Works In Progress

Kansas

I still turn up the radio every time “Carry On Wayward Son” comes on; and with Israel and Lebanon at each other’s throats, the nuclear power ballad “Dust in The Wind” may soon become uncomfortably relevant. However, Kansas’ sixth compilation Works In Progress neglects the songs that typical radio listeners are familiar with, instead focusing on the band’s releases from 1992 to 2002. With that in mind, it should go without saying that this collection is for diehard fans only.

Although, it’s doubtful even the most intransigent fan would want to listen to the incredibly melodramatic “The Wall” or the abysmal “Cheyenne Anthem” — both rendered rather cheesy with the addition of an orchestra — the CD does contain a few surprises. Unlike most 70s bands that made that long, foul journey into the 90s, Kansas maintained the ability to write captivating new material. Hands down, the strongest points on Works In Progress are the selections from 1995’s Freaks Of Nature. “Black Fathom 4” utilizes the best that Kansas has to offer in a roaring ball of sound that puts much of their earlier catalog to shame. The title track from Freaks Of Nature is another obscure gem that shines through on this collection.

The included DVD features an unimpressive set of songs from an early 90s concert that took place at the legendary Whisky in Hollywood, as well as “Icarus” and “Belexes” from the previously released DVD/ double CD Device Voice Drum. While this collection serves as a decent introduction to Kansas’ modern works, I would still recommend Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004 over Works In Progress. Not only does it have their recent works alongside their older hits, but the DVD side boasts a more solid selection of songs.

~ Justin Jeffrey Duckham

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