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Kansas - The Prelude Implicit CD (album) cover

THE PRELUDE IMPLICIT

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 292 ratings

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pacidy
4 stars I just bought this album and feel that I will be listening to it, at least parts of it, for quite a while. There's a lot of musical depth here, reminiscent of the early days of Kansas. It's the first album with Ronnie Platt on lead vocals. His voice is clear as a bell, reaching the high notes with relative ease, sounding some combination of the early Walsh but with a softer feel, not the same stridency that Walsh sometimes got. The music is pretty solid throughout, and at its best, at least compares with such songs as Hopelessly Human or Closet Chronicles, thought not really coming close to the greatness that is Song for America or Magnum Opus.

With This Heart -- didn't really like this one at first, but it has grown on me with its uplifting feeling and lyrics

Visibility Zero -- lyrics seem to be about our current Congress! The music here is uninspiring until the lead violin comes in. Those instrumental interludes pop up a lot in the middle of songs, elevating them above the ordinary, as in ...

The Unsung Heroes -- a rather maudlin song is saved by the dual lead violin/guitar interlude. I can't help but think of Peyton Manning yelling, "Cut! That! Meat!"

Rhythm in the Spirit -- the first attempt at a real prog song. This one doesn't know whether it wants to be a heavy metal or a Kansas song, alternating between dissonant guitar crunching and a violin passage reminiscent of the end of Song for America. The slow coda seems like a missed opportunity -- this could have been extended and developed into a dramatic ending, a whole other section, or even a separate song.

Refugee -- what a beautiful and haunting song about the ongoing tragedy of human sex trafficking. The acoustic guitar intro sets the tone right away.

The Voyage of Eight Eighteen -- the longest song and a great one -- there's a lot of musical richness here, what with the guitar now playing an often somewhat dissonant counterpoint, rather than a harmony, to the violin, and unexpected sonorities popping up here and there. I feel like I'll probably discover more to it with each relisten. Lyrically, it continues the theme of Rhythm in the Spirit, reading as the yearning in all of us for our better natures, for the light of understanding to sweep away the darkness of superstition and fear, for evolution.

Camouflage -- this one gets darker, with the lead guitar and organ carrying the instrumental passages, appropriate for the lyrics which point at someone who is about to be exposed.

Summer -- this song brings in something from the early days that's missing in most of the album. Tempo. Velocity. Pace. Fast enough to get you up and dancing, in the tradition of such boogie-woogie rockers as Can I Tell You, Down the Road, Carry On, Wayward Son (at least the coda), Point of Know Return, Lightning's Hand, or even Stay out of Trouble. You can almost feel the older band members shedding about four decades for this one.

Crowded Isolation -- another standout song. Is that a Moog I here in the instrumental? It's wonderful, whatever it is. The driving guitar with its octave intervals pounds this song into the brain, and the organ solo ends it in a flourish.

Section 60 -- a tribute to fallen soldiers needs to be elegaic and soaring, and this one is, ending appropriately on a rudimental drum outro.

Bonus Tracks -- I like the instrumental Oh Shenandoah! the better of these two, probably because I'm not wild about either song.

Overall rating -- This is hard. I want to give it 4 stars, but really, is it as good as Point of Know Return? Maybe; comparing The Voyage of Eight Eighteen with Helplessly Hoping, it's hard to say, but I think the shorter tracks on PoKR are stronger. Is it really an "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection?" It's definitely not up there with "Leftoverture," but that's a legitimate 5-star album. I think The Prelude Implicit is at least 3.5 stars, so I'll be generous and round it to 4.

pacidy | 4/5 |

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