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Kayak Phantom of the Night album cover
3.47 | 109 ratings | 13 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Keep the Change (3:38)
2. Winning Ways (3:35)
3. Daphne (Laurel Tree) (5:06)
4. Journey Through Time (3:24)
5. Phantom of the Night (5:03)
6. Crime of Passion (3:30)
7. The Poet and the Man Band (4:10)
8. Ruthless Queen (4:47)
9. No Man's Land (4:00)
10. First Signs of Spring (3:39)

Total Time 40:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Edward Reekers / lead & backing vocals, percussion
- Johan Slager / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals
- Ton Scherpenzeel / piano, celesta, harpsichord, organ, Mellotron, synth, accordion, strings & brass arrangements, backing vocals
- Peter Scherpenzeel / bass
- Max Werner / drums & percussion, lead vocals (8)

- Katherine Lapthorn / backing vocals
- Irene Linders / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Rens Benerink with Govert de Roos (photo)

LP Vertigo ‎- 6413 507 (1978, Netherlands)

CD Mercury ‎- 273 813-0 (2010, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KAYAK Phantom of the Night ratings distribution

(109 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KAYAK Phantom of the Night reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars KAYAK released a few real gems over their career with "Phantom Of The Night" remaining one of my personal favourites from this era. Without a question "Ruthless Queen" and "Phantom Of The Night" are 2 of my favourite songs they have ever done. KAYAK play a very velvety symphonic prog-pop in the style somewhere between the MOODY BLUES, CAMEL and SUPERTRAMP. Fans of CAMEL will in fact recognize the presence of Tom Scherpenzel (keyboards). One of the other remarkable things of Kayak is clearly the velvet voice of Edward Reekers who has a wonderfully clear and powerful range. A great album with big symphonic boundaries to cross.
Review by 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. The songs are often nostalgic, pretty good feeling here!
Review by slipperman
2 stars 'Phantom Of The Night' sees Kayak regressing rather than progressing. They obviously wanted to go into a pop direction pretty early on, and this album sees them nailing their goal firmly. Unfortunately, there's not much on 'Phantom Of The Night' for anyone who enjoyed the band's first couple albums. Kayak's lineup was expanded this time around to include new vocalist Edward Reekers, which put former vocalist Max Werner behind the drums for good. Reekers is probably technically better than Werner, but this is at the expense of having any edge, as his delivery is what I would call "vanilla". Admittedly, he fits in well with the band's continuing (de)evolution. Things get off to a weak start with "Keep The Change" and the even wimpier "Winning Ways". Pure pop, totally upbeat and very middle-of-the-road. Lite fare. "Daphne (Laurel Tree)" provides some calming, airy moments before widening its scope into a semi-epic vibe, the first real sign of life on this album. Then the one real saving grace appears in the form of "Journey Through Time". Based around an almost sinister riff and a feeling of unease, the song is one of few high-points in late-'70s Kayak, one you can hold up to the quality of their first two albums. It bounces between unease and brighter, warmer textures, like something from Genesis' 'And Then There Were Three'. The title track does provide some substance, but it doesn't seem fully formed and I've never been able to get my head around it. From here on out, there's nothing much of interest to be heard (ie. a DISMAL Side 2!). The whole album is smothered in the gentle atmosphere that is the Kayak trademark, dynamics tending toward the quiet and lush end of the scale. That's fine, I just don't think Kayak is very interesting when they fall into this sort of malaise. 'Phantom Of The Night' is near the bottom of a real downhill slide, and I only keep it around because 1) I got a copy cheap, and 2) "Journey Through Time" is fantastic.
Review by daveconn
4 stars This is the first Kayak record I've ever listened to, and it won't be the last. Going into this blindly as I did, my heart sank when I saw the band photo; they looked like Abba's extended family (must be a palindromic problem). But I see with my ears when it comes to music, and the dutiful organ came back with a different report. It told me of a progressive pop band that could hold its own with the masters of that sometimes maligned genre: Supertramp, 10cc, ELO, Alan Parsons Project and the softer late '70s entries from Gentle Giant and Camel. [I'm listening to "Journey Through Time" right now (my favorite track on the album) and there's almost a Hackettsian mad glee about the whole thing.] It's strictly second-tier stuff, but if you're already buying works by Tony Banks or Anthony Phillips, by all means venture into the world of Kayak. The elegiac "Phantom of the Night" or the tuneful "The Poet And The One Man Band" (trust me, it's better than it sounds) are highlights, but Phantom of the Night is rarely less than engaging. The melodies from Ton Scherpenzeel are ingratiating, not brilliant; the guitar work from Johan Slager has a Latimer-like quality to it; Edward (he's better than he sounds) Reekers has a stout but sympathetic voice. Put it all together and you've got a progressive pop band that resides somewhere between Genesis and Supertramp without touching them. I'm happy with this record right now. If I find that Kayak gets deeper, so much the better. If they don't, they've still achieved something here.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Competent

This follow up album to "Starlight Dancer" is very much a case of more of the same. Indeed, when heard as part of the "Three originals" collection, the tracks flow seamlessly from one album to the next. Once again, here we have short pop rock tracks, the longest lasting a mere 5 minutes. That of course does not in itself imply that there is a complete absence of anything prog (Genesis "Can utility and the coastliners" belies any such notion), but the fact is that the tracks on "Phantom of the night" are all based on simple pop structures and strong melodies.

Once again we have a mixture of 10CC influenced melodic pop rock, 60's style Beatlesque numbers, and Alan Parson Project like ballads. Vocally, there are similarities with America (of "Horse with no name" fame). It is the ballads which appear to work best here, "Ruthless Queen" and "Phantom of the night" both having slightly more to them compositionally than the majority of the faster paced pop rock songs.

The competence of the musicians, and the quality of the finished product betrays a band recording well within their capabilities, which ultimately leaves a sense of frustration that this album could have been so much better. Taken at face value though, a pleasant if totally unchallenging set of pop songs.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album which made them famous .

Why do I say so? As far as I know, the band was not that famous until they released this album because it has successful and popular hit in my country : "Ruthless Queen". It quickly became one of favorites for vast majority of people in my country who love music. The radio stations played this song quite often in their regular program because it was so many requests about this song. People tended to know the band literally only from this one song. Not that many people knew that there were actually many excellent albums by Kayak. The discussion of Kayak is now even becoming one of hot topics in the i-Rock! mailing list where I'm participating.

I was at my first year as engineering student when I purchased the cassette version of this CD and I was in fact amazed with the music which was for me quite easy to digest. Everything about the music of Kayak sounds to me like a pop based music. They do not have jaw dropping fast speed double pedal drums nor distorted guitar solos. They play sweet music, I think.

Look at "Winning Ways" which has relatively fast tempo but in the corridor of pop music through a good combination of piano, drums and some guitar fills plus bass that accompany vocal line. This upbeat tempo track is quite good to open the day. "Keep the change" is also a song in similar vein like "Winning Ways".

"Daphne" is one of my best favorite tracks from this album. Oh man .. I like the intro part where the vocal starts the track in catchy melody. The melody is so nice that I keep repeating this track again whenever I play this album. As usual, this wonderful track starts with soft piano work with notes that makes your heart breaks! I mean it. Especially when vocal starts to sing backed with nice notes delivered by the piano. The song then moves into upbeat style in grandiose way using orchestra and guitar fills. Well, you must experience yourself. Play it loud!

"The Poet and The One Man Band" is another straight pop music. "No Man's Land" is a straight rocker with an upbeat music using a combined work of guitar and piano. "Journey Through Time" is a nice track with good grooves through out the song.

The title track "Phantom of The Night" is another great track which has powerful melody, tight composition and brilliant music flow. The music is mellow but the melody has been written in such a way that brings you seamlessly from one segment to another without any disorientation of chords or notes. All chords and notes blend nicely in a beautiful melody that brings your mind through a peaceful journey. The song is also enriched by light orchestra. The overall track is so captivating for me. It's really great!

