Always Never The Same
River North Music, 1998
REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/22/2008
Always Never The Same finds the original Kansas lineup almost intact. With Robby Stienhardt back in the fold, Kansas made its way to Abbey Road studios and brought along The London Symphony orchestra. They chose a studio setting for this recording, as opposed to a live venue as a lot of the band + symphony projects have done. They would tour extensively with a symphony in support of this album, but I like the clean production of the studio recordings.
Fitting for these historical surroundings, the disc opens with a strong cover of The Beatles' “Eleanor Rigby.” They make a nice job of it, adding some power to the song with the orchestra behind them. The excellent vocal harmonies add a nice Beatlesque touch.
Steve Walsh pens three news songs for the disc. “In Your Eyes” and “Need To Know” are fine songs, but the poppier “The Sky Is Falling” seems out of place. The orchestra is conducted by Larry Baird, and he co-arranged most of the tracks. His symphonic flourishes fit in perfectly with Kerry Livgren's compositions. Baird also arranged two instrumental tracks with the full orchestra that encompass snippets of many
This album would open a new phase in the band’s life that would get them back on the road with newfound purpose, and eventually back into the studio a few years later. I really enjoyed revisiting these songs in a new form, and the album is a nice announcement of the band’s return to a productive and vital stage of their long career.