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Styx - Equinox CD (album) cover




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3.50 | 194 ratings

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3 stars Styx is the river of Greek legend where the ferryman Charon will take souls to the other bank for eternal salvation if he is given a coin. Very progressive theme really and in the case of the famous Chicago-based band, best expressed with their album Equinox. I am not a fan but there are 3 outstanding pieces on this solid recording, all highly popular in the glory days of FM radio and college run stations: "Light Up" (hint?) and "Lorelei" were just extraordinarily catchy and well-rounded rock songs but "Suite Madame Blue" remains a masterpiece of the times (with Boston's "More Than a Feeling" or Zep's "Stairway to Heaven") that keeps eliciting smiling pleasures, an fabulous acoustic intro evolving into a sizzling hurrah that lingers long after the powering off. Now, one, two or even three songs a magnum opus do not make but "Equinox" has a lot going for it, even the only Styx album that deserves inclusion in a Prog collection. Whether arguable or not, Dennis DeYoung certainly can sing (some do not like his voice though) with conviction, his keyboard playing really quite first-rate both on piano and synthesizers. "Light Up" starts off highly upbeat with a smashing "entrée en matière", a tortuous synth flight leading the melodic charge, held by a harsh guitar rhythm and an all a round good tune. "Lorelei" is quite similar to the opener, a hard ballad ("Oh when she moves.") with perhaps a tad corny love lyrics ("Let's Live Together", a new social fad in the early 70s) and a jaunty instrumental mid-section that breathes excitement. Not being gaga over the boys from O'Hare, the balance until the whopping finale is just average ,neither fab or drab in my opinion. Fast forward. The real masterstroke is the Suite Madame Blue, an intensely innuendo-laced song about a hopeless affair with brothel owner but really about the rotting American Dream needing a wake up call. (Rock music started out as protest music anyway, railing against the injustices caused by world politics, whether local or international). The echo-laced acoustic guitar overture still provides goose bumps three decades later, DeYoung passionate lyrics expertly expressed (" Time after time I sit and I wait for your call I know I'm a fool but why can I say Whatever the price I'll pay for you, Madame Blue Once long ago, a word from your lips and the world turned around. But somehow you've changed; you're so far away I long for the past and dream of the days with you, Madame Blue"). Sinfield, Ian Anderson or Fish , this is obviously not .When the full steamroller might of the main theme kicks in, it really hits you in the gut, loaded with powerful bass and drums, James Young's heavy guitar and relatively complex rock arrangements. Yeah, It ain't Yes or Tull or Floyd but it's really so appealing. So it's on the other side of the musical river, pay the ferryman and cross the Styx and feel the..3 Melting Ice Cubes
tszirmay | 3/5 |


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