Dennis DeYoung — 26 East, Volume 1
We finally get some new music this week. Frontiers Music released a bunch of records to break the COVID-19 induced drought including a new release from Dennis DeYoung. The former Styx vocalist/keyboardist follows up his appearance on the latest Jim Peterik album with a new ten song effort titled “26 East, Volume 1”. And for the record, yes, there is supposed to be a Volume 2 in the future.
DeYoung’s on again, off again relationship with Styx is definitely off right now. The new record has a little bit of everything that you’d expect from DeYoung and even a throwback to “Paradise Theatre”.
The album starts off as what can only be described as a Styx-like intro and opening track, “East of Midnight”. It’s got all of those classic 70s Styx elements. The orchestration, the gang vocals, the dramatic, almost Broadway like quality that Styx was known for. DeYoung sounds like he hasn’t missed a beat.
“With All Due Respect” is a strange one. DeYoung gets quite political with a not so subtile swipe at our current president/political situation. It caught me a little off guard. I didn’t expect to hear DeYoung get so political.
“Run For The Roses” begins with mostly piano and vocals but slowly builds. It’s got that epic kind of feel. Kind of reminds me of a Queen track.
“Damn That Dream” is back to that late 70s Styx sound. I appreciate that DeYoung ventures into multiple styles. I may not be a huge fan of all of them, but it’s a good picture of who he is as a musician.
“Unbroken” sounds as much like a Survivor song as it does a Styx song. I don’t have the songwriting credits but I’d feel pretty safe in assuming Jim Peterik had something to do with this track. I do like this one.
“The Promise Of This Land” is another one of those Styx-type epic tracks. It has distinct movements that build upon each other. Another one that Styx fans will surely enjoy.
“The Good Olde Days” features Julian Lennon on a duet with DeYoung. The two sing together instead of trading off which works well. It’s definitely more of a Lennon-sounding song than Styx.
The album