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Kontiki Suite - “The Greatest Show on Earth” (2015) review


Kontiki Suite - The Greatest Show on Earth (2015)

The Greatest Show On Earth is Kontiki Suite’s second formal album, with some of the material being available in other places. Nevertheless, the band still manifests that early evening hippie Laurel Canyon vibe that was laid down so long ago … and coming from the UK, has been done surprising well.

As with their first album, this is a body of work that needs to be sorted through to tease out the best and most comfortable songs. I’m always set to wondering why it is with so many bands that they do not avail themselves of a proper production team, as material that may sound great in a live setting comes across rather irritating on vinyl or compact disc, which is very much the case here. Again, as with their album On Sunset Lake, the group attempts that vintage organ vibe to hold everything in check and move the music forward, invoking the same concept that made The Band (with Garth Hudson) so special, yet here fall far short, creating rather sustained high end chords that pierce my listening space rather than filling it with those smooth hypnotic rolling Hammond B sounds I know and love so well. Regardless, there are a handful of tracks that will make you smile and brighten your day, where if like me, you’ve made the choice to create one great album from both of these outings, you’ll be more than pleased with your choices.

On listening to Kontiki, I couldn’t help but recognize a bit of the half forgotten band Rain Parade, where their delivery was much the same, meaning again, that I combed through their material as well and kept what suited my ears most comfortably, with musical tracks that came across fully formed, complete, and left nothing to be desired. Here, those numbers would be “My Own Little World,” “Pages Of My Mind,” “Free From Sound,” “My Own Little World” and “All I Can Say.” Of course for me, this makes The Greatest Show On Earth hands down the better of the two albums, yet still, leaves it as rather middle of the road, where a single creatively dynamic album would have lifted this band up, rather than allowing them to be seen as nothing more than average.

- Jenell Kesler
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