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Starcastle: Fountains Of Light

Hot on the heels of their 1976 self titled debut, Starcastle sought to capitalise on the positive reviews they had garnered by releasing album number two Fountains Of Light less than a year later. Actually, at the time that was what bands did, with record companies expecting bands to churn out new records at an amazing rate, for some it proved too much, but at this early stage in their career, Starcastle were more than up to the task. That debut album had quite blatantly plundered the box marked "prog in the style of Yes", but there was also a more American outlook added with hints of Kansas and a stronger helping of Styx ensuring that Starcastle weren't quite the Yes clone the lazy music historians will have you believe. Having said that, the keyboards work of Herb Schildt, the bass playing of Gary Strater and voice of Terry Luttrell (ex REO Speedwagon) do strongly rely on Wakeman, Squire and Anderson for inspiration, but when the results are this convincing, then does that really matter?

Opening with the uncompromising prog meets melody of "Fountains", the album gets off on the right foot and as the ten minute long song winds its way through complex, yet upbeat passages, it becomes an almost irresistible combination. Luttrell really has the capability to mesmerise with his tone and delivery and while he was brought right to the forefront of the Starcastle sound, by no means does he overshadow it. Following that mini epic comes five considerably shorter, but no less impressive songs, with the bright and airy "Dawning Of The Day" allowing the arranging skills of the band to shine through, while their producer of the time Roy Thomas Baker (Queen) adds a little (possibly too much in all honesty) sparkle to proceedings. The keyboards really do rule, especially when you consider that this was a twin guitar band, however Matthew Stuart and Stephen Hagler's six string work is still an integral part of what is going on here. "Silver Winds" continues in the same style, before "True To The Light" adds even more pomp to the Starcastle sound. Schildt is in absolutely imperious from as he conducts and marshals all the other instruments in impressive fashion, and the layers of vocals are simply sublime. This really is prog at its most accessible, but flashy best. The album is then rounded out by the more restrained, if catchy "Portraits", which also contains some of the standout guitar work on the album and "Diamond Song (Deep Is The Lght)", which with its Styx like chorus and multi-vocal parts hints at the more commercial vibe that the band would illustrate on the Citadel album, which amazingly followed this album, later in the same year.

Often forgotten, or indeed dismissed when classic prog bands are discussed Starcastle were and are a band thoroughly worthy of investigation. If catchy, lighter and pompous progressive music is your thing, you won't be disappointed!


Track Listing
1. Fountains
2. Dawning Of The Day
3. Silver Winds
4. True To The Light
5. Portrait
6. Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light)

Added: June 4th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: ItsAboutMusic.com
Hits: 1468
Language: english

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