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Styx - Styx II CD (album) cover




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3.14 | 131 ratings

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4 stars Styx' second album (and it IS there second, not "Serpent is Rising" despite one of the rare errors on ProgArchives ... ) is the highlite of their Wooden Nickel recordings. But first, you have to get past the most played song from this period: "Lady"

If you're like me, "Lady" is the kind of track that you cranked up as a young progger ... only to cringe at the formulaic guitar/keyboard riffs and pitch-perfect harmonies in later years. Worthy only as a "gateway drug" to better prog it is, at best only a guilty pleasure for me now.

The real treat on this album (for me) is the "Little Fugue in 'G'"/"Father O.S.A." combination! Say what you will about his power ballads and drippy love songs, DeYoung was always had progworthy keyboard talent. The Pipe Organ from "Little Fugue ..." blends seamlessly with "Father O.S.A.", and returns to lend the track a level of depth and feeling that will rarely, if ever be matched again by Styx. Floating, ethereal and pompous, it's my favorite track on the album.

The track "A Day" also shows off the band's musical talent very well ... even if it sounds very un-like what we've come to expect from Styx. The song features quite a bit of back- and-forth organ and guitar jams, set over a cool jazzy, almost Canterbury beat interspersed with mellow, groovy vocal segments and gentle harmonies. Very un-Styx like but very likeable.

The final track of note is "Earl of Roseland", an autobiographical DeYoung rocker complete with all the soaring harmonies and flashy keyboard work that you'd expect ... but with a harsher, less polished edge that somehow makes this track more appealing than some of their later, commercial fare.

In all, Styx II is probably the most traditionally progressive of all of Styx' early albums and in that sense is probably the most worth checking out if you're just going to listen to one. And no progger should feel embarrased to have this in his or her collection.

| 4/5 |


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