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Styx - Styx CD (album) cover




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2.80 | 125 ratings

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2 stars Before The Grand Illusion, there was the grandiloquent confusion of "Movement For The Common Man," which throws at the listener in order of succession: hard rock, a tinkertoy drum solo, spoken dialogue from the streets of Chicago, an excerpt of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare For The Common Man" and, finally, a dreamy prog ballad ("Mother Nature's Son") in the hopes that something will stick. I agree that it's a movement, but I wouldn't stick around to find out what kind. Beyond that, Styx' debut isn't bad at all, playing rock with obvious proggy overtones, as Dennis DeYoung dips into the well of the current vanguard (Genesis, Jethro Tull, ELP) and adds filigree to what might otherwise be filler. Strangely, their first album doesn't contain a lot of band-written material. Whether tracks like "Right Away" and "After You Leave Me" were holdovers from earlier incarnations of the band or not is unclear, but Styx does a good job of stamping them with their own personality (strong harmonies, prog sensibility and swagger). While nothing on here has the enduring power of a "Lady," Styx (the album) is no less fruitful that Rush's first album. "Best Thing" is handily the best thing on here, "What Has Come Between Us" another winner (fyi, both were chosen for Wooden Nickel's Best of Styx). Does it all bode well for the future of Styx? Well, no, they sound like the second coming of Uriah Heep here (and I'm not sure anyone invited the first Heep). In the cabinet marked eponymous prog debuts, Yes and ELP got out of the gate quickly, Rush opted to travel by way of zeppelin and Styx occasionally stalls as it learns to shift between prog and rock.
daveconn | 2/5 |


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