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

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Larry Coryell / Badi Assad / John Abercrombie - Three Guitars – Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie have long been at the forefront of international jazz guitar, utilizing both acoustic and electric formats. Badi Assad is a Brazilian ace performer who had not...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues