Kayak - Merlin

Year of Release: 1994
Label: Pseudonym
Catalog Number: CDP-1017-DD
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:00:00

At long last the most coherent and wonderful album by Dutch progsters Kayak has seen the light of day on CD [in 1994]. Digitally transferred from the original mastertapes (or a first rate copy of it anyway, as the actual mastertape is gathering dust somewhere) this disc sounds as if it was recorded yesterday.

As is obvious from its title, the album is, of course, another concept album built around the legends of Merlin the magician. However, compared to many other theme albums of the same name, this one stands out as one of the milestones in the history of Dutch symphonic rock. All of the compositions were written by keyboard player Ton Scherpenzeel and offer his distinctive ear for finesse and beauty. Add to this the typical guitar sound of Johan Slager, you'll find that the first notes of Merlin automatically give you the vintage sounds of Kayak! ?Tintagel? has a subtle medieval approach based on grand piano and some superb singing by Edward Reekers, who is sometimes reminiscent of Jon Anderson. A similar mood, but this time more uptempo, can be found in ?The King's Enchanter? with some very nice synth parts thrown in. ?Niniane (Lady Of The Lake)? is pure genius, a classic like no classic has been made before! The piano blends magically with the outstanding voice of Reekers. An accordion plays softly, way in the back of the recording, only to introduce the majestic guitar of Slager. This originally concluded the concept side of the album. The rest of the album, unfortunately, doesn't deliver the same quality. ?Seagull? and ?Boogie Heart? are less impressive, the first being a Phil Spector clone; the second, a pure boogie-woogie track with swirling organ solo. Nice and commercially accessible is ?Can't Afford To Lose,? which includes some nice extra brass by Ekseption-man Rein Van De Broek. The closing chapter, ?Love's Aglow," is reserved for Ton Scherpenzeel himself, who this time also takes over the lead vocals that blend nicely with the backing vocals of his then "wife to be," Irène Linders.

Merlin is one of those albums that grows on you after each listening. It is typical Kayak all over and will remain the band's highlight for a long time to come!

Merlin (7:23) / Tintagel (2:41) / The Sword In The Stone (3:31) / The King's Enchanter (2:42) / Niniane (Lady Of The Lake) (7:22) / Seagull (4:10) / Boogie Heart (4:11) / Now That We've Come This Far (4:29) / Can't Afford To Lose (3:19) / Love's Aglow (6:03)

Ton Scherpenzeel ? keyboards; lead vocals (10)
Johan Slager - guitars, banjo, flute
Max Werner - drums
Peter Scherpenzeel - bass
Edward Reekers - vocals
Katherine Lapthorn - backing vocals
Irène Linders - backing vocals

See See The Sun (1973)
Kayak II (1974)
Royal Bed Bouncer (1975)
The Last Encore (1976)
Starlight Dancer (1977, US version)
Phantom Of The Night (1978)
Periscope Life (1980)
Merlin (1981)
Eyewitness (1982/1994)
Close To The Fire (2000)
Chance For A Livetime (2001)
Merlin - The Bard Of The Unseen (2003)
Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man (2CD) (2005)
Excerpts From Nostradamus - The Fate Of Man (1CD) (2005)
KAYAKoustic Live (2007)
Coming Up For Air (2008)
The Anniversary Concert (CD/DVD) (2008)
The Anniversary Box (CD/DVD) (2008)
Letters From Utopia (2009)
Anywhere But Here (2011)
Cleopatra - The Crown Of Isis (2014)
Journey Through Time (2017)
Seventeen (2018)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: September 1st 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.kayakonline.info
Hits: 640
Language: english


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