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Styx - Pieces Of Eight CD (album) cover




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3.59 | 241 ratings

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4 stars With The Grand Illusion Styx managed to show that they could put their great songwriting skills to good use writing melodic art rock music; Pieces Of Eight was the album where they proved that they could pretty much write this material in their sleep!

The late '70s was the period where most British progressive rock bands where clutching at straws. Surprisingly, this was also the period where Styx could do no wrong and Pieces Of Eight shows this notion even more than any of its predecessors. There are a few songs that I might not enjoy as much as the rest, but this fact has been a staple of this band's career and I'm fortunate to note that the great moments manage to outnumber the dull ones here.

Unlike the draw that I could see between Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw songwriting efforts on The Grand Illusion, Pieces Of Eight was clearly Shaw's moment in the spotlight since he managed to score hits with Sing For The Day, Blue Collar Man and Renegade. But just like The Grand Illusion, where I gave Shaw some praise for his songwriting, Pieces Of Eight is where I'd like to credit DeYoung for some of his most ambitious material to date. Dennis DeYoung is generally known for his ballads and quirky keyboards-driven pop tunes but this album actually scores him quite a few points on my list for grand scale compositions like I'm O.K., highly prog inspired Lords Of The Ring and the album's title track. These are, simply put, some of my favorite compositions from DeYoung and Styx!

I've never really been a fan of James Young's songwriting, a point that I'll make sure to expand on in some of my later reviews, but this is probably the only album where I find some of his best material with the album's opening track Great White Hope and co-writing credits for I'm O.K and Queen Of Spades. All three compositions lack his, otherwise, straightforward rock 'n' roll approach that he seems to be so fond of.

Pieces Of Eight depicted Styx as kings of the U.S.-based art rock scene of the late '70s making it on par with The Grand Illusion. Their stay at the top would unfortunately not last for much longer but I'll get to that chapter it in due time. Let's just try to enjoy this moment and remember Styx as the great art rock band that they were back then.

***** star songs: I'm O.K. (5:45) Lords Of The Ring (4:35)

**** star songs: Great White Hope (4:24) Sing For The Day (5:02) The Message (1:08) Blue Collar Man (4:08) Renegade (4:18) Pieces Of Eight (4:44)

*** star songs: Queen Of Spades (5:41) Aku Aku (2:57)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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