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Kayak See See the Sun album cover
3.79 | 184 ratings | 18 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Reason for It All (6:29)
2. Lyrics (3:42)
3. Mouldy Wood (5:16)
4. Lovely Luna (8:19)
5. Hope for a Life (6:49)
6. Ballet of the Cripple (4:39)
7. Forever Is a Lonely Thought (5:26)
8. Mammoth (2:57)
9. See See the Sun (4:13)

Total Time 47:50

Bonus track on 1995 & 2012 releases:
10. Still Try to Write a Book (2:01)

Extra bonus track on 1995 release:
11. Give It a Name (2:44)

Line-up / Musicians

- Max Werner / lead & backing vocals, Mellotron, percussion (2,5)
- Johan Slager / acoustic (4,6,7,9) & electric guitars, backing vocals (1,2,8,9)
- Ton Scherpenzeel / piano, organ, Moog & Davoli synths, Fender electric piano (4,10,11), harpsichord (1,3,7), accordion (9), percussion (5), backing vocals
- Cees van Leeuwen / bass, harmonica, percussion (5), backing vocals (2,4)
- Pim Koopman / drums & percussion (5), Davoli synth (1), organ (3,7), marimba (11), lead (4,7,11) & backing vocals

- Giny Busch / violin (2)
- Martin Koeman / violin (2)
- Ernst Reijseger / cello (2)
- Gerrit-Jan Leenders / vocals & percussion (5), co-producer
- Rijn Peter de Klerk / percussion (5)
- Gijsbert Perlee / barrel organ - "Flamingo", Amsterdam (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Herman Baas with Carl Koppeschaar (photo)

LP EMI ‎- 5C 056-24933 (1973, Netherlands)

CD Pseudonym Rec. ‎- CDP 1024 DD (1995, Netherlands) Remaster by Peter Riet w/ 2 bonus tracks
CD Esoteric Rec. ‎- ECLEC 2335 (2012, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KAYAK See See the Sun ratings distribution

(184 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KAYAK See See the Sun reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is their first album; it is their most progressive one. There are lots of organ and piano. This not very well known prog band made some really good stuff. The have a unique prog style, and their personality is strongly built by the very good lead vocals and the omnipresent rythmic piano. The bass is not timid. The songs are sometimes smooth, sometimes more rythmic. All their instruments are well balanced.
Review by soundsweird
3 stars I picked up the LP when it came out in the mid-70's, and thought that the group was a Yes- clone. However, I really liked the song "Lovely Luna", which seemed more original and had a great sense of dynamics and contrast (it goes from very quiet to very loud and back). Now I have the CD, and my opinion of the rest of the album remains unchanged. The melodies are average, and the vocals likewise. Life's too short to listen to unoriginal material like this, despite the superior musicianship. I'm keeping the CD for "Lovely Luna".
Review by slipperman
4 stars Of all Kayak's albums, it's hard for me to get past the first two without encountering serious disappointment. They started off so strong! 'See See The Sun' often gets accused of ripping off Yes, but I can only hear a dominant Yes vibe on opener "Reason For It All", which admittedly sounds like the English legends.but it sure beats anything by Starcastle. It succeeds as a good song in its own right, offering appropriate momentum as an opener, despite its vocal similarities to Yes, but after that, 'See See The Sun' doesn't really sound like anyone but Kayak.

Ton Scherpenzeel possesses a wide array of keyboard sounds, and he uses them to great effect throughout, buoyed by an array of vocal approaches by Max Werlerofzoiets (wisely changing his surname to Werner later!) and drummer Pim Koopman (also a valuable writer for the band at this time). An active, capable rhythm section gives things an almost jazzy feel, while guitarist Johan Slager really shines with his subtle yet effective approach. Slager rips a nice solo off in "Reason For It All", which brings the song to a more aggressive and challenging level, leading into the short and sweet "Lyrics". After this the album hits a number of peaks, most remarkable being the bass-driven weirdness of "Mouldy Wood", heavy dramatic atmospheres in "Hope For A Life", and the early King Crimson-styled strains of album epic "Lovely Luna", which expands toward Genesis-style layers later on. Then there's "Mammoth", a heavy piece as large in scope as its namesake creature.

Kayak establishes a style on their debut that is symphonic and lush without being too soft (quite the opposite at times). They can be somewhat jazzy, and always highly dynamic with lots of color and shading. 'See See The Sun' delivers on many fronts sure to please fans of '70s prog. Their next album would expand on this promise before settling for a more conventional approach.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This is my favorite Kayak album, in my opinion it's their most symphonic effort. The compositions sound very melodic with a great harmony between all the instruments, very pleasant and often dynamic. The colouring from Ton Scherpenzeel (later he joined Camel, I'm still proud of that as a Dutchman!) is wonderful with his wide range of vintage keyboards, from the organ, harpsichord and piano to the Moog, Fender Rhodes electric piano and accordion. And singer Max Werner contributes to thevaried keyboard sound with the unsurpassed Mellotron, especially in "Lovely luna" and "Mammoth", GOOSE BUMPS! The accessible symphonic rock from Kayak lead to a huge commercial success. A few years ago they re-united, made two fine new albums and are still on the road!
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An undeservedly underrated group is Kayak. Perhaps part of the reason for its relatively low profile is that it occupies a strange middle ground, with an unlikely combination of pop/rock vocal segments that owe more to Todd Rundgren than any main progressive rock group, interspersed with strong symphonic progressive rock as well. The vocals of Kayak's first lead singer Max Werner aren't that great, but are not a negative factor for me either while the classic line-up of Werner (vocals/mellotron), Tom Scherpenzeel (keyboards), Johan Slager (guitars), Cees van Leeuwen (bass) and Pim Koopman (drums) that cut the first two albums is highly competent, but far from flashy ... even during the lengthy instrumental interludes.

To top it all, Kayak have made many line-up shifts and passed through a number of styles. While the current outfit is making strong, neo-prog tinged music, I'm one of those who thinks that this early progressive pop phase saw Kayak at its best. In fact, I don't think it gets any better than See See The Sun.

Reason For It All ( with a healthy dose of Yes influences), the storming Mouldy Wood, the sparse, melodramatic Lovely Luna and the beautiful Beatlesque title track are probably my personal highlights, but this album has to be taken as a whole, for it is well balanced and possesses a great flow ... best exemplified by the moment when the edgy rocker Hope For A Life comes right after the seduction of Lovely Luna. Kayak also prove that you don't need length to be progressive ... Mammoth goes through a number of phases in a period of less than three minutes! I really like this record, and even my least favourite track, the schmaltzy Forever Is A Lonely Thought has a very nice Scherpenzeel piano solo.

There is a light (but not lightweight) feeling about Kayak's music that makes me think that this is one classic-era prog band that neo-prog fans will really enjoy. And even though they sound nothing like either ELO, Supertramp or the Alan Parsons Project (and indeed are emphatically more progressive) I do believe it is fans at this end of the scale who will derive the most joy from Kayak's music. And See See The Sun, surely Kayak's finest album, is the best place to start. ...

