you ever wonder where those 80´s acts like Everything But The Girl, Basia, Swing Out Sister and others got their inspiration from, this CD is a good clue: soft singing female vocals, cool jazz, R&B, bossa nova, soul music, gospel and a little prog. It´s all there. Affinity was doing it more than ten years before any of those artists. And although the production is not top notch, is still adequate for the style.

It is only a pity that this group did not stayed around longer. Their mix would prove to be a successful one some time later. And those guys (and lady) were indeed very talented. I just loved the tasteful arrangements with heavy use of Hammond organ, a versatile rhythm section and nice jazzy guitar lines. And, above all, the cool voice of Linda Hoyle. She had a style of her own that combines the soft and the strong side of the woman in music. And even if their 11 minute version of Dylan´s All Along The Watchtower was not entirely satisfying, their self titled album proves Affinity as a strong force in the competitive british scene of the late 60´s. Night Flight, a powerful tune mixing all elements mentioned above in a 7 minute track, is the CD´s highlight. My copy has two short bonus tracks that sit well with the original ones.

A hard album to rate. In a progressive site like this I think this CD is very good, but not really essential, as the progressive element is present, but in a very subtle way. So I guess 3,5 stars is quite fitting.

Report this review (#254334)
Posted Saturday, December 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Affinity - s/t (1970)

The review is based on the two bonus-tracks vinyl reprint of the album.

Affinity is one of the most famous infamous bands among vinyl collectors. There is little reason for being an unknown group, for there only albums is quite good. All musicians are professional, the recording is good for the time being, the artwork is strong and the mixture of styles that are presented is original. At first I was blown away by the great vocals of female vocalist Linda Hoyl with a low-pitched voice for a woman. Her jazzy vocal style gives the music a very 'classy' feel. The guitars of Mike Jupp are very good, he has a perfect 1970 hard rock sound and his solo's are good. The rhythmical section also strikes me as very professional. The wind-section reminds me a bit of Chicago, but Affinity uses is more functional in my opinion. The wind-section is often used to 'thicken' the harmonic structures. The key's remind me a bit of Colosseum.

The composition of Affinity are quite remarkable. Their mix of jazz and rock is perhaps better then Chicago on it's best. This is due to the stylish sound of the band. Mr. Joy stands out as a very provocative track about a 'toy', but the composition of the song is also very atmospheric. The performance of Linda Hoyl is very courageous here. Three Sisters is one of my favorite tracks of the album because it's a very catchy jazz-rocker with great vocals and powerful arrangements. The main riff reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin. The long version of All Along the Watchtower is quite progressive and very atmospheric. The solo's are good.

Conclusion. This album features a warm combination of hard-rock, improvisational rock, jazz- rock, vocal jazz and some psychedelic vibes. Perhaps the album has no outstanding moments, but it's satisfying throughout and the two bonus-tracks are also a good extra. A very good addition for fans of early hard rock and jazz-rock. Also recommended to collectors of rare music. Four stars.

Report this review (#300328)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A pleasant enough showcase for the organ skills of Lynton Naiff - especially in the cover of All Along the Watchtower, which seems as though it's going to follow the Dylan version fairly loyally before his wild soloing appears - the sole Affinity album is a nice enough early Vertigo release which many prog fans will enjoy. It's an especially good pick if you like some jazz and very light psych touches in your prog mixture, though even then it's only good, not great.

In particular, I found that singer Linda Hoyle's vocals just aren't very interesting - it sounds like she's trying to be a fusion answer to Janis Joplin or Grace Slick at points, and she doesn't quite manage it. Anna Meek from fellow Vertigo act Catapilla succeeds much better, to my mind - and to be honest, I find Catapilla (or even Valentyne Suite-era Colosseum) to be a better example of organ-driven early jazz-prog than Affinity. Still, if you're into this particular seam of prog - one left comparatively abandoned after the early 1970s and seems to have been the sole purview of the Vertigo label - the Affinity's only album is worth a listen. But it's probably not quite worth digging out a super-expensive vinyl copy.

Report this review (#466410)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album 'got to me' in my teens, when music was a sled, a seesaw, a white bicycle, a rollercoaster, a magic carpet ride-usually all in one album.

I was working in radio then, and would often dig through the stacks of LPs that never would get played, gather as many as I could carry down from the attic or up from the fallout shelter, camp out in a production studio, and listen for hours...

There was a lot of music I was not ready for then; but this album got me in its groove. It was the beginning of a lifelong enjoyment of what it creates in me when I listen.

My notion of this album? It's a richly satisfying journey through a timeless time in 1970, when the Muse worked Special Magic through these people, their instuments, and the supporting cast. Rough production values? I kinda love the roughness. Sounds real. Pre-Plastic.

I listen freshly eared each time, and it continues to weave its spell around me...

Thank you for reading this, if you got this far...

Sillybear969

P.S. If I could I'd give it a 6th star, for "Leaves me wishing they'd had enough material for at least one more album(s) at the time..."

P.P.S. This is a review of the original vinyl album. Haven't heard any other songs by the original group; not sure I'd want to after reading the other reviews.

