With these two re-issues of Kaipa we travel back in time to 1975 and 1976 respectively. A time when Yes released Relayer. Genesis gave us A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering and Camel gave us The Snow Goose. These two albums showcased a young Roine Stolt on guitar and so will be of interest to all Flower Kings and Transatlantic fans.
A lot of the music on these albums has stood the test of time and feels relevant to the progressive rock scene of today. However, there is also some that has not and is quite cringing to listen to. But when Kaipa get it right, they really get it right. One of the highlights is the epic twenty one minute plus Skenet Bedrar, the opening track from the in 1976 released the eponymous album. There are so many influences heard here. I hear Focus, Fruupp, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Yes and a lot of Camel. Nearly all of the vocals are sung in Swedish and so have no meaning to my non Scandinavian ears so it's the music that I have to relate to and with these bands as influences it does the trick nicely. Other tracks have the same influences and Camel references can be heard throughout the two albums. Its only when Kaipa do away with the prog and attempt some pop ballads that things turn horrible. On second listen the skip button was useful in places. Luckily there are not too many of these and the longer songs leave an impression of a band that was trying to compete with the top bands of the day and pushing their own boundaries forward in experimentation with each album. I was buying albums in 1975. Yet I never came across Kaipa. I think if these albums had been sung in English they may have infiltrated the huge progressive rock market that was there at that time. PFM spring to mind who did just that. In their own country Kaipa sold ten thousand copies of each album which is no mean feat but there is music on these albums that would have been enjoyed by many more had they been aware of it.
Kaipa have emerged as a totally different band over the years and have produced some excellent albums. Roine Stolt will be playing these two albums live later this year with two of the original members of the band. Only keyboard player Hans Ludin will be missing. Tomas Eriksson will be on bass and Ingemar Bergman will be on drums as they were in 1975.
This is an interesting remastered reissue that gives an insight into the first steps of a latter day prog stalwart.
***+ for both albums Dave Smith
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