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Kansas - Leftoverture CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 1004 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars At the time I got to know Kansas it was mostly a classic rockband to me. I knew Dust in the Wind, Carry on Wayward Son and Point of know Return (last one just slightly) and that's what the band was to me for a long time. In 2004 I got to know Magnum Opus and had to change my mind of course. When I saw them on a Dutch pop/prog festival a year later and they played some more proggy stuff I got even more convinced. Kansas is probably 75% prog and 25% pop/rock or something like that. Leftoverture is the highlight of their career so let's take a look at the whole album.

Kansas' most famous album starts with one of their most famous songs ever Carry On Wayward Son and that's a wise choice because it gets you in the right groove for the album. The interesting thing about the song is that it's a blend of pop and prog. It's catchy but still more original than most popsongs and therefore slightly proggy. 3,5*

The Wall is a very nice song, the first with prominent violin. Sort of a ballad though not really soft. 3,5*.

What's on my Mind is the shortest track on the album, and also the most rocking probably. Less poppy than the famous opener even though it's a close call. Good song, 3,25*.

Miracles out of Nowhere is an accessible and quite vocally dominated track with slight folky undertones, especially in the first part. Halfway an instrumental part with keys and violin. This can easily be called the better part of the song. Nice but not too special. 3,5*.

Opus Insert is in the same league as previous, nice and accessible but not truly outstanding. 3,5*

Questions of my Childhood is too short to be a classic, in fact I'm surprised there's so much in it for a 3,5 minute song. Violin and vocals do the job here once again. 3,25*.

Cheyenne Anthem is suddenly of an entirely different league. What a great variegated track this is. Starting beautiful with great vocals and piano, some wonderful tones around 2:30 followed by a great instrumental part with all sorts of instruments amongst which of course Kansas' trademark, the violin. Ultimately the song ends more or less like it began, only this time as a true grand finale. Simply stunning. 4,5*.

And yet there's one better track, be it just slightly: the fantastic show stopper Magnum Opus. The song really is what the title already suggests and is probably the best song the band ever made. Terrific composition, finally proving exactly how progressive Kansas really can be. For those who see them as both pop/rock and prog: this one is certainly on the right end of the spectrum (as far as I'm concerned). 4,75*.

So the sting is in the tail with this album. After the first six tracks you might think we're dealing with a sophisticated rock album but last two tracks make it a different ball game. This is prog for sure even though not the best example you will ever hear. On average some 3,6 after doing the maths but I will round up because I feel 3 stars is selling this one short. No poor tracks and a few great ones to finish with is good enough for the description (near) excellent addition to a prog collection. Looking at the rating scores so far not everyone is equally convinced which makes the album somewhat controversial. But if you want to know what American prog sounds like I surely could recommend this classic !

progrules | 4/5 |


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