Kansas - The Prelude Implicit album review
After 16 years away, you’d be quite wrong to close the atlas on this reinvigoration of prog pop world-beaters Kansas
The state fair has become a staple of the American music scene; a succession of faithful old concert names, viewable in safe, 50-something comfort – all the hits and nothing more. Despite a glorious history from the 1970s until the latter part of the following decade when Deep Purple’s Steve Morse became their guitarist, Kansas had become marooned in this most reliable and least demanding of environments. Minus the talents of Kerry Livgren, writer of their biggest hits, they appeared abandoned in the musical equivalent of God’s waiting room, apparently without hope.
In 2014, with the voice of frontman/keyboard player Steve Walsh (another of the band’s key composers) depreciating badly, to borrow the parlance of the ring, Kansas had taken their sucker punch and were now lying prostrate and gumshield-less on the canvas. The referee’s final count loomed.
A set of tunes cut from their signature sound, yet without resorting to imitation.
“There’s always a slight hope [of making new music] but we don’t look much further than today,” co-founding drummer Phil Ehart admitted to your correspondent the same year, adding: “If something pops up tomorrow then fine, but right now those odds look pretty slim.”