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Kansas - Point Of Know Return CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 704 ratings

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4 stars Despite cutting down on the length of the pieces (8 out of the 10 tracks on this album are of radio friendly length) Kansas proved to be still capable of firing some heavy shots on this, the band's fifth studio album. Take the brilliant title track for example, it seems to condense all the strengths of prog in just 3 potent minutes ... helped no doubt by a marvellous chorus riff and one of Steve Walsh's strongest vocals ever. Paradox contains some great rapid-fire playing from Robbie Steinhardt (whose presence as a violinist wasn't sufficient on Leftoverture) as well as some really nice breaks and changes of pace. And then there's the 2-minute instrumental The Spider which is intense challenging prog that for some reason (probably the gorgeous use of keyboards) reminds me of ELP's Tarkus.

As for the non-prog moments, Nobody's Home is a piece that threatens to descend into pop balladry but keeps geeting saved by some great instrumental segments while the bluesy Portrait (He Knew) and the hard-rockin' Lightning's Hand aren't bad at all, although they probably belong in more orthodox hard rock territory. And, I'll be damned if The Sparks Of The Tempest ain't downright funky. Of course it's still Kansas through and through and the lyrical sensibilities are still remarkably relevant ... "Your future is managed and your freedom's a joke/You don't know the difference as you put on the yoke/The less that you know the more you fall into place/A cog in the wheel, there is no soul in your face".

Of the two lengthy pieces, the sweeping epic Closet Chronicles is mainly about fascinating lyrics and melody although the synth-led segment that kicks in on the 3-minute mark is no walk in the park. I actually prefer the closing track Hopelessly Human which I think is one of the alltime-great Kansas prog epics with a synth, violin and piano intro alone worth the price of admission. Steinhardt's violin moments during this song are really something, while the all-too-brief organ and Moog synth solos remind me of Rick Wakeman and Mannfred Mann respectively.

Oh, and there's the small matter of a beautiful song called Dust In The Wind. If you're too sophisticated or too unfeeling for this song to mean anything to you, then I feel I sorry for you. To me, it's the exclamation point on Kerry Livgren's greatness. ... 78% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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