72% on the MPV scale

Review by hdfisch
3 stars I've to say beforehand that I've never been a fan of this particular band. Actually I did not hear of them before a couple of years ago. I purchased their debut here in review for the reason that I quite liked it after a few spins and because it's the one coming closest to the sound of early releases by seminal Prog bands like Genesis and Yes. Meanwhile nevertheless after listening to this album more often I come to the conclusion that there are good reasons why Kayak never became better known and stayed in the second row through all those years of their existence. The music here is clearly inspired mainly by Yes (keyboards, guitar, bass, vocal harmonies) but as well slightly by Banks' keyboard work. In "Lovely Luna" which is by far the best track I can also hear hints to Gentle Giant, especially in the initial vocal part. The biggest problem I'm having with most of their songs that they're just sounding to poppy to my ears. It's more or less like listening to a light version of classic Yes or Genesis, something I really don't have any need for I rather have problems with the lack of rock and dominance of pomp than with the lack of catchy and memorable melodies in classic symphonic Prog. Thus this band appears rather redundant to me but that's just my personal subjective impression. Nonetheless this is overall a very pleasant album and an enjoyable listen every now and then but I doubt a regular one. The musicianship presented by the band members is really excellent and the vocals are okay though I can't get crazy about them either. Lots of bombastic keyboard sound that should please quite a few Prog fans and I can recommend this debut to anyone looking for a poppier type of symphonic Prog. But I doubt that this one (as all others from their catalogue) can be considered an essential addition to any Prog collection.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another Dutch progressive rock legend,KAYAK were found in early-70's by two neighbours in the town of Hilversum.After recording some demos with Phonogram Label,finally they signed a contract deal with EMI and released ''See see the sun'' in 1973.Influenced by the likes of GENESIS,YES and SUPERTRAMP,KAYAK entered the progressive scene amazingly strong with an album filled with atmospheric vocals,catchy melodies and dominated by the Hammond organ,harpsichord and mellotron.Their style is a beautiful cross between GENESIS-like soft mellotron-based passages,catchy art rock with a pleasant atmosphere in the vein of SUPERTRAMP,light multi-vocal parts not unlike YES,while even some more dark and hypnotic moments will bring KING CRIMSON to mind.I fell in love with this release,it's a beautiful combination of mellow and more intense musicianship with superb melodies and great atmosphere.Not so original,but absolutely essential if you're fan of any of the afore-mentioned bands.
Review by friso
3 stars Kayak is Dutch symphonic prog / pop group that scored some major hits in their home country during the seventies. From this debut album the street-organ infused 'Mammoth' and the melodic 'See see the Sun' would launch the band into the public domain. Whereas Kayak reaches some real highlights on their debut album, it also has some major flaws; like the stupendous progressive noodling of 'Mouldy Wood' - a song which also has a very catchy main melodic theme. Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards) and Pim Koopman (drums, keyboards) are both very melodic songwriters and their Genesis and Yes influences shine through here. The either staccato or classical influenced piano playing by Scherpenzeel would remain a recognizable feature. The recording sound is also exemplary of how Kayak's progressive period would sound, though I think the band sound way more steady on its second album. The mellotron and the often falsetto vocals of Max Werner add a toch of authenticity, though this might be an acquired taste. By a lot of progressive rock listeners the Kayak debut album is considered to be their most progressive. I myself would recommend listening to 'Kayak II' and the moody 'The Last Encore' first, though this album has some strong melodic songs the band would keep playing through its lengthy career.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This debut album from ''Kayak'' is extremely pleasant to listen for all the symphonic prog lovers. It is another good Dutch band who has participated to the fame of this country in the rock music environment. I am definitively jealous about this country in comparison to mine (just kidding)!

Some might say that their work doesn't sound original enough and that they borrowed their ideas form several prog giants. In a way, it is not totally wrong: the very nice opener holds a lot of ''Yes'' feel (mainly due to the vocals) while ''Lyrics'' is more GG oriented (for the same reason). But the former is extremely melodic and the instrumental parts are flowing so nicely?

The same comment is still valid for the instrumental (guitar) of ''Mouldy Wood''. In fact, I am moderately enthusiast about the lead singer who lacks in personality IMHHO.

''Lovely Tuna'' is another good number: symphonically jazzy and quite vibrant during the middle and instrumental part (again). Still, I wouldn't be as laudatory as other reviewers about this song. The same sort of atmosphere can be noticed during ''Forever?'' which also holds some great key parts (mellotron).

The most complex track is probably ''Hope For A Life'' which shows a harder edge and the same GG oriented vocals. This album is full of good songs, and the melodic but weird ''Ballet Of The Cripple'' is another one of them. Maybe a little more pop-oriented and more Supertrampish.

The pop feel is even more evident for the title track: simple and straight forward tracks that borrowed a lot to the big Four. But the prior ''Forever Is a Lonely Thought'' already gave some indications?

I will round up this work to four stars although seven out of ten sounds more appropriate to my ears. An enjoyable debut album even if ''Mammoth'' could have been avoided (same applies to both bonus tracks of which ''Give It A Name'' is totally ''Supersister'' oriented. Another good Dutch band...

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars See see the Kayak!

This is the debut album by this 70's Dutch band. They sound very British and will probably appeal to fans of classic, British progressive rock as well as to fans of groups like Supertramp and maybe Electric Light Orchestra. Even the vocals could be mistaken for British; at least there is no strong accent involved. The influences on the group's sound obviously include The Beatles and probably also Yes. The Chris Squire-like bass guitar sound gives that much away. Supertramp is often mentioned in relation to this group. There are indeed many similarities between the two groups, but we should keep in mind that Kayak debuted in 1973, before Supertramp broke through with Crime Of The Century in 1974 (even if they had an album out already in 1970).

