Thursday, August 28, 2008

STARCASTLE / STARCASTLE

Digitized from the original vinyl, released in 1976 on Epic Records.
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate: 320 kbps
ALBUM INFO:
Produced By: Tommy Vicari
Engineered By: Norm Kinney & Tommy Vicari
Recorded At: Golden Voice Studios, Pekin IL.
Mixed At: Sound Labs Inc. Los Angeles, California
Album Cover: Alex Ebel
TRACK LISTING:
Lady Of The Lake
Elliptical Seasons
Forces
Stargate
Sunfield
To The Fire Wind
Nova
All Song Written by Starcastle
THE PLAYERS:
Terry Luttrell – Lead Vocals
Gary Strater – Bass, Bass Pedals, Vocals
Stephen Tassler – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Herb Schildt – Keyboards
Matthew Stewart – Guitars, Vocals
Stephen Hagler – Guitars, Vocals
WEBSITE(S):
http://www.starcastlemusic.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starcastle
REVIEWS:
Evaluate them on their own merits, October 12, 2004
By Jeffrey J.Park (Massachusetts, USA) - (Amazon Customer Review)
Much to my surprise, I found the debut by this American band to be actually quite good. My surprise stems from the fact that everything that I have ever read mentions something to the effect that Starcastle is a Yes rip-off band. Although high pitched five-part vocal harmonies, positively excellent bass playing (on a trebly Rickenbacker bass no less), some agile Steve Howe-ish guitar playing, several thinly-veiled references to Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (Yes opened their shows with this piece), and Rick Wakeman-esque keyboard parts figure prominently, there is a discernible Starcastle quality to the music. In their defense, these guys had the ability to play music with great sophistication and possessed the compositional skills to write really interesting pieces of music. When you move past the superficial Yes trappings, the careful listener will realize that these compositions bear little semblance to any Yes piece written prior to the time of this release (1976). This is a great recording that deserves a bit more recognition and is certainly able to stand on it's own merits. For those folks that like Starcastle, the Italian band Cherry Five might also prove enjoyable.
================================
Yes, but when?, November 21, 2002
By Steven Marks "Prog Harpo" (Petaluma, CA United States) - (Amazon Customer Review)
A cursariary glance at the other reviews reveals that most people compare this band to Yes. I am a Yes-head (early 70s "classic period" mainly). I think it is a little unfair to call them a Yes-clone band. I can not take a single song on this album and say they ripped that off from any specific Yes song. I think they deserve to be judged on their own work. They have a great sense of composition and musicality; melody and counter melody in common with Yes.
I say "Yes, but when." If you want to compare this Yes - it is most like "The Yes Album" and "Fragile". "South Side of the Sky" comes to mind. They have an extra treble elctric guitar compared to Yes. Starcastle is more rock than Yes.
I give Starcastle a 4 Star review. I think they are good, but they are not at the level of 5 stars. 4 stars for me is a good rating. There are 3 songs in particular that I like:
1) Elliptical Sun
2) Forces
3) Nova.
Unlike a lot of prog, I did not have to listen multiple times to like these tunes. I liked them from the first listen.
With the exception of "our Lady" all songs have a "cosmic" connection - referring to comets; stars; etc. Songs 1) and 2) on my list have multiple parts and vocals. #3), "Nova" is all instrumental.
I came into this review not wanting to beat the Yes comparison to death; but it is hard to avoid. **The vocals are actually superior to Yes.** Anderson is the voice of Yes; the band is so talented that they have adjusted their music to fit his voice. But on a head to head comparision the vocals of Starcastle are very, very good. A very melodic voice.
"Forces" has multiple parts and the group has very good transitions between the parts. A lot of pop rock is only 3 minutes long to avoid difficult transitions. Starcastle can go to 7 to minutes with 4 parts with very good transitions. It is indeed my favorite song on the album. One transion had funky dual guitars leading the way.
"Nova" is total instrumental with heavy percussion - if you want a Yes comparision "White fish" (Not "the fish").
The percussion on the labum is straightforwarded. you will not find intricate time signatures and polyrithms here.
Good solid enjoyable prog rock ( YOU KNOW IT IS EARLY 70s - definatley not timeless ). 4 stars, not a 5 star masterpiece. Not a Yes clone, but Yes inspired.
CONTACT:
READ THIS for more information on this album.

2 Comments:

Blogger Camarillo Brillo said...

I thought i was the only one out there that knew this band. Never got around to digitizing this one, so a big thanks! Looking forward to listening to this for the 1st time in a long time...
Great write up too...
Thanks,
Come visit!

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 9:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Tom Eckels said...

Hey I was just there the other day and left a note on your "goodbye" post.
I got a ways to go before I get there but all good things have to come to an end sooner or later.

TC

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:21:00 AM EDT  

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