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Kayak Letters from Utopia album cover
3.34 | 67 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (40:03)
1. Rhea (4:42)
2. Because I... (3:14)
3. Turbulence (3:52)
4. Before the Angels Fell (8:40)
5. Breaking the News (3:54)
6. For All the Wrong Reasons (4:13)
7. Under the Radar (2:45)
8. Hard Work (3:46)
9. Nobody Wins (4:57)

CD 2 (42:33)
10. Circles in the Sand (3:48)
11. Never Was (4:42)
12. Glass Bottom Boat (3:57)
13. Horror in Action (4:37)
14. A Whisper (4:02)
15. Parallel Universe (4:08)
16. Let the Record Show (4:03)
17. Brothers in Rhyme (4:41)
18. When the Love Has Gone (4:11)
19. Letters from Utopia (4:24)

Total Time 82:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Cindy Oudshoorn / lead & backing vocals
- Edward Reekers / lead & backing vocals
- Rob Vunderink / guitar, lead (8) & backing vocals
- Joost Vergoossen / electric & acoustic guitars
- Ton Scherpenzeel / keyboards, accordion, bass, backing vocals, arrangements & programming, co-producer
- Jan van Olffen / bass
- Pim Koopman / drums & percussion, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, arrangements & programming, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: George Grie

CD SMH Recordings ‎- SMH 200936 (2009, Europe)

Thanks to matte for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KAYAK Letters from Utopia ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KAYAK Letters from Utopia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars These "two" CD's have total of 80 minutes, so so far for having double CD for something that can fit one. Quite pointless I mean. Anyway, Kayak's latest one is also first one to have review by me here. But not first one to listen, I heard few (not too much, so let's say that this is my first real experience with K. music).

We have nice, melodic rock here, full of optimistic melody. Not perfect, as some parts dwells into pop from what I can hear, but that's not the rule that they have to stick with prog all the time. And I fall for this way of doing music. Very enjoyable album, little bit worse on a side of prog, but still good.

EDIT:I have a strong feeling of John Wetton's Icon album, which this resembles a lot, but much better and most importantly here, much more prog. Residing on symphonic and extremely melodic (even not as extremist as Moon Safari candy shop [however, I love it], it's pleasant. No signs of doom, or pessimist mood) music. I don't like drumming here, which is somehow dull and annoying. I know, drummer holds rhythm, but still, it's clearly boring. Maybe just my problem. Some tracks are pure beauty prog jewels, some are more like average fillers, but I think that this album deserves its

3(+) ratings a lot. You'll for sure don't have any problem with listening these 80 minutes, as it sometimes happens with these longer ones. Yeah, I quite like it, only thing that pushes rating down is that it's not entirely prog at all times.

EDIT: Lowering. It's lovable album full of nice songs, but just nice, it's not Prog anymore. But it makes very good listening though.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars In the beginning it appears to be not very different from its predecessor Coming Up For Air which I almost liked, this double CD starts with a usual folky keayboard. The opening song, "Rhea" is easy and perfeoctly in line with the last Kayak production. Nothing new then? Well first of all a band active for more than 40 years doesn't have to do "new" things. Rhea is energetic, in its "Supertramp flavour".

"Because I" sounds a bit more "Canterbury", mainly in the vocals, but the melody is mellow and trivial. It contains some nice passages, but to be honest I didn't skip this track because I forced myself.

With "Turbulence" we are back to the 80s. It's a rock song with a tempo that reminds to things like Pretenders or some Jim Steinman's production out of Meat Loaf. Not bad but not outstanding for sure.

The first song longer that 4 minutes: "Before the Angels fell", opens with piano and female vocals. Acoustic guitar give the start to male singing, bass and drums. In few words it's a typical Kayak song based on keyboards and guitar. It suddendly changes tempo after about 3:30 minutes. Is it Suzi Quatro? just 90 seconds of R&R and we are now in symphonic prog. What to say? I think I'll need time to decide if I like this track or not. Let's skip to the following.

"Breaking the News" is another story. It's closer to the standards of the last years. It's a slow song that could be added to Nostradamus, Merlin or Coming up for Air.

The next song has been written and recorded "For all the Wrong Reasons". Just trivial pop. I can imagine teen-agers waving lighters...

"Under The Radar" is a good song, instead. A Kayak standard. "Hard Work" is not that bad, but try to imagine it played by Duran Duran or sung by Bonnie Tyler. Why this excursion in the 80s? It's like they are trying to fill the gap of their 18 years without recording (1981-99).

Piano based slow songs have always been a good territory for Kayak. "Nobody wins" is probably the first excellent song of the album, at least for me.

The second CD starts with another piano-slow, "Circles in the Sand". For people who likes Camel of the Stationary Traveller period (when Schelhaas were playing with them). I really like this simple song.

After two slow songs, a rocky one: "Glass Bottom Boat" is in the album average, but the middle section when it calms down is the best part. Until now the album is very well played and arranged, but I'm still undecided between 2 and 3 stars. It's non-essential for sure. Can it be appreciated by non hard-fans too? Let's see what happens next.

With "Never Was" the classic Kayak are back. Not an outstanding track, but a nice one, again close to the 80s Camel. "Horror in Action" has the rock-opera flavour of Merlin or Nostradamus. I can say that CD2 appears to be really better than CD1.

Some tape gimmicks start "A whisper". Piano and acoustic guitar for another slow folky song. Maybe the best of this double album. A very good one.. The following one, "Parallel Universe" is good high-level pop. We are moving to 3 stars...

Nice guitar harping starts "Let the Record Show". This is less typical for Kayak. Another good prog-folk song. "Brothers In Rhime" doesn't add or remove anything. It's another classical Kayak, with an unusual blowing coda.

"When the Love Has Gone" is nothing more than good pop-rock. Nice to listen,quite a "cardriving song".

The last act of the album is the title track "Letters from Utopia". Not too different in the flavour from the preceeding track. Good pop, only this.

In brief, the second CD is very better than the first. Both are non-essential, but the second can achieve 3 stars. It would have probably been better to concentrate the best things in one disc only. The last negative thing is the fadeout on the last track. Fading out the last track after 80 mins of music is a crime, regardless which kind of music you are listening to.

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