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4 stars A much better effort than their previous release ("The Serpent is Rising"). This album succeeds as a hard rock record, and while it isn't as grandiose as later Styx releases, it is a lot of fun. Tales of paranoia ("Evil Eyes"), infidelity ("Southern Woman"), and miracles ("Christopher, Mr. Christopher") abound, rounded by songs there just to show that the band and the listener can have fun together ("Having a Ball," and "Rock & Roll Feeling"). The only negative point to the album is in the remake "Lies," which doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the songs. In fact, RCA rereleased this album on vinyl in the 80s (and changed the name to "Miracles"), and replaced the song "Lies" with another Dennis DeYoung rarity entitled "Unfinished Song," which fit the album like a glove. It's unfortunate in today's world of CD bonus tracks that the song is still lost in the shuffle.
Report this review (#17434)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars For die-hard fans only. The cover might have some progish overtones but the music doesn't . This is straight hard rock to me and not even good. Better things to come from Equinox on. Do not start from this one or the previous, as this might give you the wrong idea of the possibilities of this band.
Report this review (#17435)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Updated on 23 Feb 08

"Man of Miracles" was my first introduction to Styx. It was my big brother, Henky, who was a rock broadcaster in a radio station (Geronimo) based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. When he returned back home to my small town where I lived with my mother he always brought me a tape from rock groups. One of them was STYX "Man of Miracles" whom the name I had never heard before and it sounded weird to me. But when I played the cassette tape, I was amazed with the music which to me sounded simple but it rocked especially when I heard "A Song for Suzanne" for the first time. In fact this was my first in love with STYX! Later I realized that another track "Christopher Mr Christopher" became a major hit in Indonesia.

This is definitely NOT a prog album as the music is a straight rock music. However, this is an excellent rock album. "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" was then a hit in my country in mid of 70s. It's a very nice pop rock song with good keyboard and guitar works. This song is very "nostalgic", I would say. It's a kind of music you'd like to enjoy while sipping a cup of starbuck's coffee lathe. Uugghh ... what a nice break! I am sure that it was Prambors radio who made the song so popular in Indonesia. In fact, the song was then used by local youngsters in my small town Madiun to name their gang with "Christopher" name. The uniqueness of this youngsters gang was that all members' motorcycles were all painted white with red stripe. What a memorable thing for me! But again, the song itself is very melodic especially the song ambience at intro part where the guitar and drums work together beautifully. The first lyrical verse was very famous in my small town Madiun where youngsters at that time always sing together: "I remember Christopher / such a man / so brave and tall. He took the baby Jesus / in his arms / across the waterfall ." WOW man! What a memorable moment (I used to term it as "nuansamatik").

The other tracks of my favorites are: "A Song for Suzanne" (nice intro part), "Lies", "Evil Eyes" (this is really great track! Especially on the melody and vocal line, combined with music ambience which supports the song), "Man of Miracle" (great organ work) and "Southern Woman" (energetic rock), "Golden Lark" (mellow track with an excellent piano). Styx strong point is in its vocal. Recommended, even for a new starter (those who have not listened to STYX music). To me, the first two tracks are not enjoyable. However, this album is best enjoyed in its entirety. If you enjoy song by song you may find difficulties to absorb the two first track. Rating 4/5. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#17436)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opinions are all over the board on this one. No surprise, as it never finds a common ground between plodding average-Joe boogie rock and the exciting grandiosity prog fans are looking for. Starting with two insipid bar-rockers, the first track of interest is "Golden Lark", with ethereal keyboard and string atmospheres and Dennis DeYoung singing at his best. Next is the upbeat "A Song For Suzanne", an engaging track, evidence that this album is going to be saved by some of DeYoung's best moments (he surely had his share of embarrassing ones throughout the Styx discography). The middle of the album further damages any hopes of flow, with "A Man Like Me", "Southern Woman" and throwaway cover song "Lies" being total non-events. "Evil Eyes" peeks out of the mess and tries hard to assert itself. It's not great, but does lurch along in a remarkably brooding manner. Two of Styx's best-ever songs save the day in the final moments: "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" and cosmic epic "Man Of Miracles". They are why Styx belongs in the progrock family: imaginative material, superb playing, a sense of real sonic adventure.

