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Kayak - Kayak II CD (album) cover

KAYAK II

Kayak

 

Crossover Prog

3.99 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

slipperman
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A high 4 stars! This is the ultimate Kayak album--the perfect marriage of their hard rock tendencies, their dazzling symphonic edges and the adventurous middle ground between the two. Kayak is often kicked around by people who consider them second rate, and I admit they declined quickly after this album, but there's no denying that their first album, and especially this one, are top-notch slices of upbeat, exciting prog.

"Alibi" opens the album with an addictive dose of high energy, but it's second song, "Wintertime", that really sets the tone. Somewhat melancholic in the verses, the chorus becomes almost Supertramp-ish in its brightness. Side 1 is rounded out by two very different songs: "Mountain Too Rough", a mostly-mellow trip into folky atmospheres with some deliberately disruptive sound effects occurring. "They Get To Know Me" offers a killer momentum, symphonic and Genesis-like in spots, with a healthy bit of aggression, especially when guitarist Johan Slager takes over. It's always so enjoyable to witness this song unfolding every time I listen. One of their absolute best.

Side two is even more diverse in scope than side 1. "Serenades" is a bouncy number, hinting at the sound they'd perfect on the 'Starlight Dancer' album. "Woe And Alas" offers slightly tricky timing and an impassioned Max Werner vocal. Some gorgeous layers are built up as the song moves along. We get the more gentle side of Kayak with the caress of "Mireille", a short, to-the-point instrumental that provides a good balance to the more involved stuff here. The album's final moments couldn't be better: "Trust In The Machine" ranks as my favorite Kayak song of all, with a demented bit of vocal from Max and swirling keyboard sounds that envelop the rest of the music, that music being kinetic stuff that's wild but never out of control. Almost Fripp-ish guitar squeaks by Slager rear their head in here. There's even a fair bit of noise in the middle, making you feel like you're visiting "The Waiting Room" again. This gives yet another facet to the song, a well-rounded journey, a song full of paranoia and triumph that is perfect in its completeness. "His Master's Noise" ends things nicely, with vocals that almost sound like Paul McCartney (with a Dutch accent, of course). A simple track that is all vocal layers and straight piano. It offers a cooling off period that brings this eventful album to a satisfying close. It isn't a perfect album, but it's as close as Kayak ever got. Highly recommended.

slipperman | 4/5 |

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