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Kayak - The Last Encore CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.45 | 84 ratings

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Steven in Atlanta
4 stars Of all the wonderful Kayak albums to pick from, I gravitate to The Last Encore most of the time. I'd say it's easily the most melodic of the bunch - and Kayak has always been one VERY melodic band. The album is also the most rich with vocal choruses, if that's one of your joneses (it's one of mine!). They hadn't hit their slick commercial period quite yet (that would start with Phantom of the Night), so what we have here is some prime choice Kayak.

This was also the last album to feature drummer and songwriter Pim Koopman, whose songs comprised almost half of Kayak's output (though he did rejoin years later). Koopman's tracks always provided a nice counterpoint to those of main songwriter, keyboard man Ton Scherpenzeel. That dynamic is happily intact on The Last Encore one last time as both writers really came up with some tremendous material for this outing.

The slower tunes impress the most here, all of which have a majesty and a beauty rarely equaled in our extensive prog world. Evocation, Relics of a Distant Age, Nothingness, and the title track would be career apexes for most bands - and are certainly high water marks for Kayak. If your tastes lean towards the melodic Genesis of The Lamia, Firth of Fifth and Tony Banks' tunes on both Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, you and mid-70s Kayak will get along just great.

The ace in the hole on the album is vocalist Max Werner, whose pitch-perfect, slightly nasal tenor really drives these beautiful melodies home. One of the most distinctive singers to ever come out of Holland, that's for sure. Werner's is a very much missed voice on the current scene.

The odd man out songwise is one rare attempt at humor (the brief Love Me Tonight/Get On Board medley). But all the rest make for perhaps the finest album in an already damn fine catalogue. For Kayak newbies, The Last Encore is a terrific place to start.

An exuberant 4 stars from me.

Steven in Atlanta | 4/5 |


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