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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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Squire Jaco
4 stars Featuring the classic lineup of Kansas ("Kansas is still..."), the sextet of Ehart, Livgren, Walsh, Hope, Williams and Steinhardt is joined by recent bass player Billy Greer to produce a very nice comeback cd that mostly follows in the footsteps of their classic 70's style.

Steve Walsh's voice sounds a bit rougher and older (surprise!) these days, but he can still put most modern prog singers to shame with his vocal range and emotive style. Steinhardt's vocals sound superb.

For me, this album got stronger as it went along. The opener "Icarus II" is a pretty good song with great lyrics, but I wish they hadn't resorted to the 90's-sounding heavy-chugging metal guitar sounds in the middle of the song (as well as on a couple of other spots on the cd). The next two songs are more in the "bar band" style that they go to a couple of times on most albums (think "Down the Road" or "Stay Out Of Trouble").

Then the more progressive/jazzy stuff for which Kansas gained the favor of progheads starts to emerge in tracks like "Myriad", "Distant Vision" and "Byzantium". Another good bluesy number ("Disappearing...") and the radio-friendly "Look at the Time" keep the album interesting. However, the finale "Not Man Big" is not in my favorite Kansas style, and while some may enjoy the little ditty tacked onto this track ("...Geodesic Dome?"), I find it out-of-place, unnecessary, and kind of an album spoiler.

I've always loved the way Kansas combined the spirit and feel of the American Heartland into their unique brand of prog, as well as the way they were able to rock out like a typical Midwest bar band. So this album gets fairly high marks from me, just because it's good Kansas music; but it would still probably have to stand behind all of their classic 70's stuff in terms of overall quality.

Indulge me for a moment...my personal favorite Kansas albums, ranked best to worst: 1.) Leftoverture (1976) - prog classic! 2.) Point of Know Return (1977) - more odd meters than ever!, very "clean" sound. 3.) Song For America (1975) - the title track is their best ever. Period. 4.) Masque (1975) - not as proggy, but lots to like. 5.) Monolith (1979) - plenty to enjoy, but a step back from "Left" and "Point". 6.) Kansas (1974) - finding their sound, and some hidden gems. 7.) Audio Visions (1980) - showing signs of decline; more AOR sounding. Their live "Two For The Show" (1978) is probably their best "best of" out there. And finally "Somewhere to Elsewhere"...pretty good, a real nice comeback album (22 years later!), and worth your attention and money.

3-1/2 stars

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |

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