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Kansas - Always Never The Same CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.39 | 136 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars It was about time

Many bands have released compilation albums with a Symphony Orchestra with different results, some good, some terrible, but the logic choice to attempt this is KANSAS, being that the massive use of violin and fluid Symphonic arrangements, makes the idea of enhancing the Classical approach of their music with an orchestra a logical choice.

It's also important to notice that they did it in the right moment, the band had suffered the terrible Elefante years when they lost a huge part of their fanbase (as well as Walsh and Steinhardt), and only with "Freaks of Nature" started to recover the lost path, so they needed their 70's glorious stuff in a new costume to rescue the interest of the people in the band, and "Always Never the Same" fulfilled the purpose, the voice spread and people knew that Steve and Robbie were back and playing good old stuff with a couple of new songs, so the mood was prepared to accept them again something that consolidated two years later with the release of "Somewhere to Elsewhere".

Now, going to the album I must say that the orchestration is absolutely tasteful they avoid long artificial intros and codas like in "Days of Future Passed" because KANSAS doesn't require it, while THE MOODY BLUES had to create a Symphonic atmosphere on POP tracks, KKANSAS material is Symphonic enough "per se" and the London Symphony Orchestra is there to enhance the already existing atmosphere, adding only what is necessary-

The band had to make the songs a bit slower in order to adapt a more complete sound, and tame a bit the usually frenetic performances of Phil Ehart and Rich Williams, in other words they sacrificed the hard edge for a more Classical approach.

Some people are surprised by the abrupt start of "Eleanor Rigby", but that's the best option they had, the orchestra could work in the body of the song and allow the band to start it as a Rock song.

A track that I wanted to listen with an orchestra was "Dust in the Wind", normally I press the skip button because the track has saturated me, but the new arrangements made their most popular song sound fresh and original.

Another high point is in "Song for America", being that the strings are played in a lower volume than the horns and flutes, allowing Robbie Steinhardt to be almost a soloist without affecting the essence of the song

The only track I don't like too much is my favourite KANSAS song "Miracles Out of Nowhere", being that the orchestra kills the natural atmosphere and they sacrifice the Rock essence , which is an integral part of the melody.

Despite the´obvious vocal problems of Steve Walsh, "Always Never the Same" is a very good album and an interesting experiment that we will see again on October 13 when their new Symphonic CVD is released.

My rating would be 3.5 stars, but being that this is impossible in Prog Archives, will go with 4.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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