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Kayak - Starlight Dancer (US) CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 23 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Geez, what happened? 'Royal Bed Bouncer' was no departure after all, and 'Starlight Dancer' is a solid statement regarding where Ton Scherpenzeel wanted his band to go (credit/blame must also go to departed drummer Pim Koopman, who doesn't perform on this album but checks in with sole songwriting credit on 4 songs). The adventurous old Kayak sound got left behind forever in favor of brighter sounds and moods. 'Starlight Dancer' is the album that defined the Kayak approach: a slick, pop sheen over numbers that, if not always complex, are always atmospheric. From disco-inflected tracks like "I Want You To Be Mine" to the sad tones of "Ballad For a Lost Friend", Kayak stakes their claim as kings of pop-meets-prog. This is readily apparent once third track "Turn The Tide" kicks in with its blatant pop momentum. Elsewhere you're treated to variations on the aforementioned themes: disco-ish rhythms meeting some Yes-ish guitar work in "Still My Heart Cries For You", symphonic pop in the title track, more upbeat silliness in "Love Of A Victim" and "Do You Care". "Back To The Front" rears its head as the most involved song on the album, but still a long way from the amazing material on their first couple albums.

I prefer the depressive moments best, as it seems to be where this lighter, friendlier Kayak is most effective. Stuff like "Ballad For A Lost Friend" and "Nothingness" are heart- wrenching if you listen to them at the wrong moments, and contemplative at other times. There is worth here, and even some depth now and again ("Back To The Front"). But I would've rather heard them move toward music that was just a little bit (no, a lot!) more invigorating. (I don't mean to split hairs, but giving this a 3 is too high, a 2 too low, so I'll call it a 2.5)

slipperman | 3/5 |


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