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Heather Findlay

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Heather Findlay The Phoenix Suite album cover
3.27 | 20 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Red Dust (4:05)
2. Phoenix (4:51)
3. Cellophane (3:44)
4. Seven (3:56)
5. Mona Lisa (5:07)

Total Time: 21:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Heather Findlay / vocals, percussion
- Chris Johnson / programming, guitars, vocals
- Dave Kilminster / guitars
- Alex Cromarty / drums
- Steve Vantsis / bass

Releases information

CD Black Sand Records CDBSAND1 (2011 UK)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
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HEATHER FINDLAY The Phoenix Suite ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (15%)

HEATHER FINDLAY The Phoenix Suite reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
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.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To be honest, I was shocked when I first heard this. Completely unexpected, from what I know of her previous work. But as the time went, I got used to this "new" sounds. Her voice is the main attraction here, this + quite heavy sounding (bass), rocky tunes. But it ain't a normal rock, it's our special one. This isn't much of a progressive, in a traditional way of this word, but this shortie of a record has its own special soul. Fans of Mostly Autumn should be cautioned, because this is something different, but those with open ears and love for getting new through used ways.


Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I love this woman....other than having been the lead vocalist of Mostly Autumn, other than being one of the most beautiful voices around and having been one of the main characters in Ayreon's The Human Equation, she demonstrates her ability in songwriting. Before leaving MA she attempted to reform her old duo with Angela Goldthorpe and the two released an album as "Odin Dragonfly".

On this debut EP, Heather is author of all the songs and while you can still hear a bit of Mostly Autumn in her voice but also in the songs, they are more rock than usual. I think the reason is in the absence of Bryan Josh, so that she hadn't to stick on a specific guitar standard and had more freedom in the arrangements. I like how Josh plays guitar, but I'm quite happy that he's not involved in THIS project.

"Red Dust" is a piece of hard rock mitigated by the sweetness of Heather's voice. I disagree with who says that it's very different from MA. Even them have songs, or portions of songs of this so hard kind.

"Phoenix" is even closer to what a MA fan would expect. I think this song may stay in Heart Full of Sky. Of course the guitar is clean and a bit untuned and there are few or no keyboards, so that this song has a real "rock" mood, but the melodic line is still of the familiar kind.

"Cellophane" is the first song different enough from MA. This song makes me think to Melissa auf der Maur. Was only the guitar a bit more distorted.

"Seven" is another song far enough from Mostly Autumn's standards but I don't think that MA fans would be disappointed. The overdubbed choir (at least I think it's overdubbed) is very good. I think Heather overdubbed is surely better than Josh singing. The song hasn't a fast tempo and without keyboards it may sound a bit flat, but at the same time guitar and drums makes it sound hard rock. The guitar is so distorted that 25 years ago we would have probably defined it as Metal.

The reverb on the guitar of "Mona Lisa" gives the song a touch of late 70s/early80s psychedelia. I remember some 80s new wave bands using this kind of sounds. An unusually dark song.

It's just a debut EP, still non-essential but very promising. Let's look forward for her first full length album to see if the rock side of Heather persists or this is just a one shot deviation from the folky standards.

Latest members reviews

1 stars Well, talking about a disappointment,..., here's one! I've been a great fan of Mostly Autumn over the years. It was a shock to realize that heather Findlay called it a day but her replacement in MA is very well looked after now that Olivia Sparnenn takes the lead vocals. So I was anxiously wai ... (read more)

Report this review (#463713) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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