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Kayak - The Last Encore CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.45 | 106 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Then after the last encore, we'll play on forever more"

Contrary to what the title might suggest, this was by no means Kayak's final release. "The last encore" was in fact the band's 1976 follow up to the highly revered "Royal bed bouncer".

It has taken me a long time, and at least four albums to pinpoint the similarity which I hear in Max Werneer's vocals. Finally, I have realised that he reminds me a lot of Chris Squire (of Yes), in his tone, phrasing, and slight lisp. The vocals on this album are in fact one of its high points. Right from the spirited opener "Back to front", there is an underlying strength to the harmonies and vocal effects. This is particularly evident on the Beach Boys like vocalising on the beautiful "Nothingness", the track also having some highly effective orchestration. "Love of a victim" retains the Yes similarities, sounding very like an outtake from the "Drama" album.

Ton Scherpenzeel's piano playing is once again the basis for many of the tracks, coming to the fore superbly on pieces such as the excellent title song. Johan Slager adds some fine guitar here too, although his solo could have been more dynamic.

While the compositions are generally strong, the album leans towards the pop orientation of subsequent albums such as "Starlight dancer" and "Phantom of the night". The orchestration is certainly used effectively to add further dimensions, but the tracks are brief (2-5 minutes), often falling short of being fully realised. "Land on the water" for example has some fine guitar and keyboards, but at only 2:27, it lacks substance. There are some definite prog, or at least prog related moments, such as the Alan Parsons Project like "Still my heart cries for you". Conversely, the wartime like music of "Love me tonight/get on board" is ill advised, and a needless diversion.

I hesitate to appear over critical though, as this is a highly enjoyable album, full of strong melodies and competent performances. Any frustration I have is entirely down to the fact that the band has a tendency to play well within their capabilities, and do not exploit to the full their enormous potential.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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