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Kansas - Audio-Visions CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.04 | 263 ratings

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3 stars As the eighties' approached, many progressive rock bands quickly opted for a more AOR-influenced sound to stay in touch with the times. Kansas wasn't an exception, and their first album of this new decade shows a more arena rock-influenced side to their music than ever before. Audio-Visions, the seventh album from this famed American band, still has a firm root in progressive rock in spite of its commercial leanings, and the end result is an observation that's both easily accessible and still sophisticated. A lot of folks tend to think that this is a pretty weak album, but I'd say that it's a pretty successful (if largely non-essential) effort. Kansas released plenty of better albums, but for what it is, Audio-Visions is a pretty enjoyable listen.

Most of the songs here are pretty solid, if fairly shallow, hard rock tunes with a few slight art-rock tendencies. I at least moderately enjoy all of Audio-Visions, but the song that really grabs me is the highly progressive "No One Together" - an marvelous piece of music in my opinion, and it ends up overshadowing the rest of the album when all is said and done. "Got to Rock On" is the biggest thud here, and even though there are other AOR tunes on Audio-Visions, the banal chorus makes this one a lot less remarkable than the others. While the songwriting may not be up to par with Kansas' best, the musicianship is still as impressive as ever. These guys are simply top-notch musicians, and the vocal harmonies are something that should grab every listener. The production is also pretty great, and its sleek sound suits the music perfectly.

Audio-Visions may not be the best Kansas release, but it's certainly far from a weak album in my mind. For what it is, this is a very good collection of commercial-tinged art rock songs, and there are probably enough progressive overtones here to satisfy fans of the band's older material. Audio-Visions doesn't leave much of a lasting impression, but it is an album I've enjoyed taking out for a spin recently. 3 stars are deserved for this solid effort. While I won't discourage checking out Audio-Visions, I would make sure you've heard the earlier Kansas albums before hearing this one.

J-Man | 3/5 |


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