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Kayak - Kayak II CD (album) cover

KAYAK II

Kayak

 

Crossover Prog

3.99 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Although Focus were undoubtedly the most popular and well-known group of the vibrant Dutch prog scene of the 1970s, they had plenty of healthy competition from the likes of Group 1850, Trace, Kayak, Finch and Supersister keeping them on their toes. Of these outfits it was arguably Kayak who featured the most eclectic style, the five-piece enjoying a prolific phase of activity during progressive rock's heyday that saw them produce a pair of excellent albums in the shape of their 1973 debut 'See See The Sun' and this superior, self-titled follow-up from a year later. Featuring Ton Scherpenzeel(keyboards, vocals), Cees Van Leeuwen(bass), Max Werner(keyboards, vocals), Johan Slager(guitar) and Pim Koopman(drums), Kayak were a fiercely-creative group who adhered strictly to the genre's principle ideals of experimentation, brewing up a unique sound that encompassed a clutch of influences and thus lent their overall sound an almost schizophrenic quality shot through with reckless abandon. As a result, pigeon-holing Kayak is virtually an impossible task, both of their first two albums skipping brazenly between styles in a way that shouldn't really work. Yet somehow this approach does work, and very convincingly too. Opening track 'Alibi' crosses Steve Howe-style guitar lines with jaunty, Canterbury-flecked jazz-rock; you have the nine-minute epic 'To Woe & Alas' feeding classical-shaped ELP organ solos through Yes-tinged symphonic washes; and melancholy-but-pretty organ drones adorn the mysterious throwaway ditty 'Mireille'. Thrilling in its execution and smart enough to avoid the occasional longeurs that occasionally blight lesser albums, 'Kayak' is a singular musical beast indeed, and very much the apex of the group's 1970s output. Simply put, what we have here is a wonderful example of the colourful nature of Dutch progressive rock, a scene that offers up a wholly eclectic musical viewpoint that surely ranks amongst the finest in Europe. Later Kayak efforts maybe pale in comparison, yet for a brief moment Kayak really did scale some lofty progressive rock heights of a none-too familiar kind. Impressive. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 4/5 |

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