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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kindred Saint

Kindred Saint

Review by Gary Hill

A hard rocking trio, Kindred Saint has released an exceptional debut with this self-titled album. In fact, this is nearly a perfect album. Fans of 1970s hard rock will find a lot to like on the release. The music seems extremely familiar, and these songs would have been all over the radio had they debuted in that decade. While the sound is similar to the music of that era, each track has an individual identity, and the album never feels like one long song. Comparisons to groups like Kiss are warranted. Some of the music is more metallic than that, though, feeling like the meatier heavy metal that emerged in the 1980s. Other acts that come to mind include Montrose. Every song on the album feels like something you might have heard before. However, that familiarity doesn’t come with the music feeling like a rip off or duplication of well-known music. The format and execution just seems natural and familiar.

There are no weak songs on the set. Vocal harmonies are the rule here, and they are strong vocal harmonies. While the arrangements are fairly straightforward, the musicians find opportunities to explore more complex musical structures within instrumental movements. In that way, comparisons to Led Zeppelin or early Rush would be appropriate. While the overall musical concept isn’t varied, there are alterations from song to song.

If there is a complaint, it’s that the sound is too familiar. It seems like the easy route may have been taken in terms of universal appeal. Even, so, that’s almost a “grasping at straws” type of complaint because the music never really feels like a carbon copy of anything else. It also is so good and easily accessible, that it’s not so much a complaint as it is an observation. The disc should really appeal to anyone who ever enjoyed the hard rock that was so prevalent in the 1970s.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Let the Music Roll

The opener, “Let the Music Roll,” is almost heavy metal in approach. A good description might be “Montrose meets Motley Crue and Sammy Hagar.”

Sinister Lady

“Sinister Lady” has a vocal arrangement that calls to mind April Wine, but musically the cut is heavier than that Canadian band.

Am I the One

“Am I The One” is definitely mellower than either of the tunes that preceded it, but it doesn’t take a ballad approach. Rather it’s more like a melodic rocker that again has similarities to April Wine.

Ain’t It a Sin

Parts of “Ain’t It a Sin” might carry echoes of Kiss, but yet that Motley Crue reference again applies, as does a mention of Van Halen. There is a ballad-like movement in the middle of that number, calling to mind Boston a bit, but with a more metallic texture.

Shotgun

“Shotgun” is arguably the most straightforward and basic piece of the set.

Take Me Higher

Another balladic rocker is found in “Take Me Higher.” That cut has a bit of a 1980s new wave element, but tempered with something closer to Bon Jovi. There is a smoking hot, nearly metallic riff that drives some of the later segments of the piece.

Gypsy Road

Led Zeppelin is an obvious reference on “Gypsy Road,” but so is Van Halen. That is another number that’s quite metallic.

Could It Be You

“Could It Be You” is in some ways similar to a Metallica or WASP ballad. There is more of classic rock vibe to it, though, making references to White Snake also earned, or even Skid Row.

Be There Tonight

“Be There Tonight” has a bit of a garage band rawness to it, but still showcases many of the sounds heard on the rest of the disc. Motley Crue is again and appropriate comparison. It is one of the tracks with an extended instrumental section, not that far removed from early Rush, built into it.

I’ll Be Back Someday (Maybe)
“I’ll Be Back Someday (Maybe)” is a rather stripped down and ballad-like song, but it also gets powered up for the verses. There is an extended instrumental movement built into that piece, too, feeling a bit like Led Zeppelin merged with early Rush. It even gets rather King Crimson-like at times, becoming the most complex composition on show here.
 
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