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Kansas - Point of Know Return CD (album) cover

POINT OF KNOW RETURN

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.12 | 459 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars More than simple dust in the wind...

After the acclaimed Leftoverture Kansas decided that they'd found a good niche. Following up the album was going to be somewhat difficult to do as well, considering the massive success that they'd found with their hit Carry On Wayward Son and their continued experimentation with pure symphonic prog as on their magnum opus, Magnum Opus. The result is an album that is vastly the same and yet somehow different from its predecessor. Highly melodic and catchy with some very memorable moments including another gargantuan hit song and another attempt at the pseudo-epic coming into the last tracks. As often advertised on the front of their albums, this is symphonic prog by the likes of Yes done American style. The guitars are frontwards as are the balls-in-a-vice vocals, although the standard progressive attack on keyboards is still present. A nice 'American' touch to the music is the fact that you really can feel this coming from what culture the Americas do have, their melodies and violin segments are quite distinct. Such is life though, as the British drive on one side of the road and Americans the other, the British did symphonic prog one way and the Americans another.

In general the tracks on their own stand out less than on the previous album. They still rock and they all still have a considerable amount of charm, but nothing has quite the same effect as the previous album had. Point Of Know Return, the title cut, has some fun instrumental sections and some fast keys with high-pitched violin sections throughout and the vocals have a nice melody to them that makes it rather catchy, but the song is criminally short and it soon moves on. Still, it makes for a pleasant track as does the rocking Paradox, which is launched by a military-like charge on the violins. Portrait (He Knew) has a very catchy chorus which actually makes for one of the few songs that sticks in your head right off the first listen in its dramatic delivery and keyboards.

The best songs on the albums are the ones that come off as incredibly slick and 'cool'. Prime example of this, and likely the best cut off the album is a malevolent and absolutely killer Lightnings Hand which showcases that Kansas was able to build storm clouds above the listener as any of the giants (such as VdGG or King Crimson) were able to do. The album's longest track, Hopelessly Human is also great in this regard, its emotional buildup makes for a satisfying lengthy cut, which while it is no magnum opus, still makes for a great listen. The album's short extension onto Paradox, the instrumental The Spider led by killer keyboard lines and a strong bass makes for another standout cut, this one grabbing the audience right by the(...) hair and pulling them into the song.

And then there's Dust In The Wind. Like so many other rock songs from the 70s that gain commercial appeal, this one can be found in advertisements, on the radio, and on the porches of women with heart-broken men trying to serenade them back all playing this song. It's a tear-jerking ballad the likes of which the music industry has seen plenty, but still clamor for more of. An acoustic and pretty song, it still makes for a nice listen - although not in a symphonic epic kind of way, lordy no.

Kansas really knew what people expected from them at this point and were able to deliver a satisfying album. This one will leave fans and casual listeners wanting more, but may leave others out in the cold. Still, there's something for everyone, whether it be the rockers, the dramatic mini-epics or the ballad tracks. 3 stars out of 5 for a good album, but people unfamiliar with the band should probably go one album back in the band's discography.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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