Πέμπτη, 18 Ιουνίου 2009

Kansas - Drastic Measures


The album rocks hard, with the guitar work being more raw and heavy than ever. “Fight Fire With Fire” and “Mainstream”, in particular, offer some great riffs. The overall sound, however, is far off balance compared to the bands’ earlier work. Being heavily synthesized, the album shimmers and sparkles with too much of that ‘80s pop, and in the case of the song “Andi”, exemplifies the cheese-balladry of the decade. At least Vinyl Confessions generally retained Dave Hope’s pulsating bass lines, as well as some progressive rock keyboard playing. Here, the keyboards are usually synthesized and the bass far less prominent. This makes the songs sometimes sound empty and hollow. Also absent is the band’s tendency to perform complex, extended instrumental passages. Being a more consciously-pop effort, there is less room for instrumental breaks. When they do occur, as in “Mainstream”, they sound somewhat incomplete; especially with a shimmering synthesizer where there would have otherwise been a violin and Steve Walsh’s keyboards to fill the void. That said, it still makes the song seem grand and eloquent, making it somewhat reminiscent of the old Kansas sound. All this taken into consideration, the album delivers the goods on a very non-progressive level. Its pop consciousness is noteworthy, and few can deny the quality of the songs when taken in terms of melodies, lyrics, pop hooks, and guitar riffs. Since this brand of 80’s rock is an acquired taste, Drastic Measures is not for everyone. I think it is still a great album, even if it doesn’t sound too much like Kansas.

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