Kaprekar's Constant - ...Meanwhile

Kev Rowland

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the most interesting progressive rock bands to come out the UK in recent years are Kaprekar’s Constant. Here we have their latest EP, which contains four new songs and a total running length of just 17 minutes, which is quite something for a band who are more than happy to have individual numbers lasting far longer than that. Their music makes one think of times gone past, as they mix symphonic progressive rock with Canterbury, pastoral elements with folk, wrapping it all up in a tidy bow of harmonies and wonderful musicianship and hooks to make music which transports the listener to a different time and place. The use of two very different and powerful lead singers in Bill Jefferson and Dorie Jackson allows them to change emphasis as having both male and female vocalists is unusual, and then there are the three multi-instrumentalists Al Nicholson, Mike Westergaard and Nick Jefferson who keep changing the sound, as well as having two stalwarts of the scene in Van der Graaf Generator sax player David Jackson and Caravan drummer Mark Walker.

It is hard to pick a favourite of the four, but “Kissing Frogs” is simply stunning. It is incredibly simple, with most of the band not involved at all, but Dorie’s clear vocals against the piano creates something very special indeed and is something I have found myself playing repeatedly. It is an incredibly easy EP to listen to, yet the arrangements are highly complex and structured, without ever coming across as strained. Given this was recorded during lockdown is quite something, and one can only hope that when things settle down somewhat in the UK they can get back into the studio and record album #3. Kaprekar’s Constant continue to defy current norms and take us back in time when there were no subgenres, and this would have been simply described as progressive rock. All their material is of an exceptionally high standard, and yet again they have released something which is very special indeed.

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