Report this review (#496405)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
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
Report this review (#547351)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The roots of Affinity go back in mid-60's and the friendship of classmates Lynton Naiff (keyboards) and Grant Serpell (drums), both students at the University of Sussex in Brighton.They played together in a band called Ice for a year or so after their graduation and continued to work together in a new band, for which old friend and bassist Mo Foster was called.Through auditions they found guitarist Mike Jopp from the act The Tridents and later teacher Linda Hoyle was brought in for the vocal duties.Since their official formation in 1968 Affinity became an instant call in various clubs of London, leading to a contract with Vertigo and an eponymous album in 1970.Actually ''Affinity'' was released through three different labels in 11 countries worldwide, from New Zealand to South Africa.

''Affinity'' was a collection of original compositions and personal cover versions with the absolute standout being the 11-min. reworking on Bob Dylan's ''All along the watchtower".The band in fact was formed out of the need of Naiff and Serpell to combine the accesible forms of Pop Music with the freedom given by Jazz improvisations, so reasonably the album is dominated by these sources of inspiration with a good bunch of bluesy and psychedelic colors along the way.The short tracks apparently are the most poppy ones as well with simplistic song structures and an instrumental background of nrass instruments, soft guitars and outdated organ, while the longer ones contain flashes of the Proto-Prog sound in early-70's Britain.''Night flight'' for example is a mix of soft Psychedelic Pop, organ-driven Psych Rock and a jazzy jamming section with nervous organ soloing and a rhythmic background.''Mr. Joy'' is pure poetry, a dreamy and lyrical piece of intelligent Art Rock with bluesy and jazzy vibes, driven by the electric piano of Naiff and the outstanding voice of Hoyle.''Three Sisters'' is closer to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, an aggressive form of loosy Psychedelic Rock with another great performance by Hoyle and the electric guitars/organ in evidence.''All along the watchtower" clocks at almost 12 minutes and comes as a combination of tricky sounds from the past and future of British Rock, actually a very groovy track all the way, borrowing the freedom of Jazz, resulting to a vastly instrumental execution with quirky organ moves and solos, which remind me of old DEEP PURPLE.

Very much a product of its time, which has stood well in the sands of time, but the progressive content is rather limited.This is well-played, free-spirited Psychedelic Rock with a great female singer and an orgasmic keyboardist leading the sound.Rather dated but still recommended.

Report this review (#1300172)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars AFFINITY were a Jazz-Rock quintet led by vocalist Linda Hoyle. The group formed in Brighton on the south coast of England in 1965. Their one and only studio album, eponymously titled "Affinity" was released in 1970 just before the band broke up and went their different ways. There were two bonus tracks included in the 1993 CD reissue of the album and eight bonus tracks on the 2002 re-mastered album. Four compilation CD's of early material were released in the early 2000's.

The album opens in bright and lively style with "I Am and So Are You", an intriguingly-titled song with these cryptic lyrics, "I am a singer of songs, A writer of wrongs, A dreamer of sighs, A hater of lies, so are you, And so are you."..... I am liking this song, and so will you. The song romps along in traditional 4/4 time with a solid brass section in accompaniment. Now get on board for, "Night Flight". It's the second-longest song on the albim, running at over 7 minutes long. It features these enigmatic lyrics, "My window looks out onto night and darkness comes, And birds in flight without a sound, Night is strange, My spirit floats out into space on silver wings, And joins the birds without a sound." ..... The song has a very melancholic and laid-back opening before bursting into life with impressive energy and vigour. Linda Hoyle's emotional vocals carry the song along on a flight of fancy with a powerful instrumental Jazz break halfway through the song, featuring some nifty finger-work on the Hammond organ. This stimulating number is sure to keep the listener entertained with it's constant changes of tempo and impressive vocals. Next comes "I Wonder If I'll Care As Much", a cover version of a little-known Everly Brothers song. This emotionally appealing, beautiful ballad really tugs at the heartstrings when Linda Hoyle passionately sings, "Last night I've cried myself to sleep, For the one that made me weep, I've dried my eyes to greet the day, I wonder why I had to pay." ..... It's often the saddest songs that are the best, and that's certainly the case here, and it represents one of the highlights of the album. After the sadness comes "Mr. Joy", a bluesy song to close out Side One with the refrain, "Mr Joy, He's a toy, You can wind him up, And he'll do anything you want him too." They're not exactly earth-shattering lyrics but Linda Hoyle sounds like she's really enjoying herself in this song with her breathless gasps and moans towards the end. It makes you wonder who or what "Mr Joy" actually is. The mind boggles...... And so, on to Side Two as we flip the album over and begin with "Three Sisters", a brassy up-tempo Jazz-Rock number to set those feet tapping and get the drinks flowing. Just try not to spill your drink though while you're dancing along to this bright and lively number. There's a change of pace now with the next song, "Coconut Grove", a gently laid-back acoustic cover version of the well-known Lovin' Spoonful song. You can lie back and put your feet up on the veranda and sip on a pina colada to really get into the spirit of this warmly melodic song. Now for the grand finale, a pulsating powerhouse performance of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", which was of course made famous by Jimi Hendrix. This tremendous song has the unstoppable power of a runaway train and it's the perfect way to close out the album. This is eleven and a half minutes of raw power and sheer delight, so prepare to be amazed!

If you have an Affinity for some stimulating early-1970's British Jazz-Rock, then this is the album for you.

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Posted Thursday, November 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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