Wednesday, February 08, 2006

STYX ‘Equinox/Crystal Ball’ BGO Records (2006)

The first two Styx albums following their being signed by a major label, A&M get a re-mastered re-releases on BGO complete with sleeve notes and all on one disc! After releasing four albums via the indie label Wooden Nickel and scoring chart success with ‘Lady’ Styx went up a level with ‘Equinox’. Just listen to the wonderful harmonies on ‘Lorelei’, still played live today by the band or ‘Mother Dear’ with the keyboard wizardry of Dennis de Young. A few songs miss the mark notably James Young token rocker ‘Midnight Ride’ but overall the first real essential Styx album in their catalogue.
The follow-up 1976’s ‘Crystal Ball’ saw John Curulewski leave to be replaced by Tommy Shaw, thus creating the classic line-up in many fans eyes. The album starts off with a band with ‘Put Me On’ featuring a heavy guitar, followed by the gentler ‘Mademoiselle’. ‘Jennifer’ is a solid track despite the rather dubious lyrical content about an affair with a 17 year old girl! The title track is the first real Tommy Shaw classic and a song he had from his previous band. It is classic Styx, big harmony filled chorus, lots of guitar and keyboard interplay but all driven by the band’s underlying belief that melody comes first. Dennis de Young shows off his early love of all things Broadway with the album closer ‘Clair De Lune/Ballerina’.
If you don’t have these two albums this is a great chance to get them and for those Styx fans still clinging onto their vinyl copies it is now time to upgrade! Along with ‘Grand Illusion’ these two albums show Styx in all their 70’s glory.


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