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Kansas - 'Drastic Measures' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d7/0a/cc/1513_kansasdrasticmeasures_1314552256.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 28, 2011    
 
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Seen as a patchy album by fans but is fairly well regarded in AOR circles.

If 'Vinyl Confessions' was the album that alienated a lot of the prog rock fans who'd sent 'Leftoverture' and 'Point Of Know Return' to quadruple platinum status, then 1983's 'Drastic Measures' was probably the one that convinced even the band themselves that things weren't working out. First of all, there was no sign of vocalist/violinist Robbie Steinhardt, whose role on the previous album had been much diluted. Secondly, Livgren himself didn't seem fully focussed on Kansas, contributing just three songs to the album, compared to six by John and Dino Elefante. On the plus side the band had drafted in producer Neil Kernon on the back of his success with several Hall & Oates albums, snagging him just before he would become synonymous with hard rock bands like Dokken, Queensryche and Autograph. Kernon actually did a great job with the material on 'Drastic Measures', giving Kansas a punchy AOR sound they'd never had before, even if the material was patchy at best.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There are still some gems here, for instance the powerful opener 'Fight Fire With Fire' is a classic slice of inventive AOR that the band still play occasionally today, and 'Don't Take Your Love Away' has the kind of light and shade that they're known for. Other Elefante compositions included the memorable ballad 'Andi' and the Beatles-esque 'Going Through The Motions', whilst the hi-tech pop of 'Get Rich' doesn't really suit the band at all and 'Everybody's My Friend' is a little too twee for its own good. The three Livgren songs tell a tale of their own, with the two most prog-friendly songs, 'End Of The Age' and 'Incident On A Bridge', stuck away at the end of side two, while 'Mainstream' seems to be his plea to record companies not to interfere in his music ("just keep it simple boy, you're going to be alright, as long as you're inside of the mainstream"). Ultimately the album didn't have a big single and failed to sell, Livgren and bassist Dave Hope left to form the Christian band AD, Elefante would go on to have a solo career as well as the band Mastedon and form his own Christian label, Pakaderm, and drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams would welcome back Steve Walsh, his bassist Billy Greer, and guitar virtuoso Steve Morse for the even more AOR-tastic 'Power' album.

Again 'Drastic Measures' is seen as a patchy album by fans but is fairly well regarded in AOR circles, and here it sounds great with a huge sound and extra clarity from Jon Astley's remaster. Howard Johnson's sleeve notes continue the story of the era, and with this one also being quite hard to get and fetching big money on eBay, it's a timely release that joins the dots between the different musical styles and personnel of this great band.

Phil Ashcroft

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