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Kansas - Point of Know Return CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.18 | 895 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I don't believe there ever was an album which deserved its title more than this one. "Point of know return" shows the heyday of Kansas. Never before did the band sound so balanced, accessible & mature without losing their prog roots. The albums that were released after this record gradually showed a decline of musical quality and progressiveness. When compared to "Leftoverture" their breakthrough album from the previous year, this album is more accessible without any compromise on the musical front. Tracks like "Point of know return" or "Dust in the wind", their most popular tune, weave a mysterious web of emotion, wisdom & musical creativity. The moving "Dust in the wind" brought a whole new audience to the band. I suppose a lot of people turned out to be disappointed after having purchased this album for hearing more music like "Dust.". But this mysterious reverie is so gorgeous for Kansas or mainstream rock fans in general anyway. The folk influences which are apparent throughout the whole album come to the fore on this magnificent track. Only "nobody's home" shows an equal sense for melody. This is another example of inspired melodies in some sort of progressive ballad format where the orchestral sound is used to emphasis the most pompous moments.

The fruitful cooperation between Kerry Livgren & Steve Walsh must be the cause for making this album such a joy to listen to. Despite the previous album which was solely composed by Livgren, Walsh shares the credits for the song writing with Livgren. Possibly that explains why there's a harder edge to the music in exciting up-tempo progressive rock cuts as "Lightning's hand" or "Sparks of the tempest" which could explain the hard rock cult following that this band build up over the years. It can't be coincidence that these majestic rockers were sung by Steinhardt instead of Walsh. His powerful voice is more suitable for this kind of wild songs. But for prog fans nothing can top the complex, extended epics like "Closet chronicles" or "Hopelessly human". Those gems are full of inspired violin melodies, changing atmospheres & rhythms, unconventional chords and coloured keyboard sounds . The vocals add the necessary amount of emotion within the vocal lines, sometimes getting too close to pathos. The songs that I find the most exciting on this record are those powerful short energetic tracks like "Paradox", "The Spider","Portrait". You can hardly imagine there's so much music going on at the same time in less than 5 minutes. Those nervous tracks are retaining so much energy from the piano & keyboards and the rhythm section, sometimes it seems the band got in the studio with Keith Emerson. The atmospheres follow one another so rapidly it's getting hard to follow. These tracks are the reason why this album needs several spins to deliver enjoyment on a higher level.

Altogether a marvellous record that holds a perfect balance between accessible melodic rock tunes & musical creativity. For a long time I refused to believe this was an effort of an American prog bands, it sounds so damn European. Even though this album was released back in 1977, no signs of the coming decline of progressive rock can be traced and this album still sounds as timeless as when it was issued. Only the lyrics dealing with magicians and kings betray that this is very much a seventies prog record. Really, I can't decide which aspects of this record attracts me more : the subtle, lovely violin parts, the excellent melodies, the virtuoso musicianship, the technical compositions, the symphonic sound consisting of several guitar solo's, keyboards & violins all playing at the same time or the emotional vocals.

Fishy | 5/5 |


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