Kansas are back. Y’know, again. I mean, they never really went away, but sometimes when a favourite band releases new music, you feel things. And though largely continuous with the sound of their previous album, “Throwing Mountains” nevertheless feels quite a bit different. When Kansas released “With This Heart” in 2016, they were sending a message to fans who mainly knew those 3 songs that always get played on classic rock radio, and were curious about the ‘new’ singer. In 2020, Kansas are sending a different message ahead of upcoming album The Absence of Presence; “Throwing Mountains” is for the fans who place Masque in their Top 3 Kansas albums and actually own a physical copy of Freaks of Nature. This song says that Kansas are fully inhabiting their legacy in a way that refuses to settle for the legacy status quo.
The vibe is generally inspirational but nuanced by specific imagery; the sound is muscular, focused, and joyous. David Ragsdale’s violin cuts and flourishes, Phil Ehart’s powerhouse drumming takes center stage in a perfect mix, and that classic Kansas soloing comes to the fore with violin, guitar, and organ each ascending then dovetailing together. This doesn’t sound like a typical Kansas radio single, even by 70’s standards. “Throwing Mountains” is an album track deep cut. It’s just a good Kansas song pushed to the fore as a lead single. And it’s a delight.