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Starcastle - Starcastle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.16 | 158 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars "Set sail a crystal ship and you will fly"

It was certainly with some trepidation that I approached Starcastle given how often they are dismissed as doing nothing more than aping the style of Yes. This held me back for a long time from giving this band the fair hearing they deserve. That they are heavily inspired by Yes is undeniable, but that is hardly sufficient grounds for a quick dismissal. There are hundreds of bands following closely in the foot steppes of Genesis, for example, some of which are highly regarded. Ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and to my ears Starcastle's self-titled debut is actually highly appealing. The musicianship is strong and the result is charming and enjoyable.

I will not belabour the comparison with Yes, but I want to bring up something that is not often mentioned; how often the music found on this album evokes the jazzier Peter Banks-era and also Banks's post-Yes band Flash (whose debut also featured Tony Kaye). The production on the other hand is more in line with later Yes albums like Drama, and in that respect foreshadows Yes's own subsequent development. (Note also the very Keith Emerson-like keyboard solo at 4:18 into Lady Of The Lake.)

It should be remembered that Progressive Rock took off later on the other side of the pond with bands like Kansas and Rush reaching their pinnacles around the time of the release of this album (1976-1977), and Starcastle needs to be understood in relation to this. The American bands were generally not as original as their British and European forerunners, but that doesn't mean they are without merit. Starcastle's debut album should be regarded a classic of American Prog Rock and is much better than the albums of many American bands from around this time.

Excellent album!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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