Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Styx - Regeneration vol. 1 and 2
Some would argue that the best days of Styx ran from the early 1970’s through their mega-hit 1983 album Kilroy Was Here. After that the band put out a few albums of new materially sporadically (in 1990, 1999, 2003 and 2005) along with a whole slew of live concert and compilations of classic tracks.
The band, however, has far from called it quits. Yes, the line-up has shifted some over the years (most noticeably with the departure of Dennis DeYoung) but Styx continues to tour and perform to eager audiences. In a lot of ways, they have been in a state of regeneration for the last couple of decades.
In 2010, the current line-up of Styx (Tommy Shaw, James Young, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips and Todd Sucherman) put out a seven song EP that was sold at concerts and on the band’s website. In October of 2011, they added a second disk with nine additional songs to create Regeneration: volumes 1 and 2 which is available in many retail outlets.
Disk one offers new recordings of such classic tracks as “The Grand Illusion”, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”, “Lorelei”, “Sing For the Day”, “Crystal Ball” and “Come Sail Away”. It also features a new track called “Difference In the World”, a song about growing up and making something of one‘s life; I like that it has an old-school sound to it.
Disk two includes these Styx tunes: “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”, “Miss America”, “Renegade”, “Queen of Spades”, “Boat On the River”, “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Snowblind”. It also features two Damn Yankees’ tunes - “Coming of Age” and “High Enough“; Tommy Shaw spent some time in the 90‘s with that super-group along with Jack Blades, Michael Cartellone and Ted Nugent.
I had the opportunity to listen to this new collection of tracks this past weekend. Going into it, I knew this wasn’t going to be an exact recreation of those classic rock songs I have heard countless times over on album-oriented rock stations since the days of my youth in the 70‘s. And I wasn’t expecting that either. This is a group of musicians that have evolved over the last three decades. Each brings something to the table when it comes to playing these songs.
The arrangements are strong and the music sounds tight. The songs have a more focused view, less cosmic and trippy and more grounded and mature. The vocals are different from the originals but still very good. I am glad they stuck to the more traditional route rather than doing complete re-interpretations of the songs in newer or different styles. Many of these songs are rock mainstays for a reason. I feel that Styx is definitely a band that can still perform their catalog with their heads held high.