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Kayak - Coming Up For Air CD (album) cover



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4 stars Descent progrock from the Netherlands. Female singer Cindy Oudshoorn steals the show with her classy and passionate sound. It directly made me think of Kaipa's Keyholder. I have only listened to the disk one single time, but no doubt it'll need some more turns for me to really catch up with the beautiful melodies and guitarplay. This is the first 'normal' album after two concept albums (Merlin and Nostradamus). I personally don't think Rob Vunderink is a very good singer, but he doesn't get much room (only Sad State of Affairs is 'his' song). Most songs are sensible and quite sad, like the fine Broken White. There are some pretty heavy ones as well, like the starter and the finisher Alienation and title song Coming up for Air (which are both great songs). Not as good as their masterpiece Merlin - Bard of the Unseen, but this disk will be a good introduction for everyone who wants to get acquaintanced with Kayak and hasn't done so yet. Great musicians!
Report this review (#162836)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well quite long years since Nostradamus, Not as good as their before album,but good too,with the freshness of their female vocalist. There are quite similarities to last Magenta, M.Autumn and Karnataka. Songs could have been longer and that's the most important thing i miss. All the rest is OK.

3 stars

Report this review (#163359)
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars And what a surprise this was. I actually thought Kayak was pulling it's last breath. The new album Coming up for Air is the proof for me being wrong. Though I wouldn't consider it as very progressive, it's good music! Al nice crossoverprog songs presented in a speed which make it sound like a young band. Actually, the recording and mixing is one of the best mixes I heard lately. One song ends, directly starts the next. It makes Coming up for Air a fresh record, still keeping moments of relaxation because of the beautifull ballads. If pop wasn't so corrupted and brainless these days, this could have been a very high regarded album. As for me - I don't think its essential for prog, cause is just isn't very progressive, BUT... it's a very nice record to listen to! You might recommend it also to friends who don't very much like the complexity of prog. I did and had very positive reactions.

2 stars, but a very good record! ...and:... Kayak is alive!

Report this review (#163749)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Here's an album that presents the listener literally with nothing but clichés and convention, containing no songs as such, but simply funnelling half a century of rock foundation work through the fingers of musicians with little to add then slicing it into generic product of suitable length. The whole affair glistens slimily with an unpleasantly unironic sheen.

You already have a better version of this album in your collection. (and you should probably throw it out.)

Report this review (#168394)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I was looking for something able to remind me the Camel. I knew they awere the group of Ton Scherpenzeel so I purchased this album. It really surprised me. Laplace is right saying that it's just prog-pop, but for a reason that I can't understand, this album is running in my car stereo since 3 weeks and I'm unable to stop listening to it. The first track, Alienation, is based on a nice keyboard riff and the vocals are strong and warm at the same time. Man in the Cocoon is technically speaking, probably the best track of the album. What I find really remarkable is the sequence of songs that starts with Freezing to Death, falls into the Camel style Daughter of The Moon and ends in the most commercial track of the album: Undecided. This last is just a pop-rock song, but it's well played, it includes some variations in the pitch and most of all, the vocals are incredible. This song trasmits a lot of energy. The following track Sad State of Affair reminded me the Beatles. About You Withouy You is effectively weak, but not so bad. Selfmade Castle is another pop-rock song (remember GTR ?) What I'm about to Say is a slow love song. Wonderful Day could have been taken from Camel's Breathless or Rain Dances, pure Canterbury style. Broken White is one of my favourite, again in Camel's style. Coming Up For Air is probably the only real progressive song of the album. It's only rock and roll, but I like it.... not worse than GTR not great like Camel, three stars and half, really.
Report this review (#218324)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars After two "musical" albums (Merlin's remake as well Nostradamus), the band seems to pursue the same musical direction. I have to admit that this one is not on par with its predecessors (at least the Merlin one).

The music pictured here sounds more metal oriented (some sort of a soft approach to "Ayreon" during "Man In The Cocoon") combined with their pop-rock and easily accessible music ("Time Stand Still"). Some "Mostly Autumn" or even "Renaissance" feel as well while "Freezing" caresses your ears. Excellent vocal part from the lady in charge (Cindy Oudshoorn who has already appeared on earlier "Kayak" recordings).

