Proto-Kaw - The Wait Of Glory

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 235/SPV 48772
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:45:00

The Wait Of Glory is a eclectic mix - moving from hopping jazzy modes to dark and subdued moods. But this shift doesn't really come from song to song, but almost down the middle of the album. These darker textures even have gloomy titles - "Nevermore," "Relics Of The Tempest," "When The Rains Come," "On The Eve Of The Great Decline." The mood lifts with track 5, with "Physic" and falls somewhere in between with track 7, "The Vigil." Each piece, dark, light, brassy and otherwise all feature strong and sharp performances - pointed guitar solos from Kerry Livgren, ballsy, brassy sax and light and lyric flute from John Bolton, thundering and dynamic drums and percussion from Mike Patrum (Livgren and his son also contribute percussion); throbbing, meaty bass from Craig Kew and some hot, boiling keyboards, including Hammond, from Dan Wright.

The album doesn't start with its best foot forward, as I found "Nevermore" too laidback to start off an album - especially considering the thunderous tracks that follow. It's a piece that smolders slowly, calmly ... and has a pacing more suited for a middle or end of an album. This overall laidback feel comes despite a searing intro and the middle section where the band verily percolates - gurgling keyboards (lotsa organ), throbbing bass, snappy drums, surging guitars... still not the tempest that "Relics Of The Tempest" is, but it cooks at something hotter than mere simmer. Sharp, piercing, bluesy guitar takes us out of this middle section, returning again to close out the song.

One of my favorite pieces is the dark, mysterious "Relics Of The Tempest" that follows, and this is the piece I would have started things with. Rather than hit you over the head, it draws you in and once caught up, it just carries you along. "When The Rains Come" begins as a heavy, groovy number. Dark and chugging, it's a bit shy of metal, and features some brassy sax work from John ... things lighten up to become a floaty, fluty, airy, breathy piece with Pink Floyd-ish harmonized vocals.

Another hightlight is "On The Eve Of The Great Decline," a dark epic, much of the musical drive coming from drums, percussion and atmospheric keys. It is composition with a rich mixture of sound and texture. It has moments of spaceyness, as during the chorus, but is otherwise a solid track.

As said above, things shift gears with "Physic," a barnstormin' funky, fusiony, jazzy number with lots of guitars and brass, screaming keys, and 'tude you don't want to mess with. Once it really gets going, it swings and sways. Prog fans will want to take note of a percolating B3 solo from and sax fans, some nice give 'n' take between the band and Bolton ... It's a catchy, upbeat piece. "Melicus Gladiator" is the epic of epics - big and beefy, with bass and sax bringing out all their bravado. It is bluesy, but power blues, everything driven home with direct attack.

Just right of middle (or left, I suppose), is "The Vigil," a dramatic piece that sounds like something Yes might do, a beautifully light and lyrical piece, except that Meredith doesn't sound like Anderson at all-- actually, often he sounds like a very serious Freddy Mercury, and this has a mid-west-rock-version-of-"The Show Must Go On" feel about it. Epic and theatrical, though it's far from being over-the-top.

The album ends with the proggy AOR ballad, "Picture This," drums and percussion (and in that, mainly percussion) out front, in harmony with the bass, the vocals sharing lead duties with a soft, lyrical flute. It bookends nicely with "Nevermore," though oddly, would be a stronger opener if the two were switch, except that Livgren's soloing at the 3-minute mark has that riding off into the sunset feel, which wouldn't work at all to start off an album.

For those who found "Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David, Smith and Jones" a "low-light" on the band's previous outing, Before Became After, will probably take issue with the bouncy and light "Osvaldo's Groceries," which is something else again - quirky... makes me think of such odd rockers as Bubblemath, French TV, Krakatoa... It's mainly an instrumental, though there are some vocalizations strewn throughout. And if it weren't for some sharp guitar solos from Livgren and some tart brass, might be just a tad annoying with those nasally, digital-sounding vocals (they also sound childlike). Don't get me wrong, I like quirky (and I liked "Greenburg..."), it just seems odd from this band... and yet we've been prepared, musically, with the jazzy number that precedes it. There's another track that might be hit or miss with some fans, or hit and miss, depending on which parts you focus on, "Old Number 63." A throbbing bass line opens the jazzy number, which is many ways is a throwback to the 70s. This piece comes alive during the chorus, which has not so much a memorable refrain, but the feel of the chorus is quite classic. It's an otherwise speak-sing slice of modern life - which is what folks will either like or not. You can hear Kansas' roots in this piece (in the music), and also how this is not the same Kansas ... the new, different name aside.

Peel off the first track - maybe - and maybe not listen too closely to a few others, and Proto-Kaw have a pretty darn good follow up to Before Became After. I still haven't yet quite decided whether I like this as much or more than BBA... but it hasn't instantly grabbed in quite the same way. Perhaps only a matter of time. Still, if you liked or loved BBA, you won't go wrong picking this one up as the performances are stellar.

The special edition (IOMSECD 235/SPV 48770) includes a bonus DVD

Nevermore (9:15) / Relics Of The Tempest (5:06) / When The Rains Come (8:54) / On The Eve Of The Great Decline (4:49) / Physic (5:42) / At Mornings Gate (3:08) / Melicus Gladiator (4:50) / The Vigil (7:18) / Old Number 63 (6:50) / Osvaldo's Groceries (3:15) / Picture This (6:30) / Bonus Track: One Fine Day (4:32)

DVD: The Occasion Of Your Honest Dreaming (6:12) / Words Of Honor (4:40) / Skont (8:01)

Lynn Meredith - vocals
John Bolton - saxaphone & flute
Kerry Livgren - guitar, keyboard, piano, percussion, vocals
Dan Wright - organ, keyboards
Jake Livgren - guitar, saxophone, percussion, vocals
Craig Kew - bass, vocals
Mike Patrum - drums

Additional Players:

Daryl Batchelor - trumpet, flugelhorn

Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-1973 (2002)
Before Became After (2004)
The Wait Of Glory (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1403
Language: english


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