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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kansas

Drastic Measures

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit that the pop era of Kansas really turned me off to the band. That meant that I missed a lot of the discs in that period – and this was one of those. I’d have to say, going back and looking into them again, that this is probably the weakest disc they ever put out. That said, even a weak album from Kansas is good – just not great. Sure, a lot of this is pretty generic 1980’s schlock that doesn’t feel much like Kansas. There are some shining stars amongst that, though – and they make it worth picking this one up – mind you after you have the rest of the catalog.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fight Fire With Fire
I really like the vocals on the verses of this song. The choruses are a bit in the line of generic 80s music. There is definitely an air of 80s cliche to a lot of the music of the song. Still, it was a single, so you expect a catchy hook and trendy sound. Other than the too short weird bridge, this doesn't really sound like Kansas, and it's not really proggy, but it's a decent tune.
Everybody's My Friend
The opening vocal bit makes me think of The Beatles, but overall this is Jefferson Starship (the Mickey Thomas era) does Kansas. It’s very generic and just plain not that good.
Mainstream
After a bit of percussion bit we get a guitar grind that feels like Judas Priest. When they take it out to the song proper it’s more 1980’s rock and roll. This is quite a good track, but has none of what we think of as Kansas on it. It could be any number of bands from that period. Still, the chorus does bring in a bit of progressive rock. There is a cool instrumental break on this one that manages to make me think of the Kansas we know and love a bit. 
Andi
Beatles psychedelia and progressive rock on this bouncy little number. It’s actually quite a tasty cut and has some of the sound we expect from Kansas. Although this was definitely not a track that got a lot of attention it’s one of the best on show here. Mind you, it’s not completely uniquely Kansas, though and I hear some Toto on this. 
Going Through The Motions
This harder rocking number has some serious 1980’s elements, but is also quite proggy and has more of the trademark Kansas sound than just about anything else here. It’s a strong cut and a highlight of the disc and features some intriguing changes and alterations. All that said, I can also make out bits of Toto on this one, too. Still, it proved that Kansas could still be Kansas if they wanted to do so. 
Get Rich
With a combination of pop rock sounds and more proggy territory this is actually a pretty cool track. It’s interesting that it’s got some very proggy sections, but yet it’s accessible. It doesn’t really sound like what one thinks of when they hear the name Kansas, but it doesn’t scream “sell out,” either. 
Don't Take Your Love Away
Here’s another highlight of the set. In many ways this is more “Kansas” than anything else here. It’s also a great tune that’s catchy and prog oriented. I love the guitar solo, too. 
End Of The Age
There have been a few highlights along the road here, and some songs that call to mind vintage Kansas a bit. This one blows all those away on both counts, though. It’s a killer prog jam that’s based on a great riff and feels like it could have come straight off of Leftoverture. It’s dynamic and powerful and my favorite cut on show here. 
Incident On A Bridge
They saved another of the strongest cuts for the closer. This is also one that calls to mind the classic era of Kansas more and is more progressive rock oriented. It’s a good way to end the album on a high note.
 
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