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Kayak - See See The Sun CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.81 | 144 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Whilst it is Focus who get all the praise, those who reaLly know their Dutch prog will tell you that the 'Hamburger Concerto' stars ain't the only boys in town. Then, after a quick mention of Trace, Supersister, Finch and Group 1850, they'll recommend the first pair of studio albums by this briefly-brilliant five-piece, which equates to this debut release from 1973 and it's eponymous follow-up(which is often to referred to as 'Kayak II') from a year later. Hailing from the South-Eastern city of Hilversum, Kayak was formed by talented duo of Ton Scherpenzeel(keyboards, vocals) and Pim Koopman(drums) sometime during the latter half of 1972. A search for musicians to fill out the group brought Johan Slager(guitar), Cees van Leeuwen(bass) and Max Werner(vocals, mellotron) on board, and after signing a deal with the British label Harvest found themselves teamed with producer Gerritt-Jan Leenders. Recorded during the winter of 1973 and issued in early 1974, the subsequent 'See See The Sun' marked Kayak out as a truly unique outfit, blending quirky progressive rock riffs with an almost Canterbury-style sensibility and much oddball humour. Listened to now, it sounds as fresh and as vital as ever, the slick production wringing every shade of very note from the group's excellent playing; now, reissued and remastered on the Esoteric imprint, it sounds even better. However, musically it is Scherpenzeel who dominates proceedings, adding thrilling solo displays with a host of instruments - organ, piano, synthesizer, harpsicord, accordion and even harp figure - to the magnificent opening track 'Reason For It All', the jaunty highlight 'Hope For A Life' and many other of the album's quirky pieces. Aided by Slager's wailing guitars and Koopman's battery of drum licks, the bulk of 'See See The Sun' proves fairly addictive, very much an album that, when started, must be finished. 1974's follow-up, the post-titled 'Kayak II', would somehow manage to surpass its predecessor, in the process outlining just what a fearsomely-inventive group Kayak were. Strangely, however, 'Kayak II' would mark something of a peak, as pervading musical trends and other factors - including line-up shifts - saw Kayak producing a more radio-friendly style of rock, their sound gradually softening as the 1970's turned into the 1980's. It is for their first two albums that we remember them for however, and both remain undoubted jewels of the rich Dutch prog-rock scene that flowered during the early- seventies. If pushed, this writer will plump for 'Kayak II' as the better, yet all that really shows is just how good the debut album is. A great little group; check 'em out now. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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