After coming out from a fallow period, the past few years has seen some frenetic activity in Kayak-world. In 2018 they released one of their best albums in several years, the critically acclaimed Seventeen and, earlier in 2021, their 1979 album, Phantom of the Night, was reissued on ‘pristine, heavyweight vinyl,’ and now they’re releasing Out Of This World, an album containing fifteen new tracks of energetically diverse material, while still being recognisable as Kayak. With the new album containing ballads, adventurous epics, sophisticated melodies and some solid rock, Kayak demonstrate their musical horizons are not constrained by boundaries, and the album is rich with very melodic and sophisticated songs. “The new album shows just what kind of band we are”, says Ton Scherpenzeel, now the only original member left in the band.
On this new album, Kayak have pretty much continued where they left off with Seventeen. After all this time, Prog is now part of Ton’s muscle memory, and the album begins with title track ‘Out of this World,’ a very strong opener showing the bands heart is still in symphonic prog rock. The instrumental ‘Kaja’ suggests echoes of 1970’s Kansas, but they can also write and perform diverse, more commercial sounding tracks, such as ‘As The Crow Flies,’ which sounds ideal for Radio 2 – also ‘Waiting,’ with its nod towards “message in a Bottle,” and ‘Cary’ a poignant song about heartbreak. Similarly, ‘The Way she said Goodbye’ is a bittersweet tune about having to leave someone behind.
But, being Kayak, there’s always at least one epic on every album, and here we get two of them. The seven-minute ‘Critical Mass’ is a full-on prog workout, with some superlative playing – as is ‘A Writer’s Tale,’ which is almost three songs in one with vocals sounding like Bruce Dickinson.
The music on this album shows Kayak, despite their longevity, are not simply prepared just to coast along as a heritage act. Alongside other 70’s bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Kansas, both of whom, in the past year, have released albums of new music, Kayak has demonstrated, despite their longevity, their ongoing desire to want to be considered both relevant and contemporary, and while this album probably won’t push them any further along, it shows, as footballers say, form may be temporary but class is permanent.