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Kansas - Kansas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 591 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Topikal?

Kansas rightly have many fans around the world, including a good number on this site. While I have investigated many of their albums in search of their true Magnum Opus and enjoy some of their music, I find that overall Kansas are significant underachievers.

This, Kansas' self titled debut album, is a rather eclectic mixture of pretty straightforward short rock tracks, and a three longer more progressive pieces. The short tracks cut across a number of styles, including the jazz rock of Chicago ("Can I tell you"), the heavy organ driven rock of Uriah Heep ("Belexes"), a soft melodic rock ballad ("Lonely wind"), and country rock ("The pilgrimage").

The longer tracks certainly have prog structures, with instrumental variation, time changes etc. "Apercu" starts off sounding like Yes ("Starship trooper") before a dominant violin takes over, the track becoming rather dull and tedious during its rambling 10 minutes or so. The heavy guitar and organ on "Death of mother nature suite" once again have a Uriah Heep feel, but for my money in an inferior way.

I find the vocal style of Kansas irritating at times. There is a tendency to adopt multiple lead vocals, with each vocalist singing the lead refrain, rather than one singing backing harmony. This is particularly noticeable on "Can I tell you" and "The pilgrimage". The vocal sound is better when a single lead vocal is adopted, such as on "Lonely wind".

"Kansas" is clearly an album by a band seeking their own direction. As a result it tends to fall between too many stools, promising moments being intermixed with dull and laborious passages. A decent first album though.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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