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Articles Home » 2000 Articles » Kayak - 2000 Close To The Fire
Kayak - 2000 Close To The Fire

ALBUM: Close To The Fire
LABEL: Pro Acts
YEAR: 2000


LINEUP: Ton Scherpenzeel - keyboards * Pim Koopman - drums * Max Werner - vocals * Rob Winter - guitars* Bert Veldkamp - bass * Andy Latimer - guitars on 12

TRACK LISTING: 01 Close To The Fire * 02 When Hearts Grow Cold * 03 Dream Child * 04 Frozen Flame * 05 Forever * 06 Worlds Apart * 07 Crusader * 08 Two Wrongs (Don't Make A Right) * 09 Anybody's Child * 10 Here Today * 11 Just A Matter Of Time * 12 Full Circle * 13 Ruthless Queen (Bonus)



Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman and Max Werner founded Kayak in Hilversum, Holland. Between 1972 and 1976 they released 4 symphonic rock albums. From 1977 to 1981 the band moved into crossover adding more pop elements to their music until they split up. The ballad 'Ruthless Queen', from 1978's 'Phantom Of The Night' featured new singer Edward Reekers, and was a #4 hit in the Dutch charts and reached the Billboard top 200. In 2000, Kayak returns with Scherpenzeel, Koopman and Werner to record 'Close To The Fire'. Irene Linders, Scherpenzeel's longtime wife, provides most of the lyrics as usual.

The Songs
The title track 'Close To The Fire' is a winner. A subtle start with keyboard layers turns into a prog-pomp-celtic-folk rocker powered by drums and electric guitars. Werner's nasal vocals are more than welcome back! 'When Hearts Grow Cold' is a very soft, acoustic piano driven ballad featuring emotional vocals. Beautiful. 'Dream Child' is a mid tempo with Spanish/Arabic influences. 'Frozen Flame' is built on heavenly keyboards and clear guitar fills. Vocals are kinda whispered and guitars get prominence ending in a deep solo. 'Forever' is one of my favourites. A melancholic acoustic start turns into a great uptempo pop tune with groovy electric guitars. 'Worlds Apart' is sort of an AOR/Westcoast ballad. Deep lyrics on lost passion. 'Crusader' another favourite, is pop rock in essence, a soft electric guitar interlude, flutes, and the last chorus leads to a slow guitar ending. 'Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right'. Clever title, almost a hard rocker with distorted guitars and brasses. A killer, made to be played live. 'Anybody's Child' is another piano ballad, guitars joining about halfway through the song. 'Here Today' is another ballad, I don't like it that much. 'Just A Matter Of Time' is a slow pop song. Sounds out of place to these ears. 'Full Circle' features classic overtones and violins. Sounds like a Celtic war hymn, slightly reminds me of Thin Lizzy's 'Black Rose'. Percussion added near the end gives it a nice effect. The last song is a remake of the classic 'Ruthless Queen', sung by then young Dutch singer Sieb van de Ploeg. I won't compare this version to Reekers' original. This is a souvenir and I like it very much for what it is.

In Summary
A strong comeback. Mixing the best of their prog and pop roots, Kayak recorded a very enjoyable album for the pleasure of old and new followers. I consider 'Close To The Fire' among their strongest achievements to date and is a frequent listening for me. The live album 'Chance For A Live Time' followed in 2001 with Bert Heerink, of Vandenberg fame, on vocals. Another strong and pleasant album, actually Kayak's first and only full live album, is highly recommended as well. Sadly, the multi-talented Koopman, producer of Robby Valentine and Valensia among other acts, died in 2009. Kayak is still recording and playing to date, led by Sherpenzeel and with the powerful and sensual Cindy Oudshoorn and Reekers sharing vocals.

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#1 | Eric on March 06 2016 14:12:45
This album almost made its way to a US release. I was in talks with Ton Scherpenzeel in 98-99 to release this album on Song Haus and I still have the demos for the title track. Problem was while he wanted a significant amount of money, he did not believe Kayak could sell any albums in America, plus to meet with us and possibly tour to support the record, he would have to get on a plane and he had, at that time a fear of flying. Despite numerous attempts, the deal fell through. The one that got away....
#2 | dtabachn on March 06 2016 16:43:10
Very interesting, Eric. I read somewhere else about Ton' s fear of flying and this confirms it. I really like the title track's e-studio version as well as the 'Greatest Hits' dvd live version. How do the demos sound?
#3 | Eric on March 06 2016 22:32:38
I have it packed away and haven't played it since the late 90's, but I do remember the demo version was a bit longer.
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