Swedish Kaipa now celebrates 30 years since their 1975 debut, although they were quiet from 1982 until their 2002 Notes From The Past comeback album. The anniversary is being celebrated with a new album, Mindrevolutions, as well as plans for a box set with remastered editions of their very first three albums, and some previously unreleased material.
Over the years, Kaipa's line up has been subject to changes, but founding member Hans Lundin and original guitarist Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) have remained, and thus kept the legacy safe. The rest of the band (except female vocalist Aleena) have all been with the band since they joined in for the 2002 reunion. Kaipa's roots are still present, even if they sound-, word-, and music-wise are entirely updated.
Speaking of the music, Mindrevolutions offers a wide range of atmospheres and moods, but perhaps with a tendency towards softer and slower material. Still, there are some mighty groovy moments, such as in "Pair Of Sunbeams" and "Timebomb," and occasionally in "Mindrevolutions." The latter also offers a part with a surprisingly Metal-ish edge. Finally, songs like "Last Free Indian," and closing track "Remains Of The Day," expose a darker side of Kaipa, with a feeling of requiem and deep sadness. It would be fair to say that Mindrevolutions peaks with the groovy and the darker moments, rather than with any composition or song in particular, even if "Mindrevolutions" and "Last Free Indian" are magnificent compositions.
One composition deserves some special attention: "Mindrevolutions" stretches beyond 25 minutes, and was originally intended to be a bonus album, show-off, instrumental track. It ended up as an instrumental exploration between two other songs, and appears on the album as a kind of three-movement suite. The first movement is poetic and vocal, the second is jazzy and instrumental with loads of improvisation, and the third is heroic, almost Celtic, and with some truly insightful words. All in all quite diverse, but also quite massive, nearly failing to carry its own weight (surviving thanks to the third movement).
Songwriter Lundin had prepared some 22 tracks for this album, and with 10 quite extensive tracks crammed into nearly 80 minutes on this album, he must obviously have killed a few darlings. Still, he could have killed a few more, because the overall outcome is rather tedious. Leaving out at least the less interesting songs, "Shadows Of Time" and "Our Deepest Inner Shore," and perhaps even "Remains Of The Day" (which in spite of a number of apparent qualitites often sounds like some mediocre, romantic ballad), would have shaved a good 20 minutes off the total running time. After all, 80 minutes in a stretch is a loooong time, especially with so many slower and less evolving parts as on this album.
Needless to say, Mindrevolutions ought to be appreciated by Kaipa fans. Others might find interest in their remarkable instrumental skills or in the intricate vocal or instrumental arrangements, provided you have a little patience. Admittedly, they also manage to come up with some breathtaking melodic themes, although the melodies themselves sometimes are less weak and the vocal efforts of Patrik Lundström and Aleena do not always pay off. Still, the album adds nicely to the already impressive Kaipa discography, considering its musical qualitites and the intriguing cover artwork.
Kaipa 2005 Line Up:
Hans Lundin - keyboards and vocals
Roine Stolt - guitars, percussion, and vocals
Morgan Ågren - drums
Jonas Reingold - bass
Patrik Lundström - vocals
Aleena - vocals
Band Web page: www.Kaipa.info
Label Web page: www.InsideOut.de (except USA: www.InsideOut.com)