Personnel: Max Werner (vocals, keyboards, drums); Irene Linders, Edward Reekers (vocals); Johan Slager (guitar); Ton Scherpenzeel (keyboards); Charles Schouten (drums).
Dutch prog band Kayak, with keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel who later went on to play in Camel, played a blend of melody-rich sugary pop that soon morphed into a larger, much more intricate sound. Kayak's early music used synthesizer and high vocal pitches, and while it really wasn't pop, it was much too bouncy to be considered progressive, represented here by "Keep the Change" and "Ruthless Queen." In their later albums, like Starlight Dancer and Merlin, Kayak's music began to involve meaner keyboards and a longer passages, with more drum use and back and forth instrumental transition. Classics exhibits a fair sampling of this bands music, with the songs gaining in complexity and sophistication as they move along. Their music is uplifting and upbeat, as opposed to other progressive bands that emanate darker sounds with their instruments. Vocals contribute greatly to their music, and with Irene Linders and Katherine Lapthorn adding to the crystallized synth, the overall brilliance comes across as crisp and high. The keyboards are put to good use on "Merlin" and "Eyewitness" especially, showcasing both fierce and gentle styles. This album acts as a fair starting point into this bands music, but other albums from their mid-'70s era should also be heard. ~ Mike DeGagne