STYX – Equinox [Japanese remaster SHM-CD Limited Edition]
Someone asked for the quality of the Japanese nine-album cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue series of STYX on high quality SHM-CD. In one word; outstanding.
All were released a couple years ago, but it was a Limited Edition and already turned out of print.
These really worth a revisit as all are essential STYX albums – Let’s start with “Equinox“.
This reissue campaign starts with “Equinox”, Styx’s first release for A&M Records (with whom they signed earlier in 1975, after the unexpected success of the single ‘Lady’).
For many people, this is where Styx begins.
Before the bombastic ballads of the ’80s but after the aimless instrumental wanderings of the first three albums, the classic period of Styx produced some of classic rock’s greatest and most pretentious Rock songs. Along with Kansas, Journey and REO Speedwagon, Styx fused progressive rock, classic rock and melodic pop in a way that dumbed down radio, but sold millions of albums.
“Equinox”, however, is a stepping stone from the old days to the new, and hints of future Styx are found in the eight tracks here.
The album is short, a little over half an hour, but all songs are very good (three were hits and two should have been).
“Light Up” and “Lorelei” start off the album pleasantly, with some happy synthesizer work; the former has a chugging rhythm in the middle that sounds great, while the latter has some great harmonies. “Lorelei” was the album’s biggest hit, Styx’s second US Top 30 hit.
“Lonely Child” is really atmospheric, before a great bass riff propels “Born for Adventure,” along with some sharp drumming, while “Midnight Ride” is quite enjoyable as well.
The algum highlights are, though, the short but pretty “Prelude 12” and “Suite Madame Blue,” a multi-part moody number that starts with a five-chord arpeggio before the drums come thundering in, which leads to an inspired middle eight with everyone singing “America” at different times before the bombastic finish.
The track was written about the upcoming Bicentennial of the US, and became a staple for all Styx tours with Dennis DeYoung.
“Equinox” marked the final appearance of original Styx guitarist John Curulewski who left the band abruptly following the release of the LP. The band went into a frantic search to find a replacement for their upcoming tour to support “Equinox”. Soon after, they found the awesome Tommy Shaw.
These Japanese cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissues of STYX on SHM-CD sound awesome. Especially the very first albums, like this “Equinox”.
This album sowed the seeds for what was to come, and is interesting to hear as a snapshot of a band ready to hit the big time. Additionally, “Suite Madame Blue” is perhaps the best song the group ever composed.
Universal Japan ~ [Japan LTD Mini LP SHM-CD] UICY-93919
01 – Light Up
02 – Lorelei
03 – Mother Dear
04 – Lonely Child
05 – Midnight Ride
06 – Born For Adventure
07 – Prelude 12
08 – Suite Madame Blue
Dennis DeYoung – Vocals, Synthesizer, Keyboards
John Curulewski – Guitar, Synthesizer, Vocals
Chuck Panozzo – Bass, Vocals
James Young – Guitar, Vocals
John Panozzo – Drums, Percussion, Vocals