2016 Foxtrot (CD)
CD reissue: 2016 Belle Antique (Japan mini-LP)
LP reissue: 2017 S-Rock (2xLP)
Kaipa Da Capo is basically Version 4.0 of the band formerly known as simply Kaipa. Version 2.0 was the early 80s disaster of trying to stay "relevant" with attempts at vapid AOR and New Wave music, neither of which suited the band well. V3.0 was Hans Lundin's return after he watched his buddy Roine Stolt make a surprisingly commercial comeback with The Flower Kings. These albums are very "2000"-ish in style and are pretty similar to Stolt's own modern bands actually. And now we have Kaipa Da Capo, essentially Stolt taking back the name with a couple of older comrades in tow, with the promise of returning to the original moniker's glory.
Nope. Though it certainly opens auspiciously enough, as if Stolt accidentally discovered Anglagard instead. It was fleeting though, and it won't be long before you realize you're listening to The Flower Kings... in Swedish. Brother Michael has an interesting narrative singing style that he brings to bear on 'När jag var en pojk'. This track is probably the strongest in terms of musical content. So far into the disc, not too bad on the whole. But the next 3 tracks. Oh man. Woof. I will go to my grave never understanding the love this type of music gets from traditional progressive rock fans. It's Bic-swaying, ballad oriented, arena rock. It's everything that was wrong with the 1980s, brought forth as a nightmarish reminder. At least I don't understand the lyrics, so that probably helps. The last of these 3 tracks 'Spår av vår tid' rips wholesale off of classic early Genesis only to desecrate it further into Journey/Foreigner styled banality. Hopefully they're not singing about what love is for chrissakes.
If you can survive that journey (get it?) then the lengthy Tonerna at least makes an attempt at the early Kaipa sound, and some familiar melodies do rise to the top. There's also some decent lengthy jamming that reminded me of The Tangent, yet another Stolt vehicle. Much of the track, however, still bogs down in mid paced, simple rock. Towards the end we get some surprising bluesy guitar soloing from Stolt, and for me was the highlight of the album. The closing track did little to change my perspective. Yea, yea, there's mellotron and all that good stuff, but this an album that sounds every bit of our current century. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it's not the purported retro prog classic either.
If you like the modern commercial wing of progressive rock (if you could call it that), similar to The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard, then you'll enjoy this album. I see on ProgArchives that it's been a hit, and that would be Kaipa Da Capo's core audience right there. Hopefully I provided the right guidance here. I would imagine my negative perspective would be a positive for many of you. Wish I could join you in the praise, but just not in my interest area I'm afraid.
The CD comes in a fine digipak. Too bad I have to sell it....