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Kayak - Close to the Fire CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.74 | 110 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Kayak came full circle

Kayak disbanded in early 80's and it seemed that it was for good. Surprisingly, they returned in the new millennium with the excellent Close To The Fire. The sound of this album is quite different from the 70's Kayak albums. This is in many ways more progressive and I actually like this a lot more than the early albums by the band!

The title-track is the longest, most progressive and best track of the album. I immediately liked it upon hearing it the first time. The rest of the album took a bit longer to sink in, but now I like the whole album almost as much as that first track. The folksy, Celtic-sounding melodies are present on several tracks, most notably on the title-track and in Full Circle. The latter features the distinctive guitar sound of Andy Latimer from Camel who makes a guest appearance. Latimer and Ton Scherpenzeel, the keyboard player and leader of Kayak, know each other from the time when Scherpenzeel was a member of Camel in the 80's.

Some parts of the sound of Close To The Fire remind slightly of Camel (especially the Camel of the 90's with albums like Dust And Dream and Harbour Of Tears), other parts remind of Marillion, yet others of Barclay James Harvest (particularly Wooly Wolstenholme's songs), Supertramp and even Pink Floyd (particularly the Division Bell-era). Some instrumental passages remind me strongly of Mike Oldfield's more up-tempo, Celtic-influenced moments. Especially, the Q.E.2 album.

The material is strong and highly melodic. Frozen Flame is a great song with an almost Neo-Prog sound and great guitar play. Worlds Apart reminds of bands like Asia and is closer to AOR than Prog, but I do not mind this at all. Indeed, I think that this song fits in well and keeps the album varied. Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right is also a more straightforward number, almost Pop Metal! The main guitar line reminds very much of Don't Believe A Word by Thin Lizzy. This song sticks out in the same way that Hooks In You sticks out on Marillion's Seasons End album. But somehow it fits and makes the album varied yet coherent, and it is kept interesting throughout.

The fact that the album opens and closes with two very strong songs in Close To The Fire and Full Circle (Ruthless Queen is a remake of an older song and should be considered a bonus track) helps further to hold it all together. These two songs both have a strong Celtic sound that perfectly bookends the album.

The conclusion is that this is a very good album and I can really recommend it (even to people who doesn't very much like the early Kayak albums).

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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