Styx - Brave New World

Year of Release: 1999
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: 085-21422 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:41:00

Like no other band, Styx has always understood how to mix progressive rock with a fair share of commercial elements, witnessed by worldwide hits such as "Sing For The Day," "Babe" and "Boat On The River." Suddenly it was all over, as each member of the band felt the urge to start a solo career. Apparently reason returns with age because after the successful reunion from '96 had been closed with the live album Return To Paradise, the triumvirate of Shaw, Young, DeYoung strikes back with the album Brave New World based on the book by Aldous Huxley. [Well, the title is at least -ed.]

After a total of 25 million albums sold, the new album lets us witness a reborn Styx filled with diversity, rhythms and atmospheres. The high pitched vocals are back in action so we might even consider calling the band the "symphonic Bee Gees!" Also, during their Crystal Ball, The Grand Illusion and especially Pieces Of Eight, Cornerstone and Paradise Theatre periods, the band has always shown a huge interest in the latest studio techniques. Of course, the band has once again used the latest technologies, which results in a fantastic sounding album. Bombastic pomp-rock with one foot in AOR and the other in the glory days of symphonic rock, traced by agreeable harmonies, and a perfect balance between electric and acoustic guitars that are sort of the Styx trademark. When the guitar almost sounds like a mandolin and the voice is almost out of a musical then you know that "While There's Still Time" is entitled to its fair share of radio airplay.

Certainly these guys haven't forgotten how to write "catchy" songs. Especially the "ballad" seems to have been invented by Styx. Just listen to the wonderful "Fallen Angel" for example, a song that suddenly changes from a rhythmic point of view and could easily have been written by Billy Joel.

The swirling "Everything Is Cool' sounds, if you listen carefully to the chords, like a speeded version of Jethro's "Locomotive Breath." "Great Expectations" uses the kind of rhythms which are often associated with the likes of Toto and sometimes also Steely Dan (some 'hidden 'reggae, just as in "High Crimes & Misdemeanors" which has been subtitled "Hip Hop-Cracy" by one of the boys). The guitar pyrotechnics in "Heavy Water" are as if this were a band of 16-year-olds that have just received their very first Fender guitar! With the fifties rock'n roll of "Just Fell In' and the once again Billy Joel-like "Goodbye Roseland," we reach the end of the album with the reprise of "Brave New World."

The name Styx remains synonymous with both variation and music that crosses both pop and Broadway musical forms, a wave that they, and they alone, surf. Give them enough leeway to continue for many years to come so in the end we might indeed have a Brave New World!

I Will Be Your Witness (4:31) / Brave New World (5:14) / While There's Still Time (3:53) / Number One (4:33) / Best New Face (3:36) / What Have They Done To You (4:33) / Fallen Angel (4:49) / Everything Is Cool (5:19) / Great Expectations (4:44) / Heavy Water (4:29) / High Crimes and Misdemeanors (Hip Hop-Cracy) (3:26) / Just Fell In (3:25) / Goodbye Roseland (3:49) / Brave New World (Reprise) (3:31)

James Young - guitars and vocals
Dennis DeYoung - keyboards and vocals
Tommy Shaw - guitars, keyboards, vocals, sampling, programming and sequencing
Chuck Panozzo - bass
Todd Sucherman - drums and percussion

Styx (1972)
Styx II (1973)
The Serpent Is Rising (1974)
Man Of Miracles (1974)
Equinox (1976)
Crystal Ball (1976)
The Grand Illusion (1977)
The Best Of Styx (1977)
Pieces Of Eight (1978)
Best Of Styx (1979)
Cornerstone (1980)
Miracles (1980)
Paradise Theatre (1981)
Kilroy Was Here (1983)
Caught In The Act - Live (1984)
Classics, Vol 15 (1987)
Edge Of The Century (1990)
A&M New Gold Series (1990)
Fan Box Set (1991)
Greatest Hits (1995)
Greatest Hits II (1996)
Return To Paradise (1997)
The Best Of Times: The Best Of Styx (1997)
Lady: Encore Collection (1998)
Brave New World (1999)
Best Of Styx (1999)
Arch Allies - Live At Riverport (2000)
Extended Versions (2000)
Singles Collection (2000)
Styxworld Live 2001 (2001)
Yesterday & Today (2001)
20th Century Master - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Styx (2002)
Cyclorama (2003)
Rockers (2003)
Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology (2004)
Big Bang Theory (2005)
The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings (2005)
Chronicles (2005)
Gold (2006)
One With Everything (2006)
Best Of Styx: Green Series (2008)
Legends Of Rock (2008)
Caught In The Act: Live (2009)

Caught In The Act (VHS) (1991)
Return To Paradise (VHS) (1997)
Arch Allies: Live At Riverport (VHS/DVD) (2000)
20th Century Masters - The DVD Collection: The Best Of Styx (DVD) (2004)
One With Everything (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 989
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]