See See The Sun consists of nine well written, melodic, well performed Pop Prog songs. The songs are primarily vocal driven and there is very little room for instrumental noodling. The sound of Kayak is often quite keyboard dominated and Ton Scherpenzeel is great on the keyboards which mainly consist of piano and harpsichord. So do not expect a Moog fest! The rest of the band plays competently too.

The music of See See The Sun is hardly revolutionary in any way and while all the songs are good, they are not something out of the ordinary. But they surely have a certain charm!

Good, but non-essential; recommended for people who likes bands more towards the poppier side of Prog.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No 5 star review from collabs/PR's yet, what a strange thing. It can be easily taken as Symphonic, as it's very pleasant to listen, except Ballet of a Cripple it is hundred percent clear of any dissonant sounds and to be honest, I don't mind them in this song too, as I'm used to listen far tougher sounds.

This album is about something different, it's like Klaatu, it's like Mandalaband's second, it's also like Steely Dan a little bit (for example Reason For It All depicts this jazzy atmosphere a little bit, mostly in bass & vocals line).

I understand that some may hear Genesis here, but personally, even I don't believe in this concept at all, I don't hear them here, as I've heard many albums from various bands that sounds "far more" than this one. But that's my point of view and is only as important as others, so you can make your own point of view. Whew.

This album is actually not so simple, but it has simple approach, e.g - it will attract most of people as it's very accessible. And the more you listen it, the more of it you will discover and that's of course important thing.

4(+), refreshing, but this damn album is not enough for me to give 5. And I wanted.

Review by stefro
4 stars Whilst it is Focus who get all the praise, those who reaLly know their Dutch prog will tell you that the 'Hamburger Concerto' stars ain't the only boys in town. Then, after a quick mention of Trace, Supersister, Finch and Group 1850, they'll recommend the first pair of studio albums by this briefly-brilliant five-piece, which equates to this debut release from 1973 and it's eponymous follow-up(which is often to referred to as 'Kayak II') from a year later. Hailing from the South-Eastern city of Hilversum, Kayak was formed by talented duo of Ton Scherpenzeel(keyboards, vocals) and Pim Koopman(drums) sometime during the latter half of 1972. A search for musicians to fill out the group brought Johan Slager(guitar), Cees van Leeuwen(bass) and Max Werner(vocals, mellotron) on board, and after signing a deal with the British label Harvest found themselves teamed with producer Gerritt-Jan Leenders. Recorded during the winter of 1973 and issued in early 1974, the subsequent 'See See The Sun' marked Kayak out as a truly unique outfit, blending quirky progressive rock riffs with an almost Canterbury-style sensibility and much oddball humour. Listened to now, it sounds as fresh and as vital as ever, the slick production wringing every shade of very note from the group's excellent playing; now, reissued and remastered on the Esoteric imprint, it sounds even better. However, musically it is Scherpenzeel who dominates proceedings, adding thrilling solo displays with a host of instruments - organ, piano, synthesizer, harpsicord, accordion and even harp figure - to the magnificent opening track 'Reason For It All', the jaunty highlight 'Hope For A Life' and many other of the album's quirky pieces. Aided by Slager's wailing guitars and Koopman's battery of drum licks, the bulk of 'See See The Sun' proves fairly addictive, very much an album that, when started, must be finished. 1974's follow-up, the post-titled 'Kayak II', would somehow manage to surpass its predecessor, in the process outlining just what a fearsomely-inventive group Kayak were. Strangely, however, 'Kayak II' would mark something of a peak, as pervading musical trends and other factors - including line-up shifts - saw Kayak producing a more radio-friendly style of rock, their sound gradually softening as the 1970's turned into the 1980's. It is for their first two albums that we remember them for however, and both remain undoubted jewels of the rich Dutch prog-rock scene that flowered during the early- seventies. If pushed, this writer will plump for 'Kayak II' as the better, yet all that really shows is just how good the debut album is. A great little group; check 'em out now. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Warthur
3 stars Kayak's debut album finds the band crafting a blend of prog rock sensibilities and aesthetics with pop catchiness and accessibility. Compared to their subsequent self-titled album, which was rather mannered and polished, this time around the band's sound is a bit rougher and rowdier, a bit deeper into rock territory and a bit less integrated into pop smoothness. Both this debut and the subsequent released proved that an interesting sound could be developed by bridging the prog and pop worlds, and if you enjoy one you will probably enjoy the other, and See See the Sun deserves a certain kudos for blazing this trail not just for Kayak but for other artists like Supertramp.
Review by Matti
4 stars (This review, like many others, is loosely based on a chapter of my prog book Aamunkoiton portit - soon on print again!) It seems that the Dutch band KAYAK aimed at an international fame right from the start, on the heels of Focus. On their earliest, more symphonic albums one can hear British prog influence, mainly from Yes and Genesis, but unfortunately the more commercial approach took over in the latter half of the seventies. My first acquaintance with Kayak was "The Best of" compilation, concentrating on the late 70's / early 80's period. Its music is rather sweet, highly accessible, melodic and often quite catchy too, not very far from the hits of The Alan Parsons Project, except with more emphasis on keyboards (and, of course, not quite that well produced). However, on their more recent albums they have again had more progressive ambitions. Now back to the beginning, for this is their debut.

