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Kansas - Kansas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.99 | 591 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I think this album is one of the most underrated pieces on this site. Even though this is their first album, Kansas reveal themselves as great individual musicians, an EXTREMELY tight group as performers, and impressive songwriters. Probably one of my favorite debuts by any band. Here are the highlights:

Can I Tell You. What a way to announce your arrival! This is a catchy, hard-driving rocker that also provides some hints about the band's unique talents: seamless integration of the violin to their sound, multi-part harmonies, and the ability to lay down an unrelenting tempo when they choose.

Bringing It Back/Lonely Wind/Belexes. Here we have the cover song, the nice ballad-type tune, and the prog-leaning, hard-driving single, respectively. All are solid tunes and uniquely Kansas--no need to skip over them, but not highlights compared to what follows.

Journey from Mariabronn. So Kansas have shown that they can create interesting, hard-driving singles, but can they apply that to prog epics? This song answers that questions with a resounding YES! Kansas has packed so much melody and creativity into this song that it seems they almost have some sort of attention deficit issues. Fortunately, it all rocks and is very well performed, and in the off-chance that you don't like one of their grooves, don't worry: they will be onto something new in a few seconds. Great track.

Apercu/Death of Mother Nature Suite. Maybe other reviewers don't see it this way, but I view these two tracks as one epic, and in that case I think my favorite epic from this group. These songs are nearly 20 minutes of killer prog, and where the tightness of the band really shows. Apercu features Kansas flawlessly moving into a guitar/guitar/violin harmony section that is mindblowing and unlike anything I have heard elsewhere. Death of Mother Nature Suite has an AWESOME build to the conclusion: one of my favorite endings to a prog epic (something that Livgren has a special understanding of how to pull off).

Unlike other bands, where certain players stick out, Kansas is one entity, with six guys on the same page and each making valuable contributions to the sound, which is part of why their sound is so unique. I picture these guys just walking into the studio and laying down these tracks exactly as heard on the album--they are that tight. In addition, this album has a certain rawness that seems to have been produced out of later albums, and I think that adds a bit of extra energy. Given the unique sound, solid songwriting and playing, and that this is a debut album, four stars seems appropriate. Here's hoping this album gets more love in the future!

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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