Kayak - Out Of This World,
It is strange to think that soon we will be coming to Kayak’s 50th anniversary, an achievement for any band. Of course, there have been multiple line-up changes over the years, plus the band has had breaks, but the current five-man line-up stands proudly when looking back over their achievements. Of course, at the heart of it is all is Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards, lead & backing vocals), the founder who has kept it going all these years. Drummer Hans Eijkenaar joined in 2010 before leaving and then rejoining recently, while the others all joined when Ton reset the band after 2014’s ‘Cleopatra – The Crown of Isis’. They are of course Bart Schwertmann (lead & backing vocals), Marcel Singor (guitar, lead & backing vocals) and Kristoffer Gildenlöw (bass, lead & backing vocals). Yes, there are a lot of singers on here, and while Schwertmann can be heard on most of the tracks, Marcel Singor takes lead on three, while Kristoffer Gildenlöw and Ton Scherpenzeel have one each. On top of that, drummer Hans Eijkenaar debuts as composer, working with Ton to write the music of “Traitor’s Gate” while the rest of the album was written by the band leader alone.
This is not a band using a name to get some publicity, but instead are showing they are standing on the shoulders of giants as they continue to thrive and deliver an album which is a delight from beginning to end. This is not some geriatric outfit with nothing to offer who are still surviving on loyalties built from music in the past, but have produced an album which is exciting, inventive, immediate and an awful lot of fun. There is a mix between different styles, some more commercial than others, and the result is something which any proghead will enjoy the very first time they play it and will continue to gain more as they repeat. There is some tasteful guitar here and there, while Ton is of course a wonderful in-demand keyboard player, here providing both swathes as backdrops or taking leads, while the drums set the foundation and of course multi-instrumentalist Gildenlöw is always there to add to some finesse.
It is a highly polished release, full of crossover elements which sees it bring in some pop as well as some symphonic, and it is nice to listen to an album which is just so easy to enjoy and not have to work at. Let’s hope they have more in them yet as this is not the sound of a band ready to retire.