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Kaipa - Solo CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 156 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Kaipa: Solo [1978]

Rating: 6/10

Solo is the third and final album in Kaipa's original 70s trilogy, and the first with lead vocalist Mats Lofgren. It was a released in 1978; this release date should make any progressive-rock fan a little bit nervous. The genre had gone almost completely out of vogue at this point, and the 80s were fast approaching. As a result, Solo shows Kaipa trying to adapt their symphonic-prog sound into a more accessible and digestible format. They haven't gone pop; this album is almost one-hundred percent progressive rock. Rather, they've tried to condense this epic style of music into easy bite-size pieces. The tracks are much shorter; only three of the eleven songs break the five-minute mark. Also, the instrumentation tends be less flamboyant and more restrained than on the previous two releases. Of course, these two factors say nothing about the quality of the music. In this case, however, they show how this album is underdeveloped. Kaipa have tried to put their music into a foreign mold. There are many great moments here, but the album as a whole doesn't manage to do justice to the band's talent.

"Den Skrattande Grevinnan" opens the album with jolly synths and bluesy guitar. This a fantastic track, but it ends with me wanting more. "Sen Repris" has a bit of ragtime feel, with rhythmic piano and vocals. It smoothly transitions into "Flytet." This short track consists of a melodic guitar solo from Roine. This is a good solo, but far away from his best. "Anar Dig" is a highlight. It's a slow piece with excellent vocals from Lofgren. Roine plays a bluesy guitar solo here that ranks among some of his best 70s work. As the title suggests, "Frog Funk" is rather funky. The main motif here is undeniably well-penned and memorable. I just wish a little bit more had been done with it. Lofren gives a beautiful vocal performance on "Visan II Sommaren." This is an excellent "ballad" type of track. "Tajan" is a mellow-synth driven piece. Roine begins to play an absolutely incredible solo at the end, but it ends far too quickly. "Respektera Min Varld" is another highlight. This is a relatively hard-rocking piece with wonderful organ, guitar, and vocals. It actually sounds fully developed. "En Ingelkotts Dod" is climatic piece that sounds more like the end of a song than a song in itself. "Total Forvirring" sounds like a full-fledged Kaipa track. This is a phenomenal piece with a stunning conclusion. Roine especially shines here. "Sist Pa Plan" is also a spectacular piece. The final few minutes of this track end the album in a sublime manner.

Solo is a very good album that I enjoy listening to; the musicianship is excellent and the musical tone fits in perfectly with my general tastes. However, I can't help but give it a less-than-excellent rating. It breaks my heart to do so, but I simply cannot ignore the album's flaws. Many of these tracks sound more like fragments of songs rather than full songs in themselves. Good fragments indeed, but fragments nonetheless. After two albums with free-flowing song structure and uninhibited compositional ideas, Kaipa put their music into a restrictive structural casing that ended up making it suffer. I don't know if this was a purely artistic choice or if it was the result of corporate pressure. Either way, however, it resulted in their weakest 70s album. Even though this album could have been much better, there are tracks here are should not be overlooked; the final two, in particular. Although Solo is an unessential symphonic-prog album, devotees of the genre like myself would not be amiss it giving it their time.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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