FZ 36588 Audio-Visions
Produced by Kansas
Co-produced by Brad Aaaron and Davey Moire
Released on September 1980
US CHART POSITION #26 . . . GOLD RECORD (12/12/80)
Find it at GEMM
FZ 36588 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I n looking for The Crone’s Finger, which beckons the players from the stage when their part is played, I’ve caught a glimpse of it in the opening moments of Audio-Visions. “Relentless” and “Anything For You” expose the worst sides of Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh as songwriters: Livgren’s religious zeal is too stiff for prog (joyously I was waiting for that song to end) and Walsh simply doesn’t aspire to it. But hold on, Kansas isn’t ready to leave the main stage just yet. “Hold On” is terrific, working on both levels as a love song and a religious statement, “Curtain of Iron” is classic prog, and both “Loner” and “Got To Rock On” are good middle-tier rockers from Walsh. However, “Got To Rock On” does address a weariness in Walsh; he left the band after this album, effectively closing the classic chapter of Kansas. You could argue that when Kansas streamlined their sound (as they did here) and stopped playing prog for prog’s sake, the book was over. But Monolith’s progressive ambitions were a false conceit, while the handful of progressive passages on Audio-Visions (“Curtain of Iron,” “No One Together”) feel natural and inspired. And half a good progressive album (which this is) keeps The Crone’s Finger at her side (as evidenced by the strong charting of their next album). It took some time for me to soften on Audio-Visions, of course. I’ve never been entirely comfortable with Kansas as a prog-rock band, and Audio-Visions is initially unappetizing: the album artwork is tasteless, the first two songs pretty much stink and the stereo mix isn’t even headphone-friendly. From that point on, however, it’s a pretty good ride. I realize I had earlier tagged this album as “past the point of no return as it pertained to prog,” but I’ve been revisiting Kansas lately and softening on them. I might even find a third Green among them (maybe The Best of Kansas).

FZ 36855 back cover FZ 36855 lyric sleeve
FZ 36855 back cover FZ 36855 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. RELENTLESS    (Kerry Livgren)    4:55
  2. ANYTHING FOR YOU    (Steve Walsh)    3:56
  3. HOLD ON    (Kerry Livgren)    3:45
  4. LONER    (Steve Walsh)    2:26
  5. CURTAIN OF IRON    (Kerry Livgren)    6:08
  6. GOT TO ROCK ON    (Steve Walsh)    3:19
  7. DON'T OPEN YOUR EYES    (Steve Walsh/Rich Williams/Kerry Livgren/Phil Ehart/Dave Hope)    4:03
  8. NO ONE TOGETHER    (Kerry Livgren)    6:54
  9. NO ROOM FOR A STRANGER    (Rich Williams/Steve Walsh)    2:55
  10. BACK DOOR    (Steve Walsh)    4:20

CREDITS

PHIL EHART -- drums, percussion, vocals
DAVE HOPE -- bass, vocals
KERRY LIVGREN -- guitars, keyboards, percussion, vocals
ROBBY STEINHARDT -- violins, violas, lead vocals
STEVE WALSH -- keyboards, vibes, percussion, lead vocals
RICH WILLIAMS -- guitars, percussion, vocals
Terry Ehart -- additional vocals & sounds
The Four Bassmen -- additional vocals & sounds
Joey Jelf -- additional vocals & sounds
Vicci Livgren -- additional vocals & sounds
Lisa White -- additional vocals & sounds
Donna Williams -- additional voices & sounds
Brad Aaron -- engineer
Davey Moire -- engineer
Tom Drennon -- album design & art direction, additional illustration
Peter Lloyd -- illustration
Exley -- inner sleeve photography
Wild Studios -- additional illustration

return to KANSAS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US September 1980 Kirshner LP/CS/8T FZ 36588 lyric sleeve
UK/NET September 1980 Kirshner LP/CS SKIR 84500 lyric sleeve
CAN 1980 Kirshner LP XFZ 36588 lyric sleeve
US February 27, 1996 Columbia Legacy CD ZK 66417 digital remaster
EUR 1996 Sony CD 481161  

 

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