Overall, I would consider this album is excellent as it has successfully blended catchy melody (the main strength of Kayak music) and tight composition that goes along nicely with the melody. As the music of Kayak is pop based, you would find many pop music throughout the album. But that's okay as the pop parts would still make yourself tolerant to accept it. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by friso
3 stars Kayak's 'Phantom of the Night' is in my opinion rightly seen the highlight of Kayak progressive pop phase ('77-'80). Not only does the first side impress with a string of enthusiastic and uplifting melodic pop-rock songs, the second side has strong spree of (mildly progressive) symphonic rock songs as well. Perhaps a bit like Alan Parsons Project at its best. The melodic ballad 'Ruthless Queen' became an international hit, and it indeed is a very impressive song with a beautiful vocal performance of Edward Reekers. For fans of the early progressive period of Kayak the song 'No-Man's Land' offers a nice bit of nostalgia with Max Werner on vocals, who by now had become the drummer of the band. Songs like 'Daphne', 'Journey Through Time' and the title track are also among the best progressive rock / pop Kayak had to offer in this period.
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Good albums are over, I'm afraid. "Kayak" now fully plays some poppy prog (or is it reverse?). They might be called as somewhat "precursory" since most of our beloved bands were adding these "flavours" in the early eighties. "Kayak" didn't wait that long?

My fave is the sweet and delicious "Daphné" which is a good prog adventure: typically Trampish oriented (as usual), fine vocals and quite good backing music to be honest. The closing and passionate guitar break has a bunch of merit to say the least.

But such tracks are not too many on this album. Actually, I'm looking for a second one with a lot of care but can't really find it. The basic qualities from this band didn't disappear: there are fine vocal harmonies like during the title track, good and sweet keys, acceptable orchestrations but what is lacking is skilled song writing.

This is a quite average prog album: nothing too bad though. Tranquil, peaceful music, no problem ("poet...", or the charming "Ruthless Queen"). But not enough to rate it as a good work. Two stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Many years ago, I walked into a record store looking for something new. I had gained trust in the clerk that worked there. He had always given me some great recommendations and introduced me to a lot of bands that otherwise I would have never heard of. He told me to buy this one. I think I listened to it once and then had a hard time picking it up again. I wasn't that impressed at first, thinking it was just a bit to poppy for my tastes. But, somewhere along the way, I listened to it a few more times and realized that the songs were stuck in my head. And I actually didn't mind them being stuck there! So, I finally had to admit that I really liked this album. A few months ago, I was in a second hand store and got quite excited when I found this album on vinyl. I really didn't think I would ever find it again. I put it on and remembered why I loved it so much.

There are 3 1/2 slow songs on this one and the others are quite uptempo. But, in reality, my favorites are the slower ones. They are very dramatic, heartfelt, and, in my opinion, emotional. Daphne is the one that is the 1/2 slow and 1/2 uptempo song, Phantom of the Night is a lovely song about a ghost ship, Ruthless Queen which was the single overseas and a very powerful song, and First Signs of Spring. Don't get me wrong because the uptempo ones are nice too. The one prog song on here is No Man's Land, the others tend to lean more to crossover. But its all still very good music and still one of my all time favorite albums. I have heard some of their other albums and have to admit that the production on some of them is really great while on others it is terrible. But they are definately a band worth checking out, just know that some albums are better than others. It is very safe to say that you can follow the "stars" for the ratings for each of the albums on this site for picking out the best ones. Personally, I would have given this one a higher rating than three stars, but I think that is because it is more of a nostaligic thing for me. But I agree with the ratings for the other albums. The reason for the lower rating on this one is because it is more commercial than some of their other albums, but it is still loaded with well-written songs.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Kayak is comparable to groups of a more 'enlightened or harmless' sound as Alan Parsons Project, Saga and to a lesser extent with Styx. There were no masterpiece (as it did Supertramp), but I find very nice a lot of songs from their discography. Especially enjoy their first three albums for th ... (read more)

Report this review (#977197) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, June 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kayak's sixth album, 'Phantom Of The Night' is the first album with lead-singer Edward Reekers. The original vocalist, Max Werner, moved to the drumkit, replacing Charles Louis Schouten, who played drums on the fifth record 'Starlight Dancer'. The brother of the band's leader Ton Scherpenzeel, Pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#71401) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Kayak, the Kings of Dutch Progressive rock, were a band who could not make a weak album if they tried. Throughout their career nearly all their albums were masterpieces, beginning with the brilliant See See The Sun and ending, for a long time, with the magnificent Merlin- a dark and perilous con ... (read more)

Report this review (#58567) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I stumbled across this album on vinyl format in about 1980 or so. I find that the music moved me like nothing else. I lost the actual record in the mid 80's and all but forgot about Kayak. Recently I have been in search of the CD and it is quite an adventure to try and find it. It remains one ... (read more)

Report this review (#4165) | Posted by | Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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