Monday, February 9, 2009


The album opens with the rocker "Down the Road", which isn't really prog, but smokes nonetheless. Then we get the title track, which is not just the best song on the album, it's probably Kansas' best song, and should by all rights be considered a prog classic. All the elements are there - overall symphonic sound, multiple sections, long instrumental breaks, heady politically/environmentally conscious lyrics and great composition. Whenever someone gratuitously bashes Kansas, I always wonder if all they've heard is "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind", and have never had the pleasure of a track like "Song For America". One of my favorite concert moments was getting to see Kansas play at a tiny bar and standing five feet away from Phil Ehart as he tore through the impressive drum parts of this song. To this day, I'm convinced that Mr. Ehart is possibly the most underrated drummer in rock.

Unfortunately the best track is followed immediately by what is probably the worst. It's a melodramatic, overblown tale of a grieving widower who's wife's ghost comes back to comfort him (with suitably bombastic and emotional music to match). Even when I was a hard-core Kansas fan I never liked this song - it just seems like the blueprint for way too many bad neoprog songs.

"Lonely Street" is a down-and-dirty blues tune (in 11/8 if I'm counting correctly) that's about as dark lyrically as anything the band ever did. The narrator tells of how he killed a man for raping his woman. Steve Walsh goes for the gusto on this one, and those who dislike his voice would hate it. But it's another highlight in my book. The guitars smolder and smoke, and the violin adds some nice touches. I just wish the lyric "So half crazed I shot him, and I cried in the blood on that jail house floor" had been changed to "killed" instead of "shot". How would the protagonist have gotten a gun in jail? A nitpick I know, but it's always bugged me.

"The Devil Game" kind of foreshadows the days of the early 80s, when Kerry Livgren would take over control of the band and turn it briefly into a Christian rock group. Except that this song is a fairly good rocker (if you can overlook the "don't let the devil use you" lyrics), while most of Kansas' early 80s work is not so hot.

The album ends with another lengthy track, "Incomudro". I seem to remember reading somewhere that the name came to Livgren in a dream, and doesn't really have any particular meaning. The song is another big, bombastic number with long instrumental, symphonic prog sections and occasional philosophical lyrics. Not a bad track, but in all my years as a Kansas fan I never thought "you know, I really need to hear Incomudro today". There's a big drum solo that's a bit disappointing given Ehart's skill, and finally the song and album end in grand prog fashion with the music speeding up until it finally reaches an explosion (literally).

If you don't mind a bit of the "classic rock" sound with your symphonic prog, and you haven't bought this album yet, give it a try. The band's other early work would probably also appeal (everything from the self-titled first album through the live Two For the Show).

review by Bob Eichler

Tracks :

1. Down the road (3:43)
2. Song for America (9:59)
3. Lamplight symphony (8:11)
4. Lonely street (5:43)
5. The devil game (5:03)
6. Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman (12:12)

Link : @

Ripped by : evermoreblues
Artwork Included


  1. Hi all and thanks for all your time with me for the past years. There will be no more "ChrisGoesRock Blog" for a long time now.

    Again, thank you all for your helping hand, it was very fun to run my blog and with all of you bloggers. See you all again in the future. (promise)


  2. Many thankx for this Kansas record.


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