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Kansas - In The Spirit Of Things CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.82 | 209 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars In a Kansas town

Even though the line-up is the same that made the previous Power only two years before the release of this album, In The Spirit Of Things is a rather different album from Power. While Power basically rocked throughout, In The Spirit Of Things is a more mellow and reflective affair with several ballads and semi-ballads. The mellow nature of the album is revealed right from the start with the excellent Ghosts, a slow and beautiful piano based ballad that sets the mood for the album. The band rocks out here about as often here as they slowed things down on Power. Personally, I like both albums, but I cannot help thinking that they could have made a better album by combining the best material from these two albums into one.

In The Spirit Of Things is something of a concept album. The concept is loosely about a small town in Kansas. The music is helped by the concept and not dominated by it, just as concept albums should be. And the cover art and the booklet give us a very nice visual representation of the music.

One Big Sky and Inside Of Me are similar mellow semi-ballads with some faster instrumental breaks. Both songs have very strong and memorable choruses. One Man, One Heart, on the other hand is the first low point of the album. It is not awful, just unremarkable and not very interesting. House On Fire is the first (and only) real rocker on this album. Here the Hammond organ is brought in, and the guitar sounds more like it did on the Power album. But if this song had been on Power, it would easily have stood out as the weakest. Again, it is not awful, just not very memorable despite some nice guitar breaks. This song is quite similar in style to what Steve Morse would go on to do with Deep Purple later on. Once In A Lifetime is a power ballad in typical 80's style and Stand Beside Me and I Counted On Love are similar to Inside Of Me and One Big Sky from earlier, melodic semi-ballads. The Preacher is a Gospel-Blues-Rock 'n' Roll number that I have a hard time liking despite some tasteful guitar work. And at this point you really begin to wonder if this album is going to hold anything more of interest. Enter the Rainmaker, the only song on this album with clear progressive touches. These touches are basically restricted to an instrumental section towards the end of the song, though. But it stands out as a great moment on this album. Steve Morse is allowed to shine on his short but lovely acoustic piece T.O. Witcher. Before the closing song Bells Of Saint James, a bombastic song similar to One Big Sky.

It should be pointed out that no less than four of the songs on this album are non-band compositions. With the rest of the songs dominated by the two Steves - Steve Morse and Steve Walsh - writing together, sometimes with help from producer Bob Ezrin. The fact that they brought in non-band compositions might be taken to signal that the band was running out of inspiration. However, the best songs here are clearly the ones they wrote themselves, with Ghosts and Rainmaker standing out.

The production by Ezrin is perfect and overall this is a well crafted album with some great and some weak moments. I prefer Power which I consider to be the best Kansas album of the 80's.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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