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Kayak - Eyewitness CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.83 | 25 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars This is a Kayak completist's nightmare, because unless you really truly love the most commercial output from this band, you're going to have to pay for an album you'll listen to very rarely. There's very little to call truly progressive on this album. And that's not to hold Kayak in chains to genre expectations, but for a band who recorded two excellent albums early in their career, things got streamlined and radio-friendly way too quick, and 'Eyewitness' is the realization of their most vanilla-flavored tendencies.

Recorded in 1981 as a live-in-the-studio exercise, the idea was to take the energy of their current live set and give it a sparkling vibe in a studio environment. Since most of the material is squeaky-clean stuff to begin with, this makes the edgeless material even less compelling. The sound isn't the worst I've heard from a '70s act heading into the '80s, not as antiseptic and digital sounding as some of the '80s atrocities from Jethro Tull, Genesis or Camel, but everything is still compressed and harnessed in a way that has been frustrating this Kayak fan since the 'Royal Bed Bouncer' album. It seems that the great keyboard and guitar sounds of the '70s were considered passť by this time. Too bad. You're better off with the original versions, but what makes this album even less essential is the song selection. Songs that were new for this release, like the title track, "Who's Fooling Who" and "Only You And I Know", are as superfluous as most anything off their awful 'Periscope Life' album. The only representation of their first two albums is "Lyrics", a baffling choice given the many much better songs on those albums. And the other choices aren't surprising or inspiring: "Ruthless Queen", "Want You To Be Mine", "Winning Ways", "Starlight Dancer", "No Man's Land", unchallenging, unexciting, bland songs that I would've considered low points from those albums. "Chance For A Lifetime" is here, always a fine listen, but again, you'd be better off with the original, as the band gives nothing new or essential to the song. Bonus tracks on my CD version include "The Car Enchanter", a lyrical piss-take on 'Merlin''s "The King's Enchanter". Other bonus is "Ivory Dance '94", something Ton Scherpenzeel recorded in 1994. Nothing very special either way.

There's not much need for this unless you totally love the band's late '70s/early '80s output. All others are advised to get the first two albums and then take your chances with their other albums as you will. There's no good place to put this into the rest of the review, so I'll end by highlighting some of the dumbest lyrics I've ever come across, prog or otherwise. From "Periscope Life": "I know the whole world fights and kills and hates / But lady must that always spoil our dates / I can't imagine that the world would end / If I would eat my steak now that it's warm". I get the sentiment, but still I say: "Huh?"

slipperman | 1/5 |


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