Foxtrot Records [Release date: 30.09.16]
For all those progressive rock diehards out there who think that there has not been one note of music of any consequence written since the early seventies – prick up your ears, all your birthdays have come at once.
Kaipa started life in 1974 as Ura Kaipa with Ingemar Bergman (no, not that one)(drums), Tomas Eriksson (bass) and a seventeen year old guitar slinger called Roine Stolt.
They dropped the ‘Ura’ from their moniker back in the seventies and plied their trade as one of the most interesting progressive rock bands, not only in their native Sweden but world-wide – mostly without Stolt who went on to mega-success with The Flower Kings, Transatlantic and, more recently, as part of Steve Hackett’s touring band and with Jon Anderson on ‘Invention Of Knowledge’.
The original line-up re-convened in 2014 to play again the exceptional music from their first three albums and to write new material – the results of which are to be found, in all its glory, on ‘Darskapens Monotoni’ under their (I presume) one-off name of Kaipa Da Capo.
As may be deduced from the title, the entire album is sung in Swedish (with no translation in the booklet) – which is a bit of a shame as I’m sure a bunch of studious musicians as talented and experienced as these have got much to say – although it does have the advantage of concentrating the mind of non-Swedish speakers on the music.
And what music.
The band have returned to their early 70’s roots to produce an exceptional album that name-checks everyone from the era without resorting to pastiche – in fact, as the album progresses (!) familiar riffs and refrains appear that you are convinced you know, but which disappear before you’ve nailed just what it is.
Another tip of the hat to days of yore is the fact that the album was recorded with the entire band in the studio at the same time which gives things a wonderful spontaneity and a decidedly ‘organic’ feeling – as the ad for their Swedish furniture store runs…’just as it’s always been’.
This is so refreshing when so much of today’s music is recorded all over the world and spliced together by engineers who have probably never even met the band.
Seven tracks in total which include three ten minute epics and a seventeen minute blowout of biblical proportions.
Each track has its own idiosyncrasies, each its own classic prog band reference point – so the influence of Yes, Caravan, King Crimson, Genesis and Camel can be heard at various points – coming together particularly on the track ‘Det Tysta Guldet’ (‘The Silent Gold‘) which brought to mind ‘Firth Of Fifth’ replete with Hackett’s superb solo and which re-inforced the view that Roine Stolt is one of the finest progressive rock guitarists out there.
For progressive rock fans this is nirvana – complex, interesting and, at times, beautiful music played by musicians at the top of their game who are confident enough to wear their influences on their sleeves, but who use those influences to wrap the listener in a comfort blanket of nostalgia.
Now That’s What I Call Prog… *****
Review by Alan Jones
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