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Freaks of Nature

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Album Review

Unbalanced. This record should have been what the small but rabid masses of Kansas fans had been waiting for, but for some reason it misses. Every moment of greatness on this record is accompanied with a conspicuous flaw. "I Can Fly" — a revisitation of Kansas' recurrent "Icarus" theme — opens the disc with an exciting violin line and a soaring vocal sounding strong and fresh. Enter the drums — precise, thick, and metrical, or in other words clunky — invoking a feel for the song about as far from "flight" as is possible. Other songs fall prey to the excesses of '80s anthemic rock ("Hope Once Again"). Other embarrassing tracks such as "Under the Knife" or "Black Fathom 4" make an attempt at a dark, disturbing mood but come off like B movies in execution. Original member Kerry Livgren contributes the song "Cold Grey Morning," which, sad to say, is not one of his best. Taken solely in terms of the performances, however, the record is astonishingly good. Arrangements are well-layered and complex. Each player plays with stunning virtuosity. Notable is David Ragsdale's violin — every bit as good as Steinhardt's playing. ~ Mark W.B. Allender, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Severely underrated

This album came out at a time when Grunge was just about to die, and corporations had just about neutered everything and run music into the ground. Fortunately MP3s got some karmic revenge.

Point is this album went hardly noticed, and that is a shame. This IS a Kansas album, even without Livgreen as a member (though he does pen 1 song).

The album takes some modern chances, not all work, but the album is great and I can't stop listening. Even as his voice ages, Walsh still sings better than just about anyone and has that classic rock voice most younger singers can only dream off.

And even though made in 1995, the album is still progressive, a mostly shelved form of rock that I hope resurges because I am so thoroughly sick of the Verse-Chorus-Verse-Bridge-Solo-Chorus Cmaj-Gmaj-Amin-FMajor song structure that is grotesquely omni-present. Though, while prog, this album is still very accessible.

What most don't know is that this was the beginning of the Walsh-Livgren reconciliation. The performances are great especially Ragsdale's violin.

And don't miss Peaceful and Warm, ESPECIALLY the ending. It's epic.

Great CD!

Being a long time Kansas fan I can absolutely say I love this CD! Sure Steve's voice is different but there are few singers out there that sing with as much passion as he does. Great compositions with rocking rockers and great ballads. I love the Livgren era stuff but to me Steve is the heart and soul of this band and his three solo albums show that he can still put out some great and relevant material.

Cold Grey Morning

no, I think Kerry Livgren wrote Cold Grey Morning, but do like Peaceful and Warm written by Steve Walsh. Overall a big disappointment for Kansas standards.


Formed: 1970 in Topeka, KS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Fusing the complexity of British prog rock with an American heartland sound representative of their name, Kansas were among the most popular bands of the late '70s; though typically dismissed by critics, many of the group's hits remain staples of AOR radio playlists to this day. Formed in Topeka in 1970, the founding members of the group -- guitarist Kerry Livgren, bassist Dave Hope, and drummer Phil Ehart -- first played together while in high school; with the 1971 addition of classically trained...
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