Styx
Big Bang Theory


4.0
excellent

Review

by lessthanderek123 USER (3 Reviews)
March 15th, 2006 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Styx has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1961. There have been many members coming and going from the band and many clashing styles on their albums. Tommy Shaw and James Young always leaned towards good ol' rock while Dennis DeYoung (who is no longer with the band) was more about making poppy vocal songs. On their most recent studio release, Big Bang Theory, all traces of DeYoung are gone and Styx returns to their roots.

The Current Styx Lineup:
Tommy Shaw - Guitars, Vocals
James "J.Y." Young - Guitars, Vocals
Lawrence Gowan - Keyboards, Synths, Vocals
Ricky Phillips - Bass, Backing Vocals
Todd Succherman - Drums

This album was started when Styx performed I Am the Walrus at Eric Clapton's 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival. The band was so inspired that they decided to go into the studio and cut a CD of covers. It's sort of tough to review a CD full of covers, because it is not the band's original work, but I will try my best.

The album starts off with a live version of I Am the Walrus. This is clearly one of the highlights on the album. Lawrence Gowan does an amazing vocal job on the song. This song is a strong way to start off the album, especially with the powerful drumming.

Next is I Can See For Miles. This song is virtually the same as The Who?s version. It is solid, but it's nothing extra spectacular.

The third track on the CD is excellent. Tommy Shaw's voice suits Can't Find My Way Home perfectly. He sings the song with such ease and comfort. Overall it is a nice acoustic song and the guitars are solid.

The next song worth noting is I Don't Need No Doctor. This is yet another great vocal performance from Lawrence Gowan, who really shines on this CD. This song is closely related to the Humble Pie cover of the song, but it isn't an exact replica. It probably could have done without the chuckling in the middle, but it doesn't take away from the song at all. This song shows a solid performance from every member of the band.

One Way Out is another song that has been covered before. Styx's version isn't better than the Allman Brothers, but it is still fantastic. One doesn't think of Tommy Shaw as a blues singer, but he does a pretty decent job on this song. And of course, the solo section in the middle between Shaw and Young is great.

Track 7 really slows down the album. It is A Salty Dog, a Procol Harum cover. I've said it once and I'll say it again: Lawrence Gowan is amazing on this album. This is a great ballad and Gowan does a superb job on the vocals.

Next up is my personal favorite on the album, Summer In the City. Styx totally reinvents a poppy song. Tommy Shaw is good vocally and I absolutely love his guitar work on this song (especially the intro and outro).

I would steer clear of the next song. I'm not sure why, but J.Y. doesn't do his greatest vocal work on this album. Manic Depression is good, but it doesn't come anywhere near Hendrix (of course).

Locomotive Breath is J.Y.'s only good song on this CD. His voice perfectly suits the song. He has the dark quality of his voice to make this song effective. Shaw's guitar is outstanding on this song, and his solo could kick the crap out of any flute from Jethro Tull. I like the Jethro Tull original, but I love the Styx cover.

A few of the songs at the end of the album aren't anything special, so I will skip to Wishing Well. This is an excellent cover of the Free song. Shaw does great with the vocals and the backing vocals are excellent on this song. I love the soul that this song has along with the great guitar work.

The only song on the album that is a Styx song is Blue Collar Man @ 2120. If you have heard any of Styx's hits from the late 70's, you have probably heard Blue Collar Man. It is one of my favorite Styx songs, but the band takes a different approach to it on this album. They add a blues piano and slow the song down into a blues song. I was skeptical at first, but after listening to the song more than once, I came to like it.

Highlights:
I Am The Walrus
Can't Find My Way Home
Summer In The City
Locomotive Breath
Wishing Well

Not Quite As Great:
It Don't Make Sense (You Can't Make Peace)
Manic Depression
Find The Cost Of Freedom

Overall this album is great. Even though Styx has gone back to the roots and has done a cover album, they have still picked a diverse selection of songs to cover. Shaw showcases his generally underrated guitar playing on this album, but Lawrence Gowan steals the show in my opinion. It is tough for him because when the band performs live he has to sing all of Dennis DeYoung's old songs in DeYoung's style, but on this album his own style shines through and man does he have some talent. One of the more subtle stars of the album is Todd Succherman. His drumming is not obnoxious and his fills are well placed. He has proved to be an excellent replacement for the late John Panozzo. Ricky Phillips's bass doesn't really stand out on the album, but he is a solid player. James Young, who is the only original member of the band left, plays guitar well on this album, but I don't really care for his vocals much (except for Locomotive Breath, that song rocks!).

Rating: 4/5 A majority of the album is outstanding, but there are a few songs that drag the album down a little. Cover albums are usually skippable, but this is an exception.


user ratings (23)
Chart.
2.5
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
March 15th 2006


13228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this album quite a bit. The "I am the Walrus" cover is supreme.

The Jungler
March 15th 2006


4827 Comments


You knocked my Oh My God reveiw out of the top 5
The reveiw was okay, but I'm having trouble believing that a Styx cover album deserves a 4.5. I bought their greatest hits after hearing Renegade and was horribly disapointed.

lessthanderek123
March 15th 2006


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I saw that there wasn't any, so I decided to put this on.

A 4.5 may be a bit much, but this CD was a nice surprise. I'm slightly biased because my parents had Styx on all the time when I was little. I get where you're coming from, though. It is a cover album, but in my opinion they pull it off well.This Message Edited On 03.15.06

The Jungler
March 15th 2006


4827 Comments


Ok, thats cool.
I deffiently am gonna check out that I am the Walrus cover.This Message Edited On 03.15.06

ShrubHavingCoffee
March 15th 2006


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a veery good album I enjoy it alot. Totaly right, nice review.

lessthanderek123
March 15th 2006


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, shrubhavingcoffee. Real Men of Genius, good times. Have fun on this website, it's pretty cool.

ShrubHavingCoffee
March 15th 2006


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol dude it's your brother

lessthanderek123
March 15th 2006


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know, I'm not stupid

ShrubHavingCoffee
March 15th 2006


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh ok

JohnXDoesn't
March 16th 2006


1287 Comments


Nice enough review, but I find this to be a dismal recording by a band who has always been hit and miss in the first place. With a good amount of that output being miss.

This album of covers by STYX stinks. Better to leave well enough alone, stick to the originals, and avoid this souless slab of poo like the plague.

EDIT: It won't let me rate the album at the moment, but this gets a 1.5 from me.This Message Edited On 03.16.06

lessthanderek123
March 16th 2006


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Judging by everything the band has done since 1983, this is their best album in a while. It is really a different band on this album than on their 70's and 80's stuff. In fact there are virtually no traces of that band on this album.



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