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Kansas - Somewhere to Elsewhere CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE TO ELSEWHERE

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 272 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Somewhere to Elsewhere' sees Kansas taking a big step backwards to their glory 70s days, at least momentarily. Not only Kerry Livgren returned to the fold as the writer of all the material contained in this album and as a performer on guitars and keyboards, but also Robbie Steinhardt consolidated his comeback reassuming a very crucial role in the band's new repertoire, and even Dave Hope took up his bassist role for a couple of tracks here - still it is Billy Greer who takes care of this particular asset in most cases, even debuting as a lead vocalist on "Look at the Time". It would be too optimistic to state that the band equals his 70s best efforts with this album, but anyway it is a great recording that brings us back the old vintage Kansas sound that everybody thought buried forever and ever. It is actually an excellent addition to any prog collection. The album kicks off with "Icarus II", which despite the references to the original "Icarus" track (from 'Masque'), it is not a revisit - beside keeping the epic touch of the former, "Icarus II" is more introspective and melancholy, even in the heavy rocking interlude. The next two tracks are rockier, not simplistic but nothing very special either: just nice, catchy tunes with some clever arrangements. The street rumbling ambience that closes "Grand Fun Alley" gives way to the first piano chords of "The Coming Dawn", a most beautiful symph ballad that really seems to have been rescued from a time capsule of the 'Leftoverture'/'Point of Know Return' times. Further on, we find two amazing tracks that melt the epic splendour of Livgren's most ambitious compositions and the captivating mysticism of Kansas' eeriest old tracks. One of them is "Myriad", actually a song that dates back from the earliest Kansas days, but never got the chance to be included in their first three albums: here, it is revamped and somewhat rearranged, according to Livgren's current strong Christian beliefs. The other one is "Distant Vision", which equals the aforementioned number in beauty, complexity, orchestral finesse, and evocative passion. In both these tracks Walsh reminds us what a great messenger he is and always has been of Livgren's emotional concerns and intellectual insights. There's still some room for other less common ideas in the context of Kansas. Here we have "Look at the Time", a Beatlesque meeting of "I Am the Walrus" and "Hey Jude" with a Harrison hippy feeling; "Byzantium" is the oddest one, with its exotic ambiences inspired in the Arabic and Turkish tradition. "DST Blues" is a catchy bluesy number, a bit too long maybe, but still interesting: Reinhardt's singing shines here, as well as his violin performance (but again, doesn't he always?). "Not Man Big" is the hard rocking closure for this album, a properly energetic ending for an album full of very intense material, both musically and lyrically*. 4 stars for this one... and I wish I could give it 4 !

* Actually, there's a hidden bonus track that ends the album as a kind of joke.

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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