When the band was founded in 1972, Ton Scherzenpeel, Pim Koopman and Max Werner were young music students in Hilversum. After Cees van Leeuwen joined on bass, Scherzenpeel (who had studied double bass as his major) concentrated on keyboards. He and Koopman had been writing songs already for five years. Kayak signed a contract with EMI, and the group entered a proper recording studio for the very first time. "We were like kids in a toy store as we were testing what we could do with the 16-track equipment", Scherzenpeel recalls in the CD liner notes. According to him, See See the Sun is an album full of ideas, not all of them being worked to perfection. After two weeks' studio sessions the tapes were taken to Abbey Road studios for Alan Parsons to mix. Dark Side of the Moon had made Parsons a hot name, so this was clearly a calculated move from EMI in order to increase the international appeal.

The results may not be the most original prog of the time, but surely it's well produced and extremely convincing debut from young musicians. The opening track 'Reason for It All' has notable Yes flavours up to vocal harmonies and Wakemanesque harpsichord decoratings. Slightly oversugared song 'Lyrics' already hints at the later pop direction. Several compositions contain ambitious complexity without feeling very meaningful. Among my favourites is the lengthy and dreamy 'Lovely Luna', in which I sense a similarity in atmosphere to 'The Moon Is Down' by Gentle Giant. 'Ballet of the Cripple' is like a mixture of Mellotron-heavy Genesis and the more straight-forward Electric Light Orchestra. In the end they were at their most original on emotionally loaded songs such as 'Forever Is a Lonely Thought'.

The adventures in the British prog influences continued on the albums Kayak (1974) and Royal Bed Bouncer (1975), on which Ton Scherpenzeel's creative force was perhaps at its strongest. After fairly good The Last Encore (1976) there occurred some changes in both the line-up and musical style; the most commercial phase produced the albums Starlight Dancer (1977), Phantom of the Night (1979) and Periscope Life (1980). See See the Sun is warmly recommended for listeners of keyboard oriented light prog - and Supertramp, whose album Crime of the Century (1974) Kayak's bright sound has been compared to.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Kayak is a band that is mostly known for their somewhat broadway musical sound, their verse-chorus based song structures and their - for a lack of a better term - pop leanings. That's not exactly the case with their debut "See see the sun" album, although the core sound of the band is already th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2934818) | Posted by istef | Wednesday, June 21, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With his first album snuck Kayak burst onto the music scene. Lyrics obtained only some commercial success, and less Mammoth. But it was evident the great talent of a band made ​​ up of young musicians with good ideas. Hilversum Music Academy proved to be the meeting place. The elec ... (read more)

Report this review (#978648) | Posted by sinslice | Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love this Dutch band, and their first album especially. It's a sort of melodic prog, full of great ideas and very pleasant lyrics. The group shows a great balance between song format and more complex themes in a symphonic style. Excellent guitar/piano interplays and delicate vocal harmonies a ... (read more)

Report this review (#119732) | Posted by armapo | Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kayak is a group without big originality but very " solid ". Their first albums are, to my opinion, the best because the "most progressive". In this album, we find the filiation in goupes as Caravan. The group is very melodic with an omnipresent rythmic piano (I like it). Song as " Reason for ... (read more)

Report this review (#45415) | Posted by miedj | Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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