Kaipa - Children Of The Sounds album review

Pagan prog-folkers thank the Wicker Man for the harvest

Cover art for Kaipa - Children Of The Sounds album

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Often described as Swedish cousins of Yes or Genesis, old-school prog veterans Kaipa have enjoyed a prolific second act since re-forming in 2002. Featuring just one survivor from their foundational seventies phase (guitarist Hans Lundin), the current configuration rack up their eighth album together with Children Of The Sounds.

Partly inspired by the wide-open landscapes around the city of Uppsala, these five extended pieces are mostly grand prog-folk pastorals with a smooth jazz-fusion sheen, their nature-worship lyrics woven with filigree threads of bagpipe-style guitar, gleaming synthesiser fanfares and Celtic-meets Nordic fiddle flurries.

Much of this baroque retropagan whimsy inevitably hovers perilously close to Brian Pernlevel parody. The nine-minute grand finale, What’s Behind The Fields, is certainly guilty of proggy bloat and late-period Floydian guitar sprawl.

Otherwise, Lundin and his younger cohorts bounce along with a pleasingly agile and melodic zest – even during the album’s mammoth, 17-minute centrepiece On The Edge Of New Horizons, which shades into Queen and Radiohead territory in places.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.