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Proto-Kaw - Before Became After CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 150 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Before there was Kansas, there was Proto-Kaw. Actually, Proto-Kaw was Kansas, and when Kerry Livgren joined the Kansas that we know so well, he took the mane with him. And thirty years later, after Cuneiform resurrected some of their old tapes, Livgren reunited the surviving members under this new name.

The first thing that strikes me, is how much this band sounds like early Kansas. In fact, it underscores just how integral Livgren was to the classic Kansas sound (and how much their sound suffered when he left). I know, there is no violinist in this band, and there is saxophone and flute, but the essential sound that was Kansas is here on this album.

Another thing to note is singer Lynn Meredith, who's voice didn't sound particularly strong on the old tapes, with modern production, sounds young, and clear toned, very similar to a young Steve Walsh, without quite the range.

And while the songs don't quite break out into masterpiece level, all are quite good, even the ballad leaven, which starts out a bit too pastorally, but breaks into a fine middle section. The best track is the closer, Theophany, which, at almost twelve minutes, has enough changes (and a nice bass line) to make a classic Kansas fan happy.

I know this has been described as "Christian rock", but, although there is some noticable spirituality in the lyrics, Livgren never proselytizes.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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