JXS 7034 Starlight Dancer
Produced by Kayak, Jack Lancaster
Released on 1977
US CHART POSITION #117
Find it at GEMM
JXS 7034 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T his is the second Kayak album I’ve listened to (Phantom being the phirst) and I’m quickly becoming enamored of the band’s brand of progressive pop. Funny to think I let these Kayak albums languish in my collection for a year, afraid that they’d be a disappointment. Instead, Starlight Dancer is a charmer, chocked full of clever arrangements and interesting musical themes. Elements of Genesis, Queen, Alan Parsons Project and Camel appear throughout without being derivative of those bands, and yet the band I think of most often is Renaissance. Both bands fell to the left or right of prog’s front echelon but will be remembered for carrying the standard when the front-rank fellers were fallen (or fiddling around). And both had a facility for incorporating orchestral arrangements into appealing melodies and making use of classical themes without sounding overly pretentious. Surprising since Starlight Dancer would seem a dubious effort on the surface: roughly half the songs are written by the departed Pim Koopman, roughly half are produced by Jack Lancaster and originate from different sessions, and the track selection varies widely between US and European releases which puts the kibosh on any musical concept you might be entertaining in your head. (While I’m complaining, they should have created different album artwork before releasing this as Starlight Dancer, since the cover now has nothing to do with the title.) And yet despite all that, the album succeeds at almost every step: “Ballad For A Lost Friend,” “Love of a Victim,” “Do You Care” and “Irene” for example. Proving that I’m not crazy (or at least deferring judgment for the moment), Starlight Dancer became Kayak’s highest-charting US release at #117. No, I didn’t hit the “1” key twice, this is as far as Kayak went. Blame poor marketing, since the music is as good as anything APP or Supertramp were peddling, two bands likewise handcuffed by identity crises.

JXS 7034 back cover JXS 7034 lyric sleeve
JXS 7034 back cover JXS 7034 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

    US track listing
  1. I WANT YOU TO BE MINE    (Ton Scherpenzeel)    4:46
  2. BALLAD FOR A LOST FRIEND    (Ton Sherpenzeel)    4:14
  3. TURN THE TIDE    (Ton Scherpenzeel)    3:34
  4. NOTHINGNESS    (Ton Scherpenzeel)    3:56
  5. STILL MY HEART CRIES OUT FOR YOU    (Pim Koopman)    4:34
  6. STARLIGHT DANCER    (Ton Scherpenzeel)    5:03
  7. LOVE OF A VICTIM    (Pim Koopman)    2:48
  8. LAND ON THE WATER    (Pim Koopman)    2:28
  9. DO YOU CARE    (Pim Koopman)    2:56
  10. BACK TO THE FRONT    (Ton Scherpenzeel/Johan Slager)    4:32
  11. IRENE    (Ton Scherpenzeel)    4:22

CREDITS

THEO DE JONG -- bass guitar
TON SCHERPENZEEL -- piano, clavinet, organ, string ensemble, mellotron, accordion, synthesizers, double bass, vocals, arrangements
CHARLES LOUIS SCHOUTEN -- drums
JOHAN SLAGER -- electric and acoustic guitars, vocals
MAX WERNER -- vocals, mellotron, percussion
Pim Koopman -- arrangements
Rod Dyer, Inc. -- sleeve design

return to KAYAK discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
NET 1977 Vertigo LP 6360 856  
US 1977 Janus LP/CS JXS 7034 lyric sleeve
CAN 1977 Janus LP 9098-7034  

 

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