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Heather Findlay - The Phoenix Suite CD (album) cover


Heather Findlay


Crossover Prog

3.26 | 19 ratings

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4 stars Now, this one is the kick-off for her solo career. Since more than 10 years Heather has made a major contribution to Mostly Autumn's success with her charisma and exceptional voice ... but last year she decided to continue as a solo artist furthermore. An ambitious project she's opening up while announcing a series of EPs, each differing in style. So what's up? 'The Phoenix Suite' comprises five elaborated songs at the interface between progressive and alternative rock. For the recordings she has gathered some excellent musicians, featuring guitarists Dave Kilminster and Chris Johnson, Steve Vantsis (bass) and drummer Alex Cromarty.

As one could expect ... all the songs are written by her ... on top of that she has designed the nice colourful cover art too. Her voice is immediately recognizable of course, however less ethereal - keyboards are totally missing here - all in all.the album appears far more heavier. Graceful and genuinely rocking elements are continuously alternating, a catchy chorus is taken for granted - that's what all the songs have in common basically. So to point out something more exceptional ... Cellophane surprises me with some agressive shoutings at the end in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers respectively Race Against The Machine.

The opener Red Dust shines with a sawing guitar all the way through, really attractive according to my taste. In a similar manner on Mona Lisa an echoed guitar serves a psychedelic touch. Title track Phoenix needs some attempts, superficially coming as a plain rock song, it took some time to detect subtle details in the end. Seven should be highlighted due to Heather's most charming vocal presence I would say - haunting melodies concur with heavy riffs here. I would really like to know how this works live ... anyway, she's definitely preparing for some gigs in the meanwhile.

Well, I should avoid to highlight anybody from her band especially. But please forgive me, as I'm often focussed on the guitars ... Kudos for both the rhythm and solo work - really gorgeous! And not to forget ... while also responsible for backing vocals, co-arrangement, mixing and production, ex-Mostly Autumn mate Chris Johnson has another successful share here. Probably not everybody will like Heather's new approach, but I definitely do ... this are rock songs above average in any case, still attractive after (or maybe even due to) a bunch of listening sessions.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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