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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Kansas - 1986 Power
Kansas - 1986 Power

ARTIST: Kansas
ALBUM: Power
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Steve Walsh - vocals, keyboards * Steve Morse - guitars * Rich Williams - guitars * Billy Greer - bass * Phil Ehart - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Silhouettes In Disguise * 02 Power * 03 All I Wanted * 04 Secret Service * 05 We're Not Alone Anymore * 06 Musicatto * 07 Taking In The View * 08 Three Pretenders * 09 Tomb 19 * 10 Can't Cry Anymore


Symphonic rockers Kansas suffered at the box-office during the early eighties. A string of releases which saw a change of direction and band personnel, but also the creative juices of the band had all but been consumed. It's not to say that albums such as 'Audio Visions', 'Vinyl Confessions' and 'Drastic Measures' were write-offs, because they weren't, each one of them had great moments. However, as individual bodies of work, they weren't particularly fulfilling either, and as a consequence the band went into hiatus during 1983. Kerry Livgren went on to form his AD band/project while Steve Walsh who had departed the band in 1980 was busy with his new band Streets. By 1985, Walsh had reunited Kansas alongside Rich Williams and Phil Ehart, joining the band were guitar genius Steve Morse (ex Dixie Dregs) and bassist Billy Greer, dragged along by Walsh from Streets. The reformed band signed on with MCA, the result being an impressive comeback album 'Power'. The only uncertainty was the new direction in which the band moved in, sounding even more AOR/commercial than the three aforementioned 80's albums, and even less of the symphonic greatness which bore their hallmark sound all during the seventies. Not that I was complaining, because this new direction was in keeping with the sound of the day.. it was 1986 after all, and I was enjoying it regardless.

The Songs
The band are all aggression and pumping on the excellent hard rocker 'Silhouettes In Disguise', what a way to introduce the new Kansas! Steve Morse is surely Mr Action-Man. The title track 'Power' displays a strutting Survivor 'Eye Of The Tiger' like guitar strut through some gentile verses, before living up to its title on the chorus. The bands first single 'All I Wanted' made it to #10 in the charts. A lovely ballad rich in orchestration with a nice Foreigner like feel circa 'Agent Provocateur'. As per the title 'Secret Service' has a regimented beat to it, the song not one of the better ones here I'm afraid. Picking up the pace is the fun-time rock n roll of 'We're Not Alone Anymore'. The back half of the album keeps the interest levels high which is a good thing. 'Musicatto' is an instrumental which drifts into the acoustic was h of 'Taking In The View'. However, the next two tracks are killers: 'Three Pretenders' has an incredible chorus and some prowling bass lines courtesy of Greer. The tale of Mayan kings and sacred burial chambers is told in 'Tomb 19', the mystical lyrics making way for some beautiful melodic rock. For me, the album highlight. 'Can't Cry Anymore' is the album closer, a dramatic affair that'll have you reaching for the nearest hanky. The song was penned by The Producers pair of Van Temple and Tim Smith, along with Walsh.

In Summary
Many die-hard 70's fans of Kansas turned their nose up at this album. The near pop-metal sound all too much for those missing the violins and eight minute symphonic passages. The addition of Steve Morse to the band was as energetic a move as was Trevor Rabin joining Yes. Morse's influence on 'Power' and the follow-up 'In The Spirit Of Things' should not be under-estimated. A great return, despite the different direction. However, with three classic tracks under the one roof ('Power', 'Three Pretenders' and 'Tomb 19') you can't go wrong.

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#1 | Eric on July 19 2008 04:21:53
Hhmmm.. by this time Kansas had lost me big time and were a club band with arena aspirations of days gone by. 'Power' was a good tune, but I have a boot of 'All I Wanted' (I think this was officially released by King Biscuit...) that sounds way better than the studio version.

Still, kind of much about nothing imo.
#2 | fenton on June 28 2014 11:44:42
No love for 'Secret Service'? That synth parp at the 2.30 mark is the highlight of Kansas' career for me.
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