We open up with the debut single and first song in nearly two decades; "With This Heart" and it's got this cheery little piano lead intro that flows into this, quaint little rock ballad, beaming with positive energy. The message is clear; don't give up, hold on and stay strong, it's incredibly warming, welcoming even...you can sense the band are glad to be back releasing music, and it shows here clearly. We then follow this up with "Visibility Zero" and a quick change of overall direction; the guitars are cranked up and we return to that familiar, old-school riffage, taking you right back to those 70's hay-days and also, retaining that soft rock style throughout, resulting in a song that's equally nostalgic and fresh.
One of the themes running throughout is hope, there's a strong emphasis on belief...faith even, and if ever there was an example of this, it would be "Refugee". Again, touching on ballad territory, we've got the gently plucked acoustic elements, some beautifully soft string arrangements and lyrically it's on the verge of despairing; Ronnie Platt's story telling within the song is incredibly poignant given so many recent events around the world, especially around the middle east and Eastern Europe. It's a brilliant track and an album highlight. Speaking of faith, the 8 min+ "The Voyage Of Eight Eighteen" is simply majestic. At such a length, with it's key changes, subtle tempo changes, it could pass for prog-rock. The message again a positive one, with potential references to Romans 8:18, taken from the Bible as "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us"...mankind is on a long journey, we can and will overcome all hardships, you just need to believe in humanity.
Tracks like "Camouflage" and "Summer" keep the album ticking along nicely, the latter being textbook Kansas, before we finish with "Section 60". Now, if you're familiar with the law and your rights, section 60 allows a police officer to stop and search a person with no reason of suspicion required, part of the 1994 public order act. It's an interesting title, for an interesting choice of song; essentially a 4-minute instrumental, it's completely random, but, maybe that's the point? They've done it simply because they can, just like law enforcers do, whether you like it or not. Uncertainty aside on this closing track, Kansas have more than delivered here...for an album 16 years in the making, there's absolutely no sign of rust on these veterans whatsoever. Younger generations may only be familiar with them because of TV shows or games like GUITAR HERO...but "The Prelude Implicit" should change all of that. If the prelude is a sign of more work to come, then carry on my wayward sons...carry on.