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Styx - Equinox CD (album) cover




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3.50 | 194 ratings

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4 stars Styx had just had a big hit with 'Lady' I mean this was their big breakthrough, and they had been battling so hard with their albums and singles not getting any commercial success or airplay. And then boom! This song from two years ago was all of a sudden a huge hit and Dennis DeYoung had something to play for, he dominates this album. This album kind of sets the stage for the coming albums. But this one is a real beauty!

It begins with the catchy 'Light Up', which isn't my favourite song or anything, but it's an interesting mix of reggae funk prog rock, and Dennis' keyboards are really vivid on this one. But even more so I love the song that follows, 'Lorelei', a rocking song with some well chosen synthesiser tones, good riffs and some big vocal harmonies. This song is also really jolly and cheerful, definitely a mood-enhancer, better than prosac I believe! This is followed by 'Mother Dear'. This song actually sounds like a progressive rock song, and would you believe it? (yes you would) This was written by good ole John Curulewski, well actually it's a co-credit with Dennis, who probably was the dominant force on this album, but that doesn't stop some innovative instrumental music and some of John's characteristically quirky lyrics, though now he's in a more serious mood. The main riff is very catchy and quite interesting. But my favourite track has to be 'Lonely Child', with it's medieval feeling. It begins with a bit of a fanfare, then slows down and then the sound is acoustic, for the first half, and then the heavy rock guitars come in for the second half of the song. The vocals are excellent, and the synthesiser tones are appropriate.

We flip over our Tape/LP/CD/iPod and get a hard-rock number from James Young, which is good because he always throws in tonnes of enthusiasm. It's the only song he sings on this album and this was unfortunately a pattern that subsequent albums followed, depending on how you feel about him, but his vocals are always energetic and enthusiastic, and he was so integral to that hard-rock sound of Styx in the early years. The song that follows is 'Born for adventure', which also has a good 'medieval hard-rock' feeling to it. The guitars kind of set the feeling because of the tone on them. I could have done without the 'Whoa whoa whoa whoa' bit but anyway. The lyrics are good too, help enhance the general mood of the song.

Ok so as far as Styx go this has been near perfect, six songs well worth the time of a fan of semi-prog (probably not for a fan of all-and-all-out prog). Now here comes the let down, that's all folks! What six songs?! Well, yeah... Okay not entirely, we get Prelude 12/Suite Madame Blue, which seems great, it's seven minutes or something, with a one and a half minute 'prelude'. The prelude is great and the 'Suite' is great, well about four minutes of it is, but there is about three minutes of quite repetitious music to 'embellish' the song to seven minutes. I can't count how many times they say 'America' and repeat that riff in the middle of the song. Even with the embellishment, which isn't really adding to the listening experience, the album reaches just short of 35 minutes. If they made songs as long as Genesis and King Crimson do, then having seven songs on one album is fine, but when you have a seven track album, the first six songs would average less than five minutes each, and the last song is repetitiously dragged out to make it respectably above half an hour, it comes up a bit short.

The feeling that the listener is left with having listened to this album is 'Is that all there is?' A slight feeling of emptiness. That said, this is one of Styx' strongest albums, and is worth about 3.5 - 4.0, so I'll round up. This is a highly enjoyable album, but consider this, the Genesis albums from 1976, 'Trick of the tail' and 'Wind and Wuthering' go for 51 and 50 minutes respectively, while this Styx album from 1975 is only 34 minutes and the last song is painfully dragged out to lengthen the album, now that's a thought!

Brendan | 4/5 |


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