Fireworks

Kansas - 'The Prelude Implicit' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bf/34/8e/Kansas-The-Prelude-Implicit-24-1474620639.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 23, 2016    
 
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Absolutely essential!

Ever get nervous before a new album by a favourite artist? Me too! Forty years as one of my "must have" bands mean my expectations here were very high. Two tracks in, however, and I'm smiling because I already love it. Can they maintain that momentum? Emphatically, yes they can.

'The Prelude Implicit' is a superb album, which more than lives up to the band's incredible legacy, hopefully signalling a new recording chapter for the group whose last studio album was released sixteen years ago. I'd suggest 'Monolith' by way of a comparison to their previous work but, that said, there's a fresh vibe, too.

Key to this new beginning is the recruitment of Ronnie Platt (vocals & keys) who replaces the magnificent but unfortunately struggling Steve Walsh. Platt definitely sounds like Walsh at his peak, and therefore delivers the songs just how we, the fans, would want. He's no mere copyist however, as 'The Unsung Heroes' reveals; aside from the opening it's the least typical Kansas-like track on offer and reveals Platt has his own identity, too.

The material (written by the band) is absolutely terrific and there's no sign of a filler anywhere. Part of my trepidation was about the songs with the band's core writers, Walsh and Kerry Livgren, no longer involved. I needn't have worried because with the likes of Billy Greer (Seventh Key) at hand there could be no doubt about the quality or that they'd be true to the Kansas ethos. All ten tracks immediately insinuated themselves into my brain and have stayed there. They're filled with unforgettable refrains and immense choruses all overlaid with the Kansas stamp of melody and nuanced arrangements that make you purr with pleasure.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The other new boy is keyboardist David Manion; like everyone he gets to shine, particularly with his Hammond Organ playing. The production is excellent and Phil Ehart's drums have never sounded so crisp and powerful.

'With This Heart' opens proceedings and twenty seconds in the signs are already great, piano and vocals hitting the mark straight away. 'Visibility Zero' is a clarion call and imbued with a fantastic arrangement whereas 'Rhythm Of The Spirit' starts heavy but is a melodic gem, the verses being a welcome twist on the traditional Kansas.

'Refugee' is a plaintive number with Dave Ragsdale's violin giving it pathos. 'The Voyage Of Eight Eighteen' is early Kansas personified � flamboyant, pompous, glorious � and filled with melodic hooks. 'Camouflage' is huge with yet more great hooks, while 'Summer' has Greer taking lead vocals and it's simply irrepressible. 'Crowded Isolation' has a delicious shuffle while 'Section 60' is a terrific instrumental that closes the album out.

I can't stop playing this album. It's absolutely essential!

Gary Marshall

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  • Berny : @SoCal Rocker: Welcome back! There are 50 free issues of Fireworks Magazine for you (and of course all other Rocktopians) to download. Check out the news on the frontpage. Stay happy, safe & healthy. Best wishes to California!

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