Kansas: The Absence of Presence - both pomp and rock in full effect

Latter-day Kansas are still able to surprise on 16th album The Absence of Presence

Kansas: The Absence of Presence
(Image: © Insideoutmusic)

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Like the poor, Kansas have, in some way, always been around. Here’s a band with a line-up more fluid than Yes when they were manoeuvring players in and out with all the grace of a lower-league football manager trying to keep his job. 

Like Yes, though, Kansas have a handful of classic albums in their pocket and a few singles that will never leave some corners of American radio. They’re also a band who are making surprisingly good on the second act of their career.

In 2016 the scope and complexity of their ambition was made good in the sparkling The Prelude Implicit (even if the title made you scratch your head in consternation). Four years later they’ve done similarly good work in the expansive prog romp of The Absence Of Presence

Admittedly it could have used some of the band’s 70s AOR smarts and something that sounded more like a single, but the pomp and prog is here to full effect, meandering and then charged in songs like the excellent Throwing Mountains and the erratic Animals On The Roof.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.