Equinox (1975)


1.Light Up 2.Lorelei 3.Mother Dear 4.Lonely Child 5.Midnight Ride 6.Born For Adventure 7.Prelude 12 8.Suite Madame Blue

 

For many fans, the story of the band actually starts with this record. A year prior to this release, a local (Chicago) radio station (with some gentle nudging from the band)rediscovered and resurrected Lady from Styx II. The song flopped on its initial release a few years prior, yet this time, flew all the way up to the top 5. That was the good news. Unfortunately, when you only have one hit single under your belt, people forget about you pretty quick - and that was exactly what happened with Styx. Dennis DeYoung, now convinced that he was right about what the band's direction should be, took control of the band. They got out of their record contract, fired their manager and signed with A&M records. It would be all uphill for the next several years.

DeYoung's presence is felt all over the album. He wrote and sang most of the material and kept the band firmly rooted in rock & roll. He starts off the album with Light Up a tune still familiar with the faithful. It's pretty racy stuff concerning the band has always maintained a pretty conservative image - especially DeYoung. It's light, happy and singable - as long as you have the aid of some mind altering substances. The next piece is the much stronger Lorelei co-written with James Young. This song is still played at many of the band's shows and amplifies what makes them great. Even Mother Dear sang by Curelewski is a pretty pleasant listen. Again, this one is co-written by DeYoung and by this point in the album, it was clear that the problem with the first four albums was definitely not the band, yet the production of the songs. Side one closes with another DeYoung gem, Lonely Child, which has now been all but forgotten but so much better than 99% of what the band had done prior to this.

Side Two kicks off with a hard - and I mean hard James Young rocker, Midnight Ride that is a rip off of all of the greatest early seventies bashers. They would never quite rock this hard again. Born for Adventure is next, and they wisely used this great piece to open shows for the next few years. Saving the best for last, Styx closes with another DeYoung epic Suite Madame Blue. This six and a half minute piece would rival the classic Styx sound - a slow melodic beginning building up to a great crescendo of screaming guitars, vocal harmonies and thundering tympanis. This would be DeYoung's first of many metaphors of the American culture, it was pretty hard to miss the point.

With this release under their belts, it was now time to hit the road, and it was hit hard. The band played over 200 shows per year for the next two years. People would soon take notice.



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