Styx - Cyclorama

Styx – Cyclorama


Styx deliver fourteen tracks – a great deal of listening to be had. Some tracks are awesome, while some, well, I’m sure I’ll talk about them another day.

Written by: gdmonline

ALBUM: Cyclorama
LABEL: Sanctuary Group
YEAR: 2003
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Tommy Shaw – vocals, guitars * James Young – guitars, vocals * Larry Gowan – vocals, keyboards * Glen Burtnik – guitars, vocals * Chuck Panozzo – bass * Todd Sucherman – drums

TRACK LISTING: Do Things My Way * 02 Waiting For Our Time * 03 Fields Of The Brave * 04 Bourgeois Pig * 05 Kiss Your Ass Goodbye * 06 These Are The Times * 07 Yes I Can * 08 More Love For The Money * 09 Together * 10 Fooling Yourself (Palm Of Your Hand) * 11 Captain America * 12 Killing The Thing That You Love * 13 One With Everything * 14 Genki Desu Ka



Well I’ll admit it, I’m a die-hard Styx fan, but I’m also a fan with a problem. How can I continue being a fan when they haven’t released anything half decent since 1978’s ‘Pieces Of Eight’? All of their albums since then have been ‘hit and miss’, and yes, I have them all and I critique them regularly.

The drama initially unfolded with the Dennis DeYoung departure in 1984, plus the various comings and goings of band members since then didn’t help, and all of this riding on the back of a hugely disappointing last studio album ‘Brave New World’. The signs did not look good.

Added to this, their glory days era contemporaries who released product in 2002 all suffered abysmal failures at the box office. Toto, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Boston in particular, all bombing out big-time. So along comes Styx in 2003. Whats the verdict?

Admittedly, not a great deal different to these ears, plus, something just doesn’t sit quite right. The musical creativity that these guys once had has either disappeared out the door with Mr DeYoung (it was his band right?), or they’re writing music that just weren’t pressing the right buttons.

Sure, they might play big events like the Superbowl, but their dabble into modern rock is as pointless as a guppy with fangs. Why bother when people can hear superior offerings from the latest bands on the market? It’s clear the band are also trying to hold true to the trademark elements which endured them to many fans in the past. Those keyboard riffs so much a part of Dennis DeYoung’s ivory arsenal are faithfully restored by Canadian import Larry Gowan.

Some of the tunes also hark back to that classic 1977-1979 period, with many hints of yesteryear floating across the soundscape. They even update the chestnut ‘Foolin’ Yourself’. But still when you hear it, you’re inclined to slap on the original versions of ‘The Grand Illusion’ or ‘Pieces Of Eight’ instead.

The Songs

Styx deliver fourteen tracks – a great deal of listening to be had. Some tracks are awesome, while some, well, I’m sure I’ll talk about them another day. Opener ‘Do Things My Way’ is hardly an inspiring start, a part rock/part pop effort which stutters unconvincing. ‘Waiting For Our Time’ is decidedly missing that ‘stickability factor’. The vocal harmonies on the chorus could’ve been better, and the song quite frankly goes nowhere (where’s the solo Tommy?).

Surely ‘Fields Of The Brave’ has nicked the guts right out of the The Beatles somewhere along the way? ‘Kiss Your Ass Goodbye’ is their blatant flip at modern pop, and obviously with Glen Burtnik in the lineup this song comes to life, though it probably would’ve sounded better on one of his solo albums. ‘These Are The Times’ starts out rather poorly, but thankfully has life breathed into it by the time we get to the chorus and solo sections.

The acoustic ballad ‘Yes I Can’ is quaint and pleasant enough I suppose, while the other ballad ‘Killing The Thing That You Love’, though heavy on dramatics similarly does little to impress. However, the track ‘One With Everything’ is a highlight! Impressive melodies and the keyboard solos from Larry really do stand out, as does the tight drumming from Todd Sucherman. Man, why couldn’t the whole album be as good as this one track? Oh well.

In Summary

I have followed the Styx caravan since 1976, so it’s not as if I’m new to these guys. ‘Cylcorama’ despite its good intentions doesn’t quite hit the mark, but it was 2003 after all, and it wasn’t the worst album committed to the Styx Canon of works. Maybe the dangly carrot on the album cover was too much of a giveaway?


At One With Everything

One With Everything

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