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

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Paolo Angeli - Plays Frith & Björk - Tessuti – To paraphrase Shakespeare, there are more musics in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your CD collection. Unless you have one of his previous releases, Paolo Angeli is probably an example of...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues