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Kansas - Kansas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 639 ratings

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4 stars For me the Classic Prog bands are unsurpassed but every now and then a progressive band succeeds to impress me very much, close to the excitement of Seventies Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP and King Crimson: from Camel, PFM, Ange and Triana to Rush, Solaris, Gerard and Anekdoten. And of course 6 piece USA formation Kansas, I was blown away when I listened for the first time to Kansas, during a session with the just released fourth album entitled Leftoverture (1976). What an overwhelming, unique, melodic and harmonic blend of classical and rock featuring The Holy Trinity of guitar, keyboard and violin! But I would like to focus on their eponymous debut album from 1974.

1. Can I Tell You (3:31) : From the first second you can enjoy the very distinctive early Kansas sound featuring swirling violin, harder-edged electric guitar, flashy keyboards runs in a propulsive atmosphere, with frequent bombastic eruptions. The awesome interplay between the violin and the electric guitar emphasizes the exciting blend of classical and rock, this is trademark early Kansas.

2. Bringing It Back (3:33) : This track is in the vein of the first one, again it delivers exciting work on violin and keyboards (piano). And the powerful vocals (like in the opener) add an extra dimension.

3. Lonely Wind (4:15) : After the fitst two bombastic up-tempo songs the third track is mellow with warm vocals, tender piano play and sensitive violin, wonderful, the other side of Kansas (like later on the worldwide hit Dust In The Wind).

4. Belexes (4:22) : An up-tempo beat with sumptuous Hammond organ and fiery electric guitar, it sounds like heavy melodic rock, also due to the wah-wah drenched guitar solo.

5. Journey From Mariabronn (7:55) : The first longer track on this debut album, very alternating with propulsive drums and the Holy Trinity at its best: swirling violin, dazzling Minimoog flights and moving electric guitar. The bild- up is excellent, culminating in a bombastic finale with strong vocals and trademark early Kansas with their exciting blend of classical and rock!

6. The Pilgrimage (3:42) : A captivating contrast between the dreamy first part (with Howe-like soft jazzy guitar) and then a catchy mid-tempo beat with that awesome Holy Trinity , supported by the outstanding rhythm-section.

7. Apercu (9:43) : The second epic composition, also a very varied blend of classical and rock: from mellow and compelling to bombastic, the interplay is great, again we can enjoy soli with swirling violin and fiery electric guitar.

8. Death Of Mother Nature Suite (7:43) : The final song of the original album is an epic highlight, Kansas succeeds to translate the pretty sad lyrics into their music, the one moment anger ( raw vocals and heavy bombastic atmosphere), the other moment melancholical (apocalyptic vocal harmonies) or furious (final part featuring an exciting builld-up with Hammond and propulsive drums), what a compelling track and what a grand finale of this excellent first album!

Bonus track on 2004 EPIC remaster:

9. Bringing It Back (Live *) (9:41) : An extended version, of course loaded with great soli (especially on the Hammond organ) and strong work by the dynamic rhythm-secton.

A final remark. Today it's World Wildlife Day, just read the lyrics of Death Of Mother Nature Suite, nothing changed in almost 45 years, and it even gets worse and worse!

'Every day she gets a little weaker The beauty she once knew has come and gone We've murdered all her sons and all her daughters The blood is on your hands, the time has come And now she's gonna die

We've strangled all her trees and starved her creatures There's poison in the sea and in the air But worst of all we've learned to live without her We've lost the very meaning of our lives And now she's gonna die

Once she ruled the earth with love and wisdom But we were much too smart to live her way With greed and lust we tried to rise above her The ignorance of man will reach an end 'Cause now we're gonna die'.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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