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Kayak - Out of this World

Out Of This World
by Emily Schneider at 11 June 2021, 6:20 PM

KAYAK hails from Holland. The band has an extensive history, having been founded in 1973. They have seventeen albums within the nearly 50 year span of existence. (with plenty of line-up changes within that span, understandably!) These days, the one founding member still carrying the band's legacy is keyboardist Ton. He has been creating Progressive Rock for decades and is going strong with their 2021 release “Out of This World”. They aimed to show off how diverse their talents are on this record, which may or may not have been the best idea with how it panned out.
The album opens with the title track “Out of this World”. I like the keys and synthwork, classic Prog feeling abound. The old school Hollywood orchestration felt rather out of place within the rest of the song though. “Waiting” has a slightly Bluesy 1980s Radio Rock feel; my first impression was BOB SEGER meets STEELY DAN with the melodies and overall play style of most of the instruments. “Under a Scar” is another song that I think I would have liked more without the theatrical orchestra thrown in over what otherwise could have been some really solid pure Prog Rock instrumentation. The lyrics were telling a story, but I was admittedly distracted with just how much the orchestra took over the song to notice what it was about. “Kaja” is a lovely full instrumental track, putting the spotlight on Marcel's guitar skills. This one made me reminiscent of PINK FLOYD.
"Mystery” is a whimsical track, with fluttery keys and solid pacing throughout. “Critical Mass” carries on the whimsical feel with a music box melody at the beginning, then it flows into a dramatic fantasy tale. The synth solos in tandem with the shivers down the spine guitar solo alone made this song the best on the album for me. “As the Crow Flies” has a dreamy feel with the whirling, adjusting the rabbit ears sounding synths in this one. I kept seeing a late night skyline through TV static with the retro sounds of this. “Red Rag to a Bull" is another song saved by the cool as hell synths. The tease of the Flamenco style guitar is a fun touch I wish they would have played more with, especially with the otherwise very Broadway Musical feeling vocal hooks. “A Writer's Tale” is the longest song on the album at 9 and a half minutes and it kind of felt that long at points. There was more of the weird heavy orchestra and cheesy Broadway style interludes than my preference. I did really like the synth heavy highlights paired with the cool wobbly sounding guitar hooks off and on through the song at least. The album closes with “Ship of Theseus”. The wavy percussion and nautical feel from the accordion made for a fun to listen to track and finished the album off on a better note.
Overall, “Out of This World” didn't transport me to much of anywhere. I was pretty bored from the weird, drawn out ballads with little musical variation. I was also slightly off-put by the 'full orchestra' sound in a handful of the songs; it just sucked the authentic Prog feel right out of the songs for me. It's one thing if one of the musicians plays an instrument like violin or cello, but when it's all electronically made or simply played on the keys, it just isn't the same. I also didn't care for the changing of singers throughout the album. I like the main singer's voice and I think the album would have felt more cohesive had they kept him as lead on every song, instead of alternating between most of the band members. I did like the skillful guitar work in many of the songs along with the intricate synth and piano work in the longer tracks. I was mainly just left wanting so much more because these interludes were often quite short or those Hollywood massive orchestra bits would drown them out. It's unfortunate that a band as wildly well-seasoned as this went this peculiar direction sound-wise, but I guess experimentation can't always appeal to everyone.
Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Out of This World
3. Under A Scar
4. Kaja
5. Mystery
6. Critical Mass
7. As the Crow Flies
8. The Way She Said Goodbye
9. Traitor's Gate
10. Distance to Your Heart
11. Red Rag to A Bull
12. One by One
13. A Writer's Tale
14. Cary
15. Ship of The Theseus
Ton Scherpenzeel - Keyboards, lead and backing vocals
Bart Schwertmann - Lead and backing vocals
Marcel Singor - Guitar, lead and backing vocals
Kristoffer Gildenlöw - Bass, lead and backing vocals
Hans Eijkenaar- Drums
Record Label: Independent


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