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Kansas - Leftoverture CD (album) cover

LEFTOVERTURE

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 708 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars When I started to listen Prog at the age of 12 (Around 1976 or 1977), already the golden era of Classic Symphonic Prog had ended, Genesis was trying to survive without Gabriel and Hackett, Going for the One was not what some of us expected and ELP was not the same band than in 1974.

The only remaining founder of the genre still to reach their peak was KANSAS and what better way to start a long term musical relation than with "Leftoverture", the album with which the Topeka kids reached the perfect balance between artistic quality and economic success, something hard in Progressive Rock because only a few bands of the genre managed to be popular without selling out and KANSAS is one of this strange cases.

Still some people try to dismiss the achievements of KANSAS, I read reviews in which they are called Pomp Rock, rednecks or mediocre AOR band, mostly from people who don't have the knowledge of what KANSAS did in their early years and probably only heard Dust in the Wind.

One of one of the main problems with this guys is that they were born in USA and not in big city but in the heart of the tornado corridor and committed the crime to use a slight touch of their native music (Country) in their albums, but except for some snobs this is not a sin, by the contrary the perfect mixture of Symphonic structure with Hard Rock and even Country Music made of this album one of the richest expressions of Progressive Rock.

Another problem is that they managed to be successful, well this was forgiven in Pink Floyd, Yes and even ELP but of course not in KANSAS, but at the end who cares for negative opinions if we can let their music prove the contrary.

"Leftoverture" is simply a great album, not a single filler or weak track, of course each one of us has our favorite tune, but all the songs are solid. The particular and nostalgic sound of the band relies in their beautiful melodies and in the rare fact that they left keyboards in the background giving Robby Steinhardt's violin the main role of the performance, they can rock hard and bring tears to our eyes without any problem, as I said before, the perfect balance.

It's hard to chose a favorite track because all are extremely good, but I always had a soft spot for "Miracles Out of Nowhere", the vocal duet between Robby and Steve Walsh in the peak of his vocal abilities is amazing, we're talking about a wonderful song, incredibly complex combined with a beautiful melody as few tracks in the genre.

Other great songs are the classic "Opus Insert" where Steve Walsh's voice is really amazing, after listening a few months ago I can't believe he was able to reach such a variety of different ranges without any problem and his work with the keyboards is also impeccable. Wouldn't be fair if I didn't mentioned Phil Ehart's perfect timing and precision with the drums, an underrated percussionist.

"Cheyenne Anthem" is another example of great and complex Symphonic structure that starts a bit soft, making us expect it's a nostalgic ballad about the native Americans but then the piano and Steve's vocals leads to a breathtaking instrumental section where KANSAS hit the listener with all they have and to close it Robby Steinhardt and his magic classical violin with a slight taste of country music add the required drama, another brilliant track.

Of course I can't forget about "Magnum Opus", a song that proves KANSAS released extremely elaborate music, dramatic time changes, synchronized team work between Robby plus the keyboards by Steve Walsh and Kerry Livegren. It's simply unbelievable that after listening this masterpiece, still some people want to lump them with all the AOR USA bands from late 70's/Early 80's,

I don't need to talk about the rest of the songs because there are enough reviews here and only must add that if you're not afraid of nostalgic and sensible music, with extreme Hard Rock sections, this is your album but if you believe that popularity and melodic Prog suck, better don't buy "Leftoverture" because you will be disappointed.

I'm in the first group of Progheads and honestly believe this album is a forgotten gem that should be in the top 10 or 20 albums of any Progressive Rock catalogue.

Five solid stars for a solid album.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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