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Kansas - Vinyl Confessions CD (album) cover

VINYL CONFESSIONS

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

2.74 | 128 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Terrible cover, and the loss of Walsh is the elefante in the room, but I confess to liking this more than I expected. Kansas replaced Steve Walsh with John Elefante on this album, a large void for anyone to fill. Elefante, like Livgren, appeared to be a deeply religious person, writing and cowriting several tracks that spoke directly to a spiritual awakening ("Play On," "Chasing Shadows"). Without the material interests of Walsh to offset him, Livgren's vision for Kansas as a religious rock band could take full flower. And yet that doesn't happen on Vinyl Confessions. Yes, the album is spiritual in the same sense that Kansas always was, but this is a thematic work first and foremost. (I wouldn't call it a concept album since there is no linear storytelling.) The theme is one of a rock musician looking to reconcile their own spirituality with the materialism of the music industry (I didn't say it was a good theme), clearly a vantage point that Livgren and Elefante shared. The rest of Kansas isn't kept out of the picture; Phil Ehart's drumming has rarely been so superlative, for example. The music continues to move away from progressive rock as its reference point; at this stage, Kansas had firmly settled into the arena rock camp (a genre they helped establish, consciously or not) alongside Asia and Foreigner. At this stage, I don't go into Kansas albums looking for progressive flights of fancy, so when they do occur I take it as a gift. Vinyl Confessions is a difficult album to pigeonhole anyway. Sometimes it sounds like classic Kansas ("Chasing Shadows," "Crossfire"), sometimes it sounds like any number of rock bands from the '80s ("Borderline," "Fair Exchange"). Although it marked a period of commercial decline for Kansas, Vinyl Confessions is actually a better album than some of its predecessors. I'm not enamored of the vocal mix on my vinyl version (could be the needle I suppose), so you may want to get this on CD.
daveconn | 3/5 |

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