‘Citadel’ from Starcastle is one of the better commercial prog coming out of the USA during 1977, a super album for mine.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: PE 34935
CD REISSUE: 2009, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY051
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Terry Luttrell – vocals * Stephen Hagler – guitars * Matthew Stewart – guitars * Herb Schildt – keyboards * Gary Strater – bass * Stephen Tassler – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Shine On Brightly * 02 Shadows Of Song * 03 Can’t Think Twice * 04 Wings Of White * 05 Evening Wind * 06 Change In Time * 07 Could This Be Love * 08 Why Have They Gone
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Illinois outfit from Champaign were a commercial flavoured US version of Yes. Formed in the early 70’s, Starcastle pretty much did the normal thing by touring and playing the clubs/hits, but some tragic circumstances (ie: a road accident) changed the band’s direction, putting them on a path of progressive rock, ironically their original and intended direction.
Signed to Epic Records, Starcastle’s debut from 1976 was an indicator of things to come, lightweight ethereal prog rock with intricate musicianship and multi-part vocals. Following this a year later was ‘Fountains Of Light’ similar in approach and high on melody. The same year they released ‘Citadel’, a perfect foil and slight change in direction, this time taking a more commercial approach. Not a complete sell-out, but enough to convert their style of prog into radio oriented songs.
Helping the cause was producer Roy Thomas Baker, who followed this effort up with Journey‘s classic ‘Infinity’ as well as The Cars debut. Side One kicks off with ‘Shine On Brightly’, where keyboards, fantastic drumming and harmony vocals abound. The chorus emphasizes the latter. The melodies continue to flow on ‘Can’t Think Twice’ while ‘Wings Of White’ harks back to their Yes influences.
‘Evening Wind’ and ‘Change In Time’ are great keyboard dominated tracks, as is the superb ‘Why Have They Gone’. Another commercial effort is ‘Could This Be Love’, and really makes one wonder what would have happened if Starcastle continued in this fabulous commercial vein. This for me is the highlight of the album, one of the best records of 1977.
Unfortunately, their fourth and final album ‘Real To Reel’ did not live up to the promise and was poor by comparison. Starcastle broke up not long after. The band members went off in their separate directions, with Herb Schildt becoming a well known Computer Author and Guru in the C C+ computer language with several books published.
Good news arrived in 2000 when the band decided to reform, and a new album was reputedly in the wings, but it never eventuated. During the 2000-2004 years, the various band members were associated with other projects while the band were still trying hard to instigate a comeback. This was offset though by the untimely passing of Gary Strater in Sept 2004, from which the band finally decided to call it day.. permanently.
As a fitting tribute, During April 2009, ‘Citadel’ received a deserved re-release with all the bells and whistles afforded UK reissue specialists Rock Candy Records. It comes complete with remastering and an extensive essay/interview with Steve Hagler, this album NEEDS to be in your collection!