Exposé Online banner

Kansas — Freaks of Nature
(eOne CPD-CD-9148, 1995/2012, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 1995-11-01

Freaks of Nature Cover art

Their first studio album in seven years, Freaks of Nature marks the return of Kansas. Well, actually they haven't been gone. Even though this marks the first studio release for the current lineup, the same unit has been playing together since 1990! Following the release of their last studio effort in 1988, In the Spirit of Things, Kansas has been touring almost constantly, playing hundreds of live shows over the past seven years. While Freaks of Nature marks a new chapter in the Kansas story, there are still a lot of ties to the past. Kansas has a violinist again for the first time since 1982. Longtime associate Jeff Glixman returns to the producer's chair. Founding member Kerry Livgren, though not a member of the current group, pens one of the tracks on the new album. The sound of the album recalls moments of the Kansas of yesterday, yet for the most part is quite different. There are no 10-minute epics or long instrumental sections. Most of the songs are about five minutes in length and generally sound heavier than the earlier material did. Guitar and violin are the dominant instruments on the album, while the keyboards are conspicuously secondary, especially considering their prominence on the band's previous recordings. These differences shouldn't be all that surprising, considering this is a very different band than the 70s band which featured two guitarists and two keyboardists. Lead vocalist Steve Walsh sounds much better on this album than he has in the last 10 years – certainly worlds better than he did on the 1992 Live at the Whisky album. While the sound quality of this album is excellent, the production is minimal, giving the recording a live feel – very much like their concerts.

Frontman Walsh has always been a rocker at heart, and as the primary songwriter on this collection, it shows. The opener, "I Can Fly," and the title track are fast driving tunes with some nice rhythms and riffs. Even the slower paced numbers have a powerful edge to them. While clearly not as "progressive" as their heyday albums, "Freaks Of Nature" contains solid material that should appeal to fans of their previous work as well as those who like violin and guitar led melodic rock.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 8, 2012 releases, 1995 recordings

Related artist(s): Steve Walsh, Kansas

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rick Wakeman - Past, Present and Future – At the outset, it would appear that reviewing three CDs of solo piano music from keyboardist Rick Wakeman would be a daunting task. While wrestling with the perception that the pianist can easily sit...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues