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Kayak: Seventeen

Dutch progressive rock act Kayak have been around since 1972, and have had a long and storied career that has seen more personnel changes than anyone can keep up with, but yet they've never really hit some of the successes globally that their contemporaries have. Here we are in 2018, and band leader/keyboard player/composer Ton Scherpenzeel has once again assembled a completely new line-up of Kayak just in time to record their new release for InsideOut Music, titled Seventeen. Not the most captivating album title, but, it is their seventeenth studio effort, so there you go. In the band now are singer Bart Schwertmann, guitarist Marcel Singor, bassist Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex-Pain Of Salvation) and drummer Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse/Dave Bainbridge).

If you are familiar with Kayak's musical history, the band always blended catchy pop with progressive rock, and that combination is ever present once again on Seventeen. The first thing you notice here are the fine vocals of Schwertmann, who sounds a lot like Bernie Shaw from Uriah Heep. "Somebody" kicks things off with some soaring hooks and tight instrumentation, but that's followed by the nearly 12-minute epic "La Peregrina", a fantastic song and the albums real proggy gem, filled with tasty guitars, keyboards, and vocals. "Walk Through Fire" is another lengthy beast of dramatic prog, Singor's guitar solos searing yet emotional, and once again Schwertmann puts on a vocal clinic, with the leader also dropping in a blazing synth solo. Camel guitarist Andy Latimer contributes a stunning guest solo on the instrumental "Ripples On the Water", and it's great to see he and Ton working together again after their sporadic time with each other in Camel. Some of the other tracks here either have a nice melodic pop sheen or dip into Celtic & folk based styled, featuring pipes, accordion, and other instruments, which gives Seventeen plenty of variety. "Love, Sail Away" in particular is pretty damn majestic, and the glorious "Cracks" has some of Singor's best guitar playing on the album, supported by some symphonic keyboards, Gildenlow's leathery bass grooves and Leijenaar 's acrobatic drum fills. Throw in the hard rocking yet ultra catchy "Feathers and Tar", and you have a highly enjoyable album from this longstanding prog/pop institution.

Time will tell whether this version of Kayak will see any sort of longevity, but it's a strong line-up and equally impressive album that is easy to recommend.

Track Listing
1. Somebody (3:04)
2. La Peregrina (11:42)
3. Falling (3:08)
4. Feathers and Tar (3:14)
5. Walk Through Fire (10:23)
6. Ripples on the Water (3:40)
7. All that I Want (3:47)
8. X Marks the Spot (1:58)
9. God on Our Side (3:30)
10. Love, Sail Away (3:12)
11. Cracks (8:50)
12. To an End (3:32)

Added: January 13th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2533
Language: english

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