Swedish progressive rock band Kaipa return with their thirteenth album, Children of the Sounds. Formed in 1973 and now led by original member Hans Lundin, they released their debut album in 1975. This is their eighth album since the band was reborn in 2002 with the release of Notes From The Past, original guitarist Roine Stolt leaving again after the release of the third reformation album Mindrevolutions in 2005. Then with the inclusion of Per Nilsson on guitar for 2007’s Angling Feelings they have continued with a stable line-up since.
As Hans comments, “in November 2014 when I was still filled with all the energy I had captured during the summer I started to write the new songs”. He felt that his inspiration came from “the long bicycle rides that I made during the summer in the open landscape around Uppsala… All the beauty and the wondrous inspiration from nature in combination with this ‘enormous groove’ made me create five long songs during the next months”. These words from Hans are interesting because for me Kaipa’s music has always felt like a musical stroll through Swedish forests and countryside, often full of light, bright and positive feelings, invoking images of their homeland.
Kaipa’s music is firmly rooted and influenced by the Seventies prog rock from which it began with touches of Scandinavian folk, all now presented with modern production values. It is difficult to not be draw into their music, with its combination of atmospheric sounds and beautiful melodies. Quality bass and drums (as you would expect from Jonas Reingold and Morgan Ågren) confidently support Hans’ excellent keyboards and lovely guitar runs from Nilsson. The use of both female and male vocalists adds an extra dimension to the songs; Aleena Gibson’s vocals are different but beguiling in equal measure, which certainly works within and for the music. Indeed both she and Patrik Lundström give excellent performances.
The opener and title track is an epic eleven minute feast for the ears containing all of what we have come to expect from Kaipa; beautiful melodies, carefully crafted to ensure that the music flows well. Jonas’ bass work is nothing short of marvellous, ably supported by Morgan’s drums which gives focus and drive to the song. Patrik and Aleena’s vocals work so well together when sung in harmony, alongside Per’s flowing and precise guitar throughout. Not resting on their laurels, they follow up with the seventeen minute On The Edge of New Horizons, another well constructed song, well paced with some inspiration taken from Yes. Jonas’ bass is to the fore in the early part of the song, supported by Morgan’s jazzy touches.
Like a Serpentine tells the story of Lundin’s bicycle rides around his hometown and neighbouring countryside and how they inspired him to write this collection of songs. An almost pastoral start gives way to Per’s bright and positive guitar, giving the feel of the wonderful scenery being revealed and the beauty to be found. The addition of guest violinist Elin Rubinsztein gives another dimension to the sound, the keyboards providing some lovely atmospherics. This is followed by the shortest track, although it is still nearly seven minutes in length, The Shadowy Sunlight having a happy, bouncy feel and a good edge.
The album closer What’s Behind The Fields features Patrik’s vocals at the start accompanied by atmospheric keys and jaunty acoustic guitar before at around four minutes it switches to electric guitar with some lovely organ. The song continues to unfold and evolve while telling its story throughout the nine minute running time, and there you have it, fifty seven minutes passed in what seems like half that time.
All the songs were written, produced and mixed by Hans Lundin between 2015 and 2017, with final mixing and mastering by Martin Igelstrom. Children of the Sounds is a well-crafted and creative album which is essentially melodic prog, it never really kicks off, so to speak, but I don’t think fans of Kaipa would expect that; it’s full of long instrumental sections, superbly played by all involved. A bright album full of positive energy that creates a feel good factor, and don’t we all need some of that these days. This is an album that I have enjoyed, though I must confess that I do have a fondness for the music that Kaipa create, and this is a very good addition to their body of work which grows on you with repeated plays.
01. Children of the Sounds (11:31)
02. On The Edge of New Horizons (17:10)
03. Like A Serpentine (12:52)
04. The Shadowy Sunlight (6:57)
05. What’s Behind The Fields (9:31)
Total Time – 57:01
Hans Lundin – Keyboards, Vocals
Per Nilsson – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Morgan Ågren – Drums
Jonas Reingold – Electric Basses
Patrik Lundström – Vocals
Aleena Gibson – Vocals
~ With GuestL
Elin Rubinsztein – Violin
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: Sweden
Formats: Special Edition CD Digipak, Gatefold 2xLP + CD, Digital Download
Date of Release: 22nd September 2017