I quite prefer while she sings: she is much more convincing than her male counterparts (especially when the mellowish "Daughter Of The Moon" is being played). But that's only how I feel. I guess that this album might work better if you could see it (like a musical as they have done for "Merlin"). As such, this album is not really exciting.

There are some attempts to combine and produce better arranged song à la "10CC" but the model doesn't need to be worried: they have quite a leading here even if "Sad State Of Affairs" is one of my fave songs on this album. Probably due to this relationship I assume. On the other hand, I quite dislike the polyphonic approach of "The Mask & The Mirror" which is only saved thanks to a very good guitar solo. Same applies to the poor "Wonderful Day" (but with no guitar break).

The vocal performance from Cindy is a definite highlight during her parts; just figure out how great she sounds during the title and closing song. She is just great.

IMHHO, it is one of their weakest effort to date. I know that I have been rather gentle with the band so far, but after all I found their music quite joyful and good. This "Coming Up For Air" is not on par and won't rate higher than two stars. An average and conventional album. Well produced, performed by skilled musicians but lacking in good song writing.

Report this review (#247381)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Generic and boring. Nothing catchy, nothing prog. Just another band from the 70s trying to return. And it was really bad. Coming Up For Air is something poor, filled with slow pop ballads. The vocalist (male) sounds sad, but that kind of boring sad people, that want to cry to you and you cannot stand it. The first keyboard riff at the album opening Alienation, is not a GREAT riff, but it's fine, just fine. But that was just a joke, the riff will fool you only for a few seconds. The album is ugly, and I don't deserve it to anyone.
Report this review (#967653)
Posted Friday, May 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars ... Really!

I see this album has a low rating. I respect the opinions / ratings of others. We all hear different things and have different tastes. The same album(s)/song(s) speak differently to many of us. What makes the world interesting is people can see different things in the same "object".

this particular "object" is this album. Yes it's modern pop (with very little progressive tendancies) and different from Kayak's older period. To my ears, that does not make it worse. I consider Kayak similar to King Crimson and Camel. 1 or 2 key members remain over multiple transitions/personal changes so it's really hard for me to judge the 70's Kayak over the current Kayak. Because whenever I think the 70's Kayak is so great (and I do feel that way), there's some major gems with the modern phase of Kayak (2000-present) as well.

One of my all time favorite Kayak songs (and maybe in my top 10 favorite song of all time) is on this album. "Broken White". I can't describe what makes the song so great in my head. All I know is when I'm listening to it, I'm on the verge of breaking down (and I'm not really an emotional guy). Something about the melody/lyrics and the way it's sung along with the musical (sounds like an accordion or something) break in the middle just says to me "this is one of those songs that I have been searching for a long long time".

Just for that one song, the whole album is worth it. But there's some other gems on this album. Freezing, Medea, Daughter of the Moon, Sad State of Affairs and the Mask and the Mirror... Wow!!! Some really nice melancholy/catchy melodies there. Yes there's some filler songs too (skip them) to make this album a little uneven. But for the most part, aren't most modern pop albums "uneven"? Who can expect a modern pop masterpiece? So I feel we have a pretty good album here with several strong songs mixed in with a few forgettable songs.

But "Broken White".... Holy darn. This may be the best song Kayak ever did.

I honestly feel you owe it to yourself to go on youtube and search for Kayak "Broken White" or some other place. Give it a listen before you skip this album due to its low ratings. And maybe listen to Freezing, Daughter of the Moon, Mask and the Mirror (there's some pretty cool vocal harmonies in this song which reminds me of early Queen ala Bohemian Rhapsody).

Broken White is a "******" song.

Don't expect a progressive album but do expect some really nice pop melodies that are not "too commercial" sounding (ala US modern pop aka Bieber, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, yuck!).

Kayak has nothing to be ashamed of with this album and the low ratings. Some fine melodies here.

Report this review (#1060485)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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