Kansas recently released their newest studio album The Prelude Implicit. The band’s last two fully original studio albums, 2000’s Somewhere To Nowhere and 1995’s Freaks Of Nature are tales of two vastly different bands. Somewhere To Nowhere is the band’s absolute worse album and Freaks Of Nature is one of their very best.
The Prelude Implicit is the first Kansas album to feature new singer Ronnie Platt. I was aware that the band had a new singer, but this is my first exposure to his vocals. The album also features long time members Phil Ehart on drums, Richard Williams on guitar and Billy Greer on bass. The lineup is completed by new members David Manion on keyboards and Zak Rizvi on guitar. This new incarnation of Kansas makes an extremely positive argument for classic bands putting out new music. The Prelude Implicit is a fantastic album that sounds like classic Kansas, without sounding retro. The ten songs showcase excellent songwriting that combines the prog rock sounds that the band explored in the 1970’s with the more commercial rock sounds found on their releases from the 1980’s.
The whole band sounds great, but there are a few standouts. Ronnie Platt is the perfect middle ground between the band’s prior two singers, Steve Walsh and John Elefante. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill. Platt steps up to the microphone and he sings like a champion.
Veteran violinist David Ragsdale is one of the biggest stars of the album. One of the things that sets Kansas apart, even from other prog bands, is the heavy use of violin in their music. His violin is a huge part of what gives this release that classic Kansas sound.
The band’s long time drummer and founding member Phil Ehart has always been a solid drummer. One of Ehart’s strengths has been his ability to play great without being to flashy or busy. He is a solid drummer who plays for the song and that is reflected throughout the new album.
I do have two rather minor criticisms. The music is fantastic, however I do feel that the keyboards are downplayed somewhat in the mix. The second issue is the cover art, it is just okay. The illustration is decent, but I really do not care for the colors used. Is it a bad cover? No, but it will not go down in history as an example of excellent cover art. As I said, minor criticisms.
If you are a fan of the great music of Kansas I would highly suggest that you get your hands on The Prelude Implicit. I have listened to this album steadily for the past three weeks. I can honestly say that it is among my top five favorite Kansas albums. Highly recommended!!!