This is like two very different Styx EPs smashed together--why bother when the hard rock excellence of their first album exists, as well as polar opposite masterpiece 'The Grand Illusion'? It took me forever to explore Styx, as my introduction as a kid was through the seriously-flawed 'Kilroy Was Here', mildly enjoyable 'Paradise Theater' and total dud 'Cornerstone'. Once I delved back further, years later, all kinds of gems appeared, but 'Man Of Miracles' isn't one of them. Try to get your Styx-lovin' pal to burn you the good songs!

Report this review (#17437)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album starts off with a couple of excellent, fun rockers with really catchy choruses, true to the James Young sound, though choruses have more synthesiser textures, probably due to the John Curulewski input on these two songs. However the album takes a dramatic change of pace with the devastatingly sad 'Golden Lark'. It is basically a piano ballad but benefits from a colourful arrangement, including a cello, as well as some descriptive poetry: 'all of the wishing wells and stars in the sky, wont make her stay anymore'. The song is sung quite tenderly by Dennis DeYoung. 'A Song for Suzanne' is a dramatic, tragic sounding and very colourful sounding number. This is one of my firm favourite Styx songs and is quite artistic with it's blending of piano riffs with hard rock and psychedelic-sounding synths. It's well juxtaposed with the joyous soudning 'A Man like me' which is another high-energy rocker with James Young leading the way. They try and 'jazz' this one up a bit with some brass arrangements as well as a Clavinet (or a keyboard sounding like a Calvinet).

So the first side is chugging along nicely and we might be on be on course for a five star album. However, the second side takes things off-course a bit, as the album starts repeating itself. There is a 'rocked up' cover version of an excellent 60's hit 'Lies' which is not quite as good as the first side. In fact, even though Dennis DeYoung sings the lead vocal, James Young steals the show here, with passionate, blistering backing vocals, making Dennis look a bit flat on the lead vocals. However, the enthusiasm in the song, mostly due to JY, redeems it quite a bit. The next song 'Evil Eyes' is the best song on the second side of the album. It kinds of invokes the sound of 'Song for Suzanne' a bit and begins similarly to 'Golden Lark' but it was such a great formula in the first place; operatic-styled vocals set against a hard-rock background with fantasy synths and some brilliant piano work thrown in as well, that we are quite happy to hear it again. The song also has some brooding, blues-like lead guitar solos that help you feel the sadness Dennis describes in the song and adds something new to the formula. However, 'Southern Woman' adds nothing new to JY's hard-rock formula, maybe sounds a little more 'southern rock', but this really is 'Rock and roll feeling' part four. Also 'Christopher, Mr. Christopher' is 'A Song for Suzanne'. simply cut and paste. Sure, it has that massive cosmic-sounding intro which kind of makes you feel small, but sounds like a cover version of the songs that came earlier in the album, without as much passion. Just plug into the formula, and 'wollah' there you have it. Also the title track to finish the album sounds disconcertingly like it came from the same mathematical equation that gave us 'Rock and Roll Feeling' and 'Southern Woman'. Dennis and Chuck Lofrano both help James write the song, but their contributions merely mean a big, embellished intro to the song. The song then goes into hard-rock mode with some hard-to-understand lyrics. Oh hey it's not that bad, but don't you see a formula here: Dennis: Emotional, dramatic art-rock ballad, JY: Straight ahead rocker with big riffs. Five songs each, though that's not quite true, it's four and a half songs Dennis and James, and one cover version.

In summary, there are some interesting points about this album, the vocal harmonies, which are just amazing. JY has such a powerful voice and can be heard to great effect not only on his songs but on Dennis songs as well. They were singing with such power and conviction, and harmoising so well. However, I can't hear John Curuleski's voice at all. Also, he is sorely missed here. He often threw up more progressive numbers and were often a nice change of pace on these early Styx albums. He's all but silent here and it would have been great to have something like 'A Day' or 'As Bad As This' on here, instead of the last two songs. Also the formula just wears thin at the end of the album, so it is kind of disconcerting. The first seven songs are more or less worth your while, but the last three don't offer anytthing new, though I think 'Southern Woman' is okay. If I was to edit the album, I'd remove the last two but I wouldn't have the heart to remove this number, it has some goofy charm.

