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Kansas - Song For America CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 714 ratings

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4 stars Another helping of rootsy boogie-prog courtesy the American sextuplet, 'Song For America' picks up the baton right from where it's outstanding self-titled predecessor left off, though sadly it would take another few years before Kansas found themselves truly accepted by the record-buying public. However, that's not to say 'Song For America' is not worth the effort. Far From it. This is prime American prog, featuring all the hallmarks of the genre - energetic solo's, complex instrumental passages, epic themes, experimental flourishes - and shot through with a heavy, hearty dose of bluesy hard-rock and passionately-deployed vocal harmonies. Both opener 'Down The Road', a track dealing with the big taboo of drug addiction, and the title-track exhibit the usual Kansas flare, though if anything the Genesis and Yes influences are slightly more pronounced this time around, the keyboards(shared by main creative duo Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren) given much more focus as jazzy synthesizers and classically-ordained piano's battle for sonic domination alongside Steinhardt's violin and the crunchy guitar riffs. The highlight, however, has to be the twelve-minute power-epic 'Incomudro: Hymn To The Atman', another mystically-monikered Livgren-penned piece dealing with themes of ancient religion and spirituality that powers through several vibrant sections without ever losing sight of it's central idea. Most of all it is this lengthy closing opus that reflects the group's British influences, though the whimsical ambience that colours so much of the UK's progressive output has been cleverly eschewed. This is tough, muscular yet arty prog-rock that still manages to retain a link with the mainstream, a tough musical balancing act indeed. If 'Kansas' showed that this truly a group to be reckoned with, 'Song For America' confirms it. An accomplished and exciting album, this is the perfect antidote to progressive rock's many excesses. Great stuff.


stefro | 4/5 |


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