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Kansas: The Prelude Implicit

Album Notes

The 15th studio long-player from the progressive rock/AOR legends -- and first collection of new material in 16 years -- The Prelude Implicit is the first Kansas album to feature new vocalist and keyboardist Ronnie Platt, who replaced founder Steve Walsh after the former announced his retirement in 2014. The 12-track set also marks the studio debuts of keyboard player David Manion and guitarist Zak Rizvi. That's a lot of new blood, but rest assured, The Prelude Implicit is very Kansas-y. Platt's amenable voice is custom made for melodic rock -- think Tommy Shaw-meets-Paul Rodgers -- and the presence of founding members Phil Ehart (drums) and Rich Williams (guitar), alongside longtime violin/guitar player David Ragsdale and bassist Billy Greer, helps to further ground the proceedings, resulting in something that sounds both familiar and forward thinking. Front-loaded with co-lead singles "With This Heart" and "Visibility Zero," the former a soaring, heartfelt anthem and the latter a muscular classic rock jam that invokes the band's "Carry on My Wayward Son"-era, the technically superb The Prelude Implicit -- literally -- hits all of the right notes, and should please longtime fans, despite the absence of Walsh. From the proggy, nearly nine-minute "Voyage of Eight Eighteen" to the hook-filled, festival-ready nostalgia piece "Summertime," it's clear that Kansas still has gas in the tank, and with some new parts in place, it looks like they've still got some road to cover. ~ James Christopher Monger



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