Although there’s much to commend Kaipa from a musical standpoint, what will be of real interest here is that these three albums feature the teenage Roine Stolt. And you can hear the seeds of what he’d later do with both Flower Kings and Transatlantic.
These limited editions are available on 180g vinyl – blue for Kaipa, orange for Inget Nytt Under Solen, green for Solo – and have been remastered, as you might expect. The self-titled debut originally came out in 1975. It has a symphonic tread, but the production from the band themselves is a little halting. Probably the best song here is Skogspromenad, which is also the simplest. Incidentally, Stolt was responsible for the cover painting.
Inget Nytt Under Solen, from 1976, is a considerable improvement. The centrepiece is Skenet Bedrar. Nearly 22 minutes long, this is divided into five sections, and is a magnificent amalgam of emotion and virtuosity. Kaipa also introduced the Mellotron to their armoury; you can hear this to particular effect on the soaring Korgståg, where it’s wielded impressively by keyboard player Hans Lundin.
Incidentally, there’s an irony in the title, which translates as ‘nothing new under the sun’. The band were actually determined to prove this maxim was wrong in their case.
Third album Solo, the last with Stolt, came out in 1978. This is clearly the best of the three, because Kaipa were adroitly moving away from the Yes/BJH confines of the previous releases, giving Stolt more rein to expand his range. And Lundin’s keyboards show a deft sleight of hand.
Tracks like Sen Repris show a definite Queen influence, while Frog Funk nods towards Mike Oldfield as Tajgan moves into space rock realms. Such a pity this line-up fell apart in 1979; Solo suggests what might have been.
CDs are included with each album, with bonus tracks. But the richness comes through on the vinyl.