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Kansas - Drastic Measures CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.20 | 196 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars It seems when one tries to please everyone, one ends up pleasing no one. Longtime Kansas fans threw up their hands- the Kansas they had known was gone, and now they were left with what, compared to the first seven albums, was virtually pop rubbish. Listeners seeking a Christian message after hearing the apparent direction of the previous album were disappointed, although this is mainly due to Livgren withholding several works for other projects (even still, most of the Christian lyrics are vague enough to be about a woman). Even those seeking to appreciate the new Kansas as a pop-rock band were apparently overlooking this one, since it was the band's least successful record since the debut. Founding member Robbie Steinhardt was gone (presumably in part because he learned that some evangelists were using lyrics from Vinyl Confessions in religious tracts and passing them out at shows), and his complete absence is a big loss to what I think it is an otherwise good album that, yes, reflects the times in terms of sound and composition, but contains several unsung gems and great vocals.

"Fight Fire With Fire" For a 1980s rocker, this is what I like, even if it's under the name of my favorite progressive band and not progressive rock at all. The guitars are heavy, the rhythm is powerful, and the singing really stands out. Despite it's air of mystery, the demonic vocals in the middle are nothing more than someone reading an excerpt from the newspaper.

"Everybody's My Friend" This is unadulterated pop rock similar to that of The Outfield. It is good for what it is (and I happen to like it as such), but it is not progressive rock. I can see why some fans found it embarrassing (even Livgren himself lamented their recording this one), but I like it okay.

"Mainstream" One of only three Livgren-penned songs is "Mainstream," which does include some more complex percussion and a heartier arrangement. The vocal melody rocks on in my opinion, and it is just one thing that keeps this song fresh. Before the guitar solo, there is some rather experimental music

"Andi" Of course, this is the most bizarre thing in the Kansas discography, this song about a "girl" who is "trapped inside a little boy's body," or to put it more bluntly, a boy who wants to be a lady. My conservative sensibilities cause my brow to furrow, and yet, I can't help but like it, if only for the calm melody and whimsical music underneath it. I also happen to think this song features vocalist John Elefante at his best. Regardless, I am not sure what compelled anybody in the band to put this one out there, and if I get the opportunity, I mean to ask about it.

"Going Through the Motions" Interesting synthesizer and electric guitar move this one closer to progressive rock territory. The vocal layers are solid, and while this is not exactly one of the songs I like, it is a strong song on the album.

"Get Rich" Phil Ehart takes to his toms in the introduction to this finer piece. The lyrics are relevant and put to an enjoyable melody.

"Don't Take Your Love Away" This is just one I don't care much for. It starts off softly, with schmaltzy lyrics, and then gets worse by becoming a fast-paced rock song with goofy, annoying vocals. The only redeeming quality of the song is the guitar soloing, which is quite good.

"End of the Age" The second Livgren composition is the most progressive thing here, using varying lyrical sections, a stronger backbone of organ (barely heard in other songs, if there at all), praiseworthy guitar, and a solid but dynamic rhythm section.

"Incident on a Bridge" Why in the world has Kansas not included this one in current shows, particularly since in more recent times, the band has seen fit to play at least some material from the two Elefante-period albums? Yes, it lacks the complexity of previous Kansas masterpieces, but the magic is there. The vocals and musicianship are stellar throughout, and everything soars during the magnificent middle section.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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