We hope to give you an extensive review on the Close To The Fire in the very near future. In de meantime, we'll provide you with the track-listing and a first impression....
1. Close To The Fire
2. When Hearts Grow Cold
3. Dream Child
4. Frozen Flame
6. Worlds Apart
8. Two Wrongs (Don't Make a Right)
9. Anybody's Child
10. Here Today
11. Just a Matter of Time
12. Full Circle
13. Ruthless Queen (2000)
I think it's save to say that Close To The Fire continues where Merlin stopped, back in 1981. The 60+ minute long album is a combination of shorter and some longer songs, the longest one being the title track (over 8 minutes).
Another resemblance with Merlin is the use of medieval sounds in several songs. As a result of the use of flutes, songs like Close To The Fire, Crusader and Full Circle breathe an almost 'folky' atmosphere. Internal Exile by Fish comes to mind.
Camel guitarist Andy Latimer provides a solo to the (official) closer of the album, Full Circle.
Main part of the songs is made up by some lovely ballads, like When Hearts Grow Cold, Frozen Flame and Here Today. All these songs have lovely backing-vocals and beautiful arrangements. Kayak's symphonic approach is not one of "one theme after another". It's about nicely elaborated songs, with fine melodies and great arrangements.
As a result, Close To The Fire provides the listener with a balanced cross-over between pop and prog. Unlike Kayak's first three albums, this music is not alike Genesis or Yes, but much better comparable with the likes of Alan Parsons (Eye In The Sky), Fish (Internal Exile, Suits) and... Camel (Stationary Traveller).
As an extra Kayak re-recorded their 1979 hitsingle Ruthless Queen, with the help of Syb van der Ploeg on vocals.