I can't quite make my mind up if this is worth 7 or 8. I have to give this four stars, because it's too great for three stars, well so says my tasteless ass!

Report this review (#17438)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I received this album from RCA Music back in 1982. I had to listen to it closely to feel the vibes. At this time of my life I was heavy into playing guitar. I got pretty good learning chord progressing form this album and the ones before, i.e, Styx 1, 2 etc. The Man of Miracles track is just downright wicked. I know I'll never get to see Styx perform this song along with Mr.Christopher and Southern Woman live but that's cool though. This album will be my all- time favorite Styx classic and to this day I still jam my axe to this LP , LOUD !!!!!
Report this review (#39738)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Like its predecessor, "Man of Miracles" is a spotty album with a few moments of grand, prog-inspired pomp and flashy musicianship ... but mostly it's just lost in some very average songs that are trying very hard to be radio-friendly ... presumably to recapture the magic of "Lady". But the complexity hinted at in Styx II is now gone and replaced with style over substance. Still, that's not to say that the album can't have its fun moments.

The tracks that might interest prog fans include "A Song for Suzanne", "Evil Eyes", "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" and the title track ... but by this point the band is beginning to devlop that distinctive Styx sound, and if that sound raises the hair on the back of your neck in an irritating way ... you're probably better served looking elsewhere.

Report this review (#48203)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars The music has an uncanny resemblance to screeching. It is very hard to immerse into the music, as it is constantly trying its best to energize and stimulate, but fails and only annoys. Musically simple, lyrically standard, and lacks many creative elements I would consider essential to a prog band. Few progressive elements are present. But, despite all these flaws, there is some decent music. The title track is nearing nice, and a few moments in the others are enjoyable. Besides that, it makes a nice coaster.
Report this review (#96058)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars Since I've been discovering lots of newer, more obscure bands in recent times, I don't wish to ignore the 'old and familiar' albums in my collection. I have been re-visiting my early Styx albums, and they are endearingly addictive to me, even though they display a somewhat confused direction. 'Man of Miracles' is my 2nd favourite, and has its share of harder edged 'Pop-Rock' moments, and more involved 'Proggy' pieces. The first 2 tracks, 'Rock n' Roll Feeling' and 'Havin' a Ball' are simple, rockin' tunes that kick things off in a very uplifting way. Some people probably dig these songs for their direct simplicity, but they are a little 'standard' for the more progressively inclined minds. Keyboardist Dennis DeYoung seems to compose the more involved and 'colourful' tracks, his 'Golden Lark' being lightly classical and romantic in execution, complete with a lovely 'cello accompaniment. Beautiful song. 'A Song For Suzanne' is one of Styx finest moment's up until this point - we have a great structure, well crafted melodies, a more complex instrumental arrangement and superb vocals and harmonies. From the inspired 'cello arrangement, segueing this track with the previous one (effectively backed with Thunder and Rain sounds), we hear some nimble guitar, bass and synth lines that lead into a bombastic blast of string-synth and piano dominated prog. The tune has a pretty interlude, and then rocks out nicely. This song is definately worth cherishing for proggers who think Styx were just, well, not prog. 'A Man Like Me', is yet another rocker by guitarist James Young (the young 'cracker' in the band) and features a brass arrangement which expands their sound beyond their regular approach. Side 2 starts with 'Lies', a catchy pop tune, but rather decent to be honest, considering it's a cover-song. 'Evil Eyes' is more like it, a ballsy DeYoung original that has an epic feel to it. Another great tune. 'Southern Woman' is tune with a standard 'shuffle' feel, but contains a powerful Hammond solo from DeYoung, which is most captivating (think : Jon Lord). DeYoung can definately play. 'Christopher, Mr Christopher' is a piece which varies from softer, reflective verses, to harder moments - not too bad to be honest. Album closer, 'Man of Miracles', is prog, hard, heavy, dynamic, pompous, and driven by a superb riff - grinding Hammond and atmospheric synth work throughout. The vocals are quite enjoyable too (in a hard-rock way), the song is yet another high-point within the band's entire catalogue (well, up to and including 'Kilroy was Here'). The album is very good for U.S. prog-rock at the time, so I'll give it a 4th star, but the previous release is better.
Report this review (#162293)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars The Rock 'N' Roll feeling is not always a good feeling!

This is Styx' forth album. I own this album as part of a 2CD set called The Wooden Nickel Recordings comprising the band's first four albums. When I listen to the second disc (which is cleverly called Tails while the first disc is called Heads) holding the original albums The Serpent Is Rising and Man Of Miracles, I always feel that if they had only made a single album out of the best songs from these two albums they could have made a really good one. Most probably not an excellent one, but a good one for sure! These two albums have the same sound and both of them have some good material and some quite awful material.

Man Of Miracles starts out quite weak with two straightforward Rock 'N' Roll numbers in Rock 'N' Roll Feeling and Havin' A Ball. The titles of these songs alone give them away. What follows is mostly quite enjoyable, however. Golden Lark, A Song For Suzanne, Man Of Miracles and Christopher, Mr. Christopher are all good songs. In terms of Prog this album is about as rich as most Styx albums, which is to say not very rich. However, Styx does have a progressive side and it is occasionally shown here too. Songs like A Man Like Me, on the other hand, is again another generic Rock 'N' Roll number that the album could have done without.

One thing to notice about these early albums, Man Of Miracles in particular, is that they rock harder than on later, more popular albums. There is more Rock 'N' Roll and Hard Rock here and less Pop.

Like with The Serpent Is Rising the weak tracks brings this album down to two (and a half) stars. However, The Wooden Nickel Recordings 2CD set is a very worthwhile way to get these early albums since you get some good stuff (and sadly some real stinkers too). It also has a superb cover art picture very much in line with the name of the band.

Report this review (#227541)
Posted Sunday, July 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Styx is one of those bands that I've always listen with pleasure, no matter what others said I realy like this band aand what they release over the years.Ok is not one of my fav bands but from time to time is a good listen , specialy their '70 stuff. I've already review two albums in the past Equinox (who I founded to be their best so far) and Paradise theatre, so I said is time for more Styx reviews . This time i'm on Man of miracles from 1974, the first album where Styx begun to move to a bigger fan base and they will be more and more wide known by larger public. This album sounds to me almost like an etirely har rock album with some heavy prog elements, specialy the last tracks are the most progressive without doubt. The music is not realy bad, some good moments on Man Of Miracles, sounds towards Uriah heep same time, with blstering keybords over some solid guitar section. The rest of the album is ok, nothing groundbreaking and very progressive but ok in places. The covert art is excellent. So a pleasent album but far from what will be after this one, musicaly speaking is weaker in any way then next releases, still a 3 star album to me.
Report this review (#308499)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars We citizens of the United States of America are arguably some of the most aggressively inventive rascals ever to tread Terra Firma. We came up with Ziploc bags and bubble wrap. We thought up nuke subs. We produced the first laser. We figured out how to integrate circuits and make 'em teeny-tiny. Heck, we even made the Moog synthesizer a reality! We think we can do anything but there's something we absolutely cannot do. We can't create symphonic prog for pig poop. ("Hold on, there, bucko," you might shout, "what about Kansas?" To that I say there's an exception to every rule and those Midwestern musical mutants are a pleasant aberration and certainly not the norm.) Maybe it's that the baby boomer generation that populated the 60s and 70s in this country was so thoroughly inundated/brainwashed by Top 40 radio fare in their adolescence that anything that wasn't instantly catchy and lasting less than 3 minutes was deemed intolerable. I'm not sure. Yet I suspect that our British counterparts were reluctantly (somewhat) exposed to a lot more of the classical composers in their impressionable youth and the musicians that eventually founded and cultivated progressive rock had a much more sizeable subconscious ocean of orchestral ideas and patterns to draw from. That's my personal theory but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I present the All-American band Styx as evidence.

Not being a fan of theirs I realize that I'm in danger of lampooning these guys unfairly but then I didn't put them on Progarchives so I consider them worthy dartboard material nonetheless. I'll admit they're talented dudes and I've actually seen them in concert twice in the last decade, though they weren't the reason for my attendance. (First was a post 9/11 benefit where Paul Rodgers rocked the house and the second was when my lovely- but-musically-bereft wife dragged me to a [belch] Foreigner show where Styx opened.) I won't single them out as the lone perpetrators of faux prog, either. When American groups got jiggy with it they more often than not went tripping down the psychedelic white rabbit hole or bravely explored the uncharted environs of jazz/rock fusion, neither of which came close to replicating what the likes of Yes, ELP, King Crimson and Genesis were importing. Obviously the huge popularity enjoyed by those esteemed groups stateside showed that we Yanks were agog for symphonic prog. No doubt about it. But we couldn't write it or play it to save our gonads. And it wasn't for lack of trying. The boys from the Styx were just a handful of many refusing to accept that frustrating fact.

I picked up "Man of Miracles" because I knew it was far enough along in their catalogue timeline for them to have grown accustomed to toiling in the studio environment so naiveté wouldn't be an acceptable excuse for poor workmanship on their part. One of the first things I noticed on the back of the LP cover was "STYX is still: (insert lineup)" which tells me that in '74 they were either trying to squelch rumors of inner turmoil or publicly admitting amazement that they hadn't murdered each other yet. (I surmise that releasing three previous albums and touring incessantly had increased pressures from management tenfold to pinch a loaf or get off the pot already.) Alas, I wasn't shocked by what I heard. The music I discovered lounging in the vinyl grooves was pretty much what I expected and my expectations were not particularly high.

The opener is the abysmal "Rock and Roll Feeling" and the first thing that comes to mind is a phrase that embodies everything that was nauseating about mainstream American rock & roll in the 70s: "Let's Boogie!" In other words, "don't think, just party till you puke" and the latter exhortation is what songs like this make me want to do. Banal lyrics barfed up atop a forced rock beat that has no discernable purpose is a sin. Guitarists John Curulewski and James Young are responsible for this turtle turd and when they sing "I got this crazy feeling/it's a sickness in my soul" I couldn't agree more. Speaking of upchuck, "Havin' a Ball" follows and it's more of the same inane stoner muck that could constipate a goose swimming in an oil spill. I've sat through infomercials for roof gutters more memorable than this brand of crap rock.

Dennis DeYoung's "Golden Lark" is next and, lo & behold, heavens to Betsy, it's a decent tune! Piano and cello lurk behind the thoughtful melody line and, compared to the band's other vocalists, Dennis comes off sounding like Freddy Mercury. This number actually has atmosphere and a generous dash of character, keeping the record from automatically becoming a skeet target (earning a 2nd star in my rating). His next offering, "A Song for Suzanne," begins with dramatic rainy-day storm rumblings accompanied by a lonesome cello (always a reliable combo) but then things abruptly turn cheesy when they try to become prog monsters and fall woefully short. (The flat-as-a-tortilla engineering doesn't help at all.) Then it's back to appeasing their fist-pumping, fairground rawk fan base with the hives-producing "A Man Like Me." It's difficult for me to imagine music more unimaginative than flotsam like this. The fellas in the studio horn section were the only ones who got anything out of this session in that they received a union-scale paycheck for their services.

"Best Thing" is (according to their discography) a rehashed ditty from their debut they evidently didn't feel got its due the first time around so they tacked it on here. Bad move. This paper-thin slice of Illinois white boy funk fails to motivate even after it morphs into a heavy dirge. It comes off as a mishmash of odd, unfocused ideas coerced into cohabitation. "Evil Eyes" is another DeYoung composition that starts with the ever-popular piano-down-the-hall effect and sounds like an attempt to capture the essence of what had garnered some localized airplay for his schmaltzy "Lady" track on Styx II (it didn't find its larger FM radio audience till mid '75). Unfortunately it's quite lame. The fat, layered vocals are impressive but they're like applying lipstick on a sow. The dreaded "Boogie" beast is back and stinkin' the placed up on "Southern Woman." It's as appealing as day-old Budweiser backwash. Lord, this is SO tiresome! They even manage to make a Hammond B3 organ sound like a cheap Farfisa and that's downright blasphemous. Off with their heads!

On "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" Dennis confirms that he has strong, room-filling tonsil power but, holy cow, does he take himself way too seriously or what? Relax, bro, will ya? The root problem here is that the arrangement's so predictable that you know exactly where the band is going next and, in so doing, they miss the true charm of progressive rock. It's all just so damned AMERICANIZED! And, just so the twin Panozzo brothers (drummer John and bassist Chuck) don't feel left out of this review, let me just say that their playing is as dull as a set of butter knives and leave it at that. A hokey military snare and some pompous tympani herald the LP's closer (the album's namesake) but when the huge vocals come in at least you feel they had lofty aims. The song ends up as a poor, anemic imitation of Deep Purple, though, and it was a genuine relief for my weary head when the needle lifted off the platter at long last and blissful silence ensued.

What Styx evolved into years down the line from this vacant schlock (when Curulewski jumped ship and they recruited little Tommy Shaw) was a vast improvement over what this fledgling, confused lineup was coughing up. I'll admit that I can still listen to "Come Sail Away" without cringing so I don't begrudge them their longevity. It took guts to stick with it when, even after four or five albums, no one knew who in Hades they were and I admire that kind of stubborn chutzpah. But as far as this disc goes, it stynx. When the album cover has more color and pizzazz than the music contained inside you know buying a couple of happy meals from Mickey D's would've been a much wiser and satisfying investment.

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Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Miracles? Hardly.

In the beginning of 1974, Styx was working on their 4th album "Man of Miracles" and had a new manager named Jim Vose. The wild third album "The Serpent is Rising" was yet another commercial failure and things were getting tense. The band members were seemingly going nowhere while all but one were now married and some had kids. The pressure to get something going was on the band and when Miracles was released it was yet another stiff. But then the band caught an amazing break. The track "Lady" from two years prior caught on with some radio stations and broke through. On the strength of that single the band became a national act instead of folding. DeYoung admits it made him cocky and he was determined to use his personal success to begin to assert himself in the group. It was the next step toward commercial success and the next step toward John Curulewski's departure.

"Man of Miracles" is the worst Styx album until Kilroy. The only highlight of this throwaway set is the combination of DeYoung's "Golden Lark" and "Song for Suzanne." The former is lovely with melodic piano and strings behind it, the latter is yet another of the 700 songs dedicated to his lovely wife. This is one of the better ones, full of theatrics, thunder, dark strings, and tons of mood. These two songs are worth hearing for Styx fans, but they are all that stands between me and a one-star rating for this album. Young and Curulewski's hard rock rippers could be great when they were on, but this time out they are banal and boring tracks barely fit for the barroom set. It sounds like the band were biding their time at this point, dying to get away from Wooden Nickel and stockpiling away the better ideas. At least that is the case with Curulewski and Young, who sound like they are dealing with their frustration by regressing big time. Johnny B Goode, anyone? The title track is the other decent song with distorted Hammond and a hugely heavy Uriah Heep feel. The weakest of the early Styx years.

Report this review (#444022)
Posted Saturday, May 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The last of the "pre-famous" Wooden Nickel albums from Styx. More akin to bar-rock and hard rock there is little here to interest a progressive music fan. Maybe "Golden Lark" and "Song for Suzanne" carry mild interest to non- Styx fans. The rest of this is throwaway rock. It is interesting how fast Styx improved when Equinox came along. From that album through Crystal Ball and Grand Illusion, and Pieces of Eight they hit it huge and produced their finest pop-prog. Of course, then came Paradise Theater and Kilroy Was Here and the plane crashed. Anyhow, this is just for pure mavens of the history of Styx. 2 stars inflated from 1 1/2 stars.
Report this review (#636540)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The last Wooden Nickel album, 1974's rather ordinary 'Man Of Miracles' finds Styx still stuck in pop-prog limbo, unable to replicate the eclectic creativity that made 'Styx II' so impressive. Featuring a slightly streamlined variation on the theatrical rock 'n' roll style that would eventually become their trademark, this fourth Styx release offers up a group running out of ideas. Still featuring the (almost) original five-man line-up of Dennis DeYoung(vocals, keyboards), John Curulewski(guitar), Chuck Panozzo(bass), James Panozzo(drums) and James Young(guitar, vocals), 'Man Of Miracles' does at least set the stage for the group's most successful era, the album made up entirely of shorter, sharper pieces that eschew the big prog elements that defined their earlier work. However, despite the expected instrumental verve, there is a serious lack of memorable hooks or catchy melodies, with only the final title-track showing glimpses of what was to come on smash hit releases 'The Grand Illusion' and 'Pieces Of Eight'. By no means dreadful then, yet once again Styx really do flatter to deceive.


Report this review (#669309)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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