STYX – Crystal Ball [Japanese remaster SHM-CD Limited Edition]
Someone asked for the quality of the Japanese nine-album cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue series of STYX on high quality SHM-CD. In one word; outstanding.
All were released a couple years ago, but it was a Limited Edition and already turned out of print.
These really worth a revisit as all are essential STYX albums – Let’s go with “Crystal Ball“.
This reissue campaign starts with Styx’s releases for A&M Records, and “Crystal Ball” is the 2nd after the successful Equinox.
As if to make the transition between albums seamless as possible, Crystal Ball’s opener “Put Me On” sounds as if it could be a mash-up of the first two songs from the previous album, Light Up and Lorelei. This song could not be confused with any other band than Styx, so there is no doubt the inclusion of Tommy Shaw into the line-up worked great, although he only play guitar here.
Shaw takes the lead vocals on next track “Mademoiselle”, and his voice blends in effortlessly adding incredible depth to the already amazing harmonies in the group.
The boys in the band must have had plenty of confidence in Shaw, as they allowed him to contribute quite a bit compositionally and named this record after his outstanding penned piece “Crystal Ball”.
Styx merges here the edge of the finest English outfits with the commercial sensibilities of the most successful American bands. The songs are full of intelligent and interesting changes of direction, yet they’re always back on track in time for catchy choruses.
The instrumentation, particularly the dual guitars of James Young and Tommy Shaw, always seems on the verge of going out of control, giving the whole album an extra surge of excitement.
“Crystal Ball” was a showcase for Styx’s increased skill for crafting simple, catchy melodic rock hooks out of their bombastic sound. Perhaps not well known as their best selling albums, but “Crystal Ball” is excellent all way through.
These Japanese cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissues of STYX on SHM-CD sound awesome. Especially the very first albums, like this “Crystal Ball”.
Universal Japan ~ [Japan LTD Mini LP SHM-CD] UICY-93920
01 – Put Me On
02 – Mademoiselle
03 – Jennifer
04 – Crystal ball
05 – Shooz
06 – This Old Man
07 – Clair De Lune – Ballerina
Dennis DeYoung – Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals
James Young – Guitar, Vocals
Chuck Panozzo – Bass, Vocals
John Panozzo – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Tommy Shaw – Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Vocals