This is it, the breakthrough album for Kansas that led them to fame and fortune. How could you not have heard the monster hit that was “Carry On My Wayward Son” opening Leftoverture, with its impeccable harmonies and memorable hard rocking guitar riff? This record is so much more than just that one song however. The band was at a creative peak they would ride through this album and the next, Point of Know Return.
After the bombastic first song, we are treated to the much more symphonic “The Wall.” It is gorgeous and features moving and inspirational lyrics. “What’s On My Mind” is a great hard rock guitar piece, driving the southern rock and roll aspects of the song with several wonderful guitar breaks that keep the prog rock aspects of their sound firmly placed.
Those first three songs feature lead singer and keyboard player Steve Walsh, but of course there is another lead singer of the band. Robbie Steinhardt sings the next song, the keyboard driven “Miracles Out of Nowhere.” Mentioned should be made of what his violin playing brings to the sound of the band as well. “Questions of My Childhood” is a nice upbeat jaunty ride. Some of this, especially the last two songs, “Cheyenne Anthem” and “Magnum Opus” remind me of another of my favorite U.S. prog bands, Ambrosia.
Over the previous three albums they had gradually introduced more and more cues from the British progressive rock scene of the day, reaching a pinnacle with this album. This is a heretofore unheard mixture of Southern Blues and Progressive Rock. If you are looking for the premiere American Progressive Rock band, look no further than this album and the next.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on March 5th, 2011