REVIEW: KANSAS – “The Prelude Implicit”
In the crazy world of prog music, the name Kansas strikes all the exciting notes among young and older fans alike. A band that really proved itself to be timeless and ever youthful in every way possible, Kansas has come a long way from the 1970’s. Kansas has witnessed numerous line-up changes over the course of time. All of this without a drastic change in their sound. There have been many bands that have kept fans waiting rather painfully and endlessly for new music. In this case, Kansas takes the cake. And after a long 16 year wait, the band is back with a new record. Enter ‘The Prelude Implicit’. Much like the band’s musical past, ‘The Prelude Implicit’ is another divine record.
‘The Prelude Implicit’ opens with “With This Heart”. Talk about the sheer good vibes that Kansas creates, this is an awesome opening track. The track is brimming with a lot of happy sounds and I personally thought it was a rather soothing track. This really helps ease the listener into what follows. Up next is “Visibility Zero”. The track starts off with a really modern prog sound that many younger audiences are quite acquainted with. The song gradually sways more towards a classical prog rock sounds and sways between older and newer sounds. The superb work on the keys, guitars, drums, bass and the violins work incredibly well with the impressive singing. So far, the arrangements in the music have been pretty straightforward without abrupt parts or diversions. I guess this kind of music calls for such arrangements and I think it’s a fine thing to do.
“The Unsung Heroes” is a personal favourite on the record. You might or not agree with me, but I find that this song is balanced and yet so satisfyingly tasteful. The intro and the transitions and the latter of the song are fine. The lyrics are so well written and the instrumental side of things are sublime. It is a fine example of a song which isn’t overdone at all. The vocals take the limelight on this track. “Rhythm in the Spirit” opens up with some catchy guitar parts before rest of the band kick in and the results are simply grand. This song sounds so rich and heavy. The synthesis between the instruments and the vocals are quite special on this one.
Songs like “Camouflage” and “Crowded Isolation” feature the typical catchy sounds that Kansas is renowned and revered for. Apart from their catchy sections, the songs have really tight and intense openings. These two are also typical of the classy Kansas sound and also captures the essence of elements that made sounds from older eras. The groovy rhythm sections are endlessly appealing.
“Section 60” marks the end of what has been an awesome record. This instrumental piece is a great culmination with its sublime and spectacular arrangements. It was a great move to end the record with a song that showcases just the instruments. With a slow opening and quick transitions to fast sections and ending with a rhythmic groove which feels like a trance in some sense, “Section 60” is a complete track by itself. Despite the strong presence of the vocals all over the record so far, one would not miss the singing on this graceful song.
‘The Prelude Implicit’ is epic in every sense of the term. Kansas shows what it truly means to be timeless and quite literally defy aging in their music. The album is a fine balance between classical sounds and newer contemporary sounds. In a time when progressive music is more often than not overdone for the sake of being ‘proggy’, Kansas brings a new class with its music. The guitars are fire on this record. Zak Rizvi and Richard Williams showcase some amazing and inspiring work on the guitars on the record. Phil Ehart adds oodles of rhythm with his intense work on the drums while Billy Greer holds down the groove and rhythm while displaying great prowess on the bass guitar. David Manion’s magical touch on the keys and the organ adds a fine texture in the band’s music and is instrumental in making the music sound timeless. David Ragsdale’s violins create a signature sound more or less with rest of the band. The violins add so much musical fevor and it is a voice by itself in the band’s music. Ronnie Platt’s singing is marvelous. There is no better word to describe the lovely singing on the record. The singing add so much depth to the instrumental parts and gives a certain definitive meaning to the music. The lyrics are so well articulated too! Billy Greer too adds his touch to the vocals. The production on ‘The Prelude Implicit’ is an example of great production and is definitely something bands can look up to. One could argue that the straightforward arrangements aren’t ‘proggy’ enough but when you think about it that is the sound Kansas is loved for more than anything else. The music is instantly appealing and would be a hit among a wide crowd. I guess the 16 year wait wasn’t too bad with everything that ‘The Prelude Implicit’ offers!