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Kayak - Starlight Dancer (US) CD (album) cover

STARLIGHT DANCER (US)

Kayak

Crossover Prog


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greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you listen nonchalantly to this album, you will say: "This is another pop piano boring band who is not progressive and who is not talented enough to make catchy pop hits". But if you listen it carefully, you will discover charming songs, very addictive and symphonic, but not really progressive. Here, compared to their debut, they sacrificed progressive tendencies to the profit of a clean, attractive well recorded sound. There are lots of piano, as always, and keyboards can be really floating, in a symphonic manner. The bass is good and the ensemble is often rythmic. There are lots of subtlety in simplicity here. The lead vocals is very goo too, as always.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#4156)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Geez, what happened? 'Royal Bed Bouncer' was no departure after all, and 'Starlight Dancer' is a solid statement regarding where Ton Scherpenzeel wanted his band to go (credit/blame must also go to departed drummer Pim Koopman, who doesn't perform on this album but checks in with sole songwriting credit on 4 songs). The adventurous old Kayak sound got left behind forever in favor of brighter sounds and moods. 'Starlight Dancer' is the album that defined the Kayak approach: a slick, pop sheen over numbers that, if not always complex, are always atmospheric. From disco-inflected tracks like "I Want You To Be Mine" to the sad tones of "Ballad For a Lost Friend", Kayak stakes their claim as kings of pop-meets-prog. This is readily apparent once third track "Turn The Tide" kicks in with its blatant pop momentum. Elsewhere you're treated to variations on the aforementioned themes: disco-ish rhythms meeting some Yes-ish guitar work in "Still My Heart Cries For You", symphonic pop in the title track, more upbeat silliness in "Love Of A Victim" and "Do You Care". "Back To The Front" rears its head as the most involved song on the album, but still a long way from the amazing material on their first couple albums.

I prefer the depressive moments best, as it seems to be where this lighter, friendlier Kayak is most effective. Stuff like "Ballad For A Lost Friend" and "Nothingness" are heart- wrenching if you listen to them at the wrong moments, and contemplative at other times. There is worth here, and even some depth now and again ("Back To The Front"). But I would've rather heard them move toward music that was just a little bit (no, a lot!) more invigorating. (I don't mean to split hairs, but giving this a 3 is too high, a 2 too low, so I'll call it a 2.5)

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Send comments to slipperman (BETA) | Report this review (#4161)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The tracklist on this album is different in the USA then on the Dutch version. The USA-version is a compilation of 2 LP's: The Last Encore and Starlight Dancer. On the songs from The Last Encore, you can hear performing Pim Koopman on drums and Bert Veldkamp on bass. On the songs from Starlight Dancer, Charles Schouten and Theo de Jong are featured.

You can see the difference between the tracklistings on the "3 originals" CD.

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Send comments to Robin (BETA) | Report this review (#4162)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the second Kayak album I've listened to (Phantom being the phirst) and I'm quickly becoming enamored of the band's brand of progressive pop. Funny to think I let these Kayak albums languish in my collection for a year, afraid that they'd be a disappointment. Instead, Starlight Dancer is a charmer, chocked full of clever arrangements and interesting musical themes. Elements of Genesis, Queen, Alan Parsons Project and Camel appear throughout without being derivative of those bands, and yet the band I think of most often is Renaissance. Both bands fell to the left or right of prog's front echelon but will be remembered for carrying the standard when the front-rank fellers were fallen (or fiddling around). And both had a facility for incorporating orchestral arrangements into appealing melodies and making use of classical themes without sounding overly pretentious. Surprising since Starlight Dancer would seem a dubious effort on the surface: roughly half the songs are written by the departed Pim Koopman, roughly half are produced by Jack Lancaster and originate from different sessions, and the track selection varies widely between US and European releases which puts the kibosh on any musical concept you might be entertaining in your head. (While I'm complaining, they should have created different album artwork before releasing this as Starlight Dancer, since the cover now has nothing to do with the title.) And yet despite all that, the album succeeds at almost every step: "Ballad For A Lost Friend," "Love of a Victim," "Do You Care" and "Irene" for example. Proving that I'm not crazy (or at least deferring judgment for the moment), Starlight Dancer became Kayak's highest-charting US release at #117. No, I didn't hit the "1" key twice, this is as far as Kayak went. Blame poor marketing, since the music is as good as anything APP or Supertramp were peddling, two bands likewise handcuffed by identity crises.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#47572)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I always enjoy compilation of early albums like this one with KAYAK which basically after they released five studio albums: See See The Sun (1973), Kayak II (1974), Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), The Last Encore (1976) and Starlight Dancer (1977). My first listen of Kayak happened with Kayak II especially with its Woe and Alas track. To be honest I love this track very much since the first time I heard it even until now. I really don't know why this compilation does not include this beuatiful song Kayak has ever made.

However, I like the inclusion of Nothingness right here in this compilation. This song has a very solid composition combining nice piano work and very good vocal harmony. The poppy song I. I Want you to be Mine (4:46) is actually good as well. Still my Heart cries for you (4:34) is very melodic and melancholic. While Starlight Dancer (5:03) is an excellent song with brilliant composition starting with something melodic at intro part followed with a blast of music that moves nicely from start to end. Irene (4:22) is a very good instrumental.

Overall it's a good compilation. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#1062686)
Posted Saturday, October 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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