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Kansas - In The Spirit Of Things CD (album) cover

IN THE SPIRIT OF THINGS

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

2.83 | 123 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I will preface this review by saying that Kansas is my favorite band and it was my first love in prog. That said, this is not one of their better moments. What we have here is a hodgepodge of songs, some of which seem to be part of a concept album about a flood in a small Kansas town, and some of which are campy ballads written by songwriters outside of the band and forced onto the album in an attempt to generate hit singles. What results is about what you would expect, probably the least consistent and cohesive Kansas album out there.

The album actually starts off well, with "Ghosts" being a nice, slow tune with sparse but functional instrumentals and evocative imagery-filled lyrics. From there, unfortunately, the album takes a nosedive from which it will not recover until the ending of the album. "One Big Sky" and "Inside of Me" both have Kansas members credited as writers, but they're very bland and lack any of the punch that even the commercial material off of their previous album Power had. "One Man, One Heart" has nothing that you wouldn't immediately expect from the title. "House on Fire" is a rocker, but not a good one. With a chorus that goes, "She's like a flame, she's burning hot, she's like a house on fire," this is 80s cheese at its worst. The worst song on the album. "Stand Beside Me," is pretty much in the same boat as "One Man, One Heart," in my opinion it's a waste of space. "I Counted On Love" is probably the most palatable of this middle section of pop mediocrity, but given its competition that's not saying much.

"The Preacher," seems to hearken back to the supposed concept we glimpsed with "Ghosts," and it's miles better than tracks 2-8. Even so, though, it's not stellar, using a gospel approach on the chorus that only sort of works. "Rainmaker," on the other hand is great. Telling the story of a con-man who, it is implied, inadvertently dooms the town, it's got a great vocal performance by Walsh and a very cool, spooky chorus. "T.O. Witcher" is a short little acoustic interlude that probably would have made sense if this were a full-blown concept album; as it is it just feels a bit out of place. Luckily, the album finishes on a high note. "The Bells of Saint James" is everything a finale should be, with awesome vocals from Walsh and a killer guitar solo. An awesome, awesome song that pretty much makes this album worth the money I spent on it.

Overall, though, this album is a mess, and the commercial songs are bad even by their own standards. For a better look at this commercial, Steve Walsh led Kansas, buy Power. "In The Spirit of Things" might be Steve Walsh's favorite Kansas album, but it sure isn't mine.

2/5

VanVanVan | 2/5 |

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