How many bands can get away with recording 13 rock classics and be successful? I think you can probably count them on one hand. Styx is one band that has the experience and talent to pull it off in compelling fashion. They do exactly that with their new release Big Bang Theory. Rush did it last year so I guess it was their turn.
What could be a better way to start the proceedings than with a live version of the classic Beatles tune "I Am The Walrus." They are simply superb, replicating the tune with incredible energy vocally and instrumentally. The chops of JY and Tommy Shaw are innovative to give it a modern fresh tone. "I Can See For Miles" is wonderful as well, they do The Who proud. The Blind Faith gem "Can't Find My Way Home" will find a place in your old rock 'n' roll heart as Tommy Shaw's high vocal style emulates Steve Winwood's quite well. My favorite is the rockin' "Locomotive Breath." JY was the perfect choice to sing this instantly recognizable rocker from prog-rock heavyweights Jethro Tull. JY always had the more hard-edged voice in the band so this was an obvious choice. "I Don't Need No Doctor" is a real kick in the pants, Steve Marriot has to be smiling upon them for this rendition. The force is with them on this tune; they dig down deep and take a page out of the book that fits the tried and tested mold of the "Hot 'n Nasty" spirit that the great Humble Pie built their reputation on. The songs that do not work so well are "Summer In The City" and "Salty Dog." The vocals are off kilter but the musicianship remains solid as usual. There is new version of "Blue Collar Man" for the faithful to enjoy. It is a few notches down on the velocity scale but definitely a real keeper.
Some fans may be disappointed if they were looking for more of the music that Cyclorama delivered. After all these years its due time the boys had some fun and paid tribute to their influences. After all, they would not be were they are today without them. I really enjoyed the album and I think most of the tracks are excellent. Styx remains energized throughout this session and their distinct sound has their stamp on every track. This CD is for all the rock and roll fans that loved 60s and 70s rock and for those that need to discover it.
Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
is a veteran syndicated music critic, his reviews appear in over 35 publications
world-wide. To read more of Keiths work visit muzikreviews.com