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Styx - Styx II CD (album) cover




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3.14 | 131 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars I'm gonna make you hear it!

This second Styx album is one of my favourite Styx albums, rivalled only by The Grand Illusion. Of the Wooden Nickel albums (the band's first four), Styx II is the most consistent and also the most progressive. It starts out strongly with You Need Love with swirling synthesisers and operatic harmony vocals. I really like the introduction to this song.

Lady became a small hit, I think, and I can see why. It is highly melodic and memorable. However, this one is not one of my favourites. The lead vocals are always my biggest problem with Styx and it is very clear on this particular track. The good thing is that they don't drag it out, it is just under three minutes long.

The eight plus minute A Day is perhaps the most interesting track from a Prog perspective. It is a somewhat jazzy song that somehow reminds me of the style of Yes' two first albums. Yes was, after all, most probably one of Styx' sources of inspiration. I think this is an excellent song that is very much in line with early British Symphonic Prog. This is my personal favourite Styx song. Even the lead vocals are good this time!

However, Styx are quick to destroy the Prog mode with the next track You Better Ask, easily my least favourite of the album. It is a rather simple and cheerful, up tempo song and apart from a nice, short keyboard solo it has few redeeming features. However, it does not distract too much from the flow of the album. Next thing on the menu is a short Little Fugue In 'G' which is a nice little piece played on church organ leading straight into Father O.S.A, another good song. Here we are treated to another song that justifies the group's presence in the Prog Related category with some Queen-like harmony vocals, tasteful electric and acoustic guitars and assorted keyboards.

The album closes with a couple of decent up tempo, melodic Rock songs in Earl Of Roseland and I'm Gonna Make You Feel It. The latter has slightly the same style as the opener.

I can really recommend this early Styx album as I think it is one of the band's best albums. It is not quite excellent, however. But it is one of those albums on which the group came as close to excellence as they ever came.

The best way to get the album now is, I believe, on the 2CD set The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings which comprises the band's first four albums. While the Styx II segment of that compilation is the best, there are several other good songs and with the exception of the weak debut, the other albums here all deserve to be heard. You also get one bonus track called Unfinished Song. It is not at all as unfinished as its title implies. Rather, it is better than most of the songs from the original albums!

Three solid stars for Styx II.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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