Heritage acts–bands who had hits a number of years ago but can still draw a crowd playing their old music–face a conundrum. As active musicians they want to keep creating new music and playing it for audiences, but people really come to their concerts to hear their old hits. Styx is one of those bands. Formed in the early 1970s, their string of albums from 1977 to 1981 were huge hits.
Their latest album, Crash of the Crown, has just what fans of the old band are looking for: soaring vocal harmonies, an arena rock sound and catchy melodies. Even though more than half the current band were not on the albums that made Styx famous, the classic sound of the band remains intact. (Band veterans James “JY” Young, Chuck Panozzo and Tommy Shaw remain.)
Their three tenor vocalists take turns singing lead on the fifteen tracks on the album, but it is harmonies that really tell the story of this band. The voices are stacked on top of one another over and over to create a thick wall of vocals, which is their signature sound.
While not particularly deep, their lyrics project positivity, fitting well with their arena rock arrangements. In “Our Wonderful Lives,” for example, they sing “We won’t give in yet, we shall not forget, we still have our wonderful lives.” Crash of the Crown is a fun album that should please old Styx fans and even attract some new ones. (Universal Music Enterprises)