Monday, January 21, 2013

"Two for the Show" by Kansas (1978)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Filed between: Judas Priest and KC & The Sunshine Band

This one's a double-live LP, so...

Above Average (2.5/4 stars)
Best Track: Icarus - Borne on Wings of SteelKicks of with: a heavy dose of instrumental superprog
Sounds like: a collection of the band's most proggy tunes.  It even has their proggiest hit - Point of Know Return.  This side highlights Kansas' weakness on tracks like Song for America, but also their strengths when they can balance the synths with raging guitars, as heard on Icarus.

Above Average (2.5/4 stars)
Best Track: Carry on Wayward SonKicks off with: a crashing drum beat
Sounds like: straightforward hard rock.  The guitars lead the charge here and the synths are just used for accents and flourishes.  They even crank the preachy Portrait (He Knew) up to a fun level by playing it heavy and fast.

Above Average (2.5/4 stars)
Best Track: Mysteries and MayhemKicks off with: the famous riff from Dust in the WindSounds like: a bunch of fingering exercises.  It's all about showing off technique here.  There's an extended acoustic guitar solo AND an extended piano solo.  And they're back to back.

Average (2/4 stars)
Best Track: [not available]
Kicks of with: organs fading in
Sounds like: two excruciatingly long songs.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  "Two for the Show" isn't great, but it's consistent.  Honestly, Kansas seems to function better when they're not trying (and often failing) to weave a thick, thematic web with a studio album.

Up next, we continue in our exploration of late-seventies power rock with a band that should have been more popular.  It's "Just a Game" by Triumph.

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