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Styx - Equinox CD (album) cover




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3.50 | 194 ratings

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3 stars Winds of change everywhere

The transitional fifth Styx album "Equinox" would mark the end of the John Curulewski era, as well as the beginning of Styx's lucrative association with A&M Records, and the band's first attempt at producing themselves. Curulewski joined the band in 1968 and left just after the release of "Equinox" which came out in late 1975. It was perhaps one of the world's most ill timed career moves as Styx was just about to break in a big way after years of struggle. But Curulewski was tired of the road and wanted more time with his family. He would teach guitar and work in the music business until his tragically young death of a brain aneurysm in 1988. Some of the Styx insiders are less kind in speaking of Curulewski, calling him a "negative person" and the only one who was never happy and couldn't get along with the others. After starting the "Equinox" tour there was a gig in Jacksonville where Curulewski and DeYoung got into it after what was felt to be a sub-par performance at an important show. DeYoung called him on it, and Curulewski quit on the spot. This led to the arrival of Tommy Shaw in the band, a crucial turning point for them.

While the album was modestly successful and eventually went Gold, and while DeYoung claimed to be newly inspired by the fresh A&M deal, I find "Equinox" to be one of the least enticing Styx titles. It delivers a modest hit single I never liked in "Lorelei" as well as the fairly annoying opener "Light Up." "Mother Dear" is a good track with some wispy slide guitar licks and an ethereal DeYoung keyboard part, and "Born for Adventure" is also cool. The album features the first Styx "epic" in "Suite Madame Blue" which was introduced by Curulewski's "Prelude 12," a little acoustic number which supposedly took him hours to record. It's a solid track they laid down in one take, with a mysterious presence and nice vocal arrangements, the acoustic beginning turning into a power chord laden chorus. Still, if you listen closely, it is not really very interesting and falls short of where they would be very soon. DeYoung's material is still progressing, decent but not overwhelming, while in my opinion Curulewski's heart had already left. His enthusiasm does not seem to be present and the album suffers for it.

"Equinox" is an improvement over "Man of Miracles" and one can hear the classic Styx sound taking shape, especially on James Young's muscular "Born for Adventure." But it was still just the warm-up. 3 stars, but just barely.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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