I do admit to having owned this Kansas album for years, and it astonishes me even more listening to it in a hi-fidelity environment, where I feel it comes into its own.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Point Of Know Return
SERIAL: JZ 34929
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Steve Walsh – vocals, keyboards * Kerry Livgren – guitars, keyboards * Robby Steinhardt – violins, vocals * Rich Williams – guitars * Dave Hope – bass * Phil Ehart – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Point Of Know Return * 02 Paradox * 03 The Spider * 04 Portrait (He Knew) * 05 Closet Chronicles * 06 Lightning’s Hand * 07 Dust In The Wind * 08 Sparks Of The Tempest * 09 Nobody’s Home * 10 Hopelessly Human
WEBLINKS: Site Link
I’ve had this album in my collection since as far back as I can remember. It must’ve been the cover art of the boat falling off the end of the world that caught my eye. Apart from only hearing ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ on the radio (from 1976’s ‘Leftoverture’ opus), and their (at the time) new ballad ‘Dust In The Wind’, I thought it was about time to invest in my first Kansas record, and this was it. I was all of 14 at the time!
Certainly the violin induced symphonic rock was a far cry from what I was used to at the time, but perseverance paid off and my love affair with this band continues to this day. The early albums by this band were very progressive affairs, and it wasn’t until the aforementioned ‘Leftoverture’ album that Kansas found themselves on the radio, whether by chance or by design. ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ did wonders for their profile, the album from whence it came went double platinum.
‘Point Of Know Return’ would become a critical album for them. The symphonic connection was still there, but the Epic/Kirshner label now wondered whether the band could turn up the heat a second time. They needn’t have worried because for many (myself included), this album is perhaps their signature symphonic piece of work.
‘Point Of Know Return’ leads off, the pleasant if unspectacular entry an entree for what is to come. Of more interest is the dramatic instrumentation of ‘Paradox’. Some unusual and complex arrangements happening here, but nothing these boys can’t handle. ‘The Spider’ is a well-named track, an instrumental which crawls its way along the symphonic tendrils left in its wake.
It segues into one of the highlights on the album, the magnificent ‘Portrait (He Knew)’, the tale of an incredibly gifted man living in the wrong era. Perhaps part Nostradamus or Leonardo Da Vinci, they too will be impressed by the symphonic tribute. ‘Closet Chronicles’ is the epic track onboard. A slow intro, the band gradually work into it, the bass lines of Dave Hope stand out here, as he holds the song together brilliantly. Kansas literally gallop across the soundscape with ‘Lightnings Hand’, which is less interesting for me than the other tracks here.
The best known track without doubt is the hit ‘Dust In The Wind’, the gentle acoustic/violin ballad a band staple for years to come. Notwithstanding, the other highlight for me is the cosmic tale of ‘Nobodys Home’, a galactic visitor returning to find they have all but disappeared (sound familiar?). ‘Hopelessly Human’ weaves many undulating threads throughout its course, some thoroughly absorbing passages and guitar/keyboard interplay. The song ends in a flurry of bells not unlike the ending of a Rush album!
Admittedly you’ll have to have an ear for this type of prog/symphonic rock. Not everyone ‘gets it’. The album has been re-released several times throughout its history, the latest version has been given the remastering treatment too.
I do admit to having owned this album for near on forty years, and it astonishes me even more listening to it in a hi-fidelity environment, where I feel it comes into its own. As a consequence, ‘Point Of Know Return’ is an album which has become a very good friend ofa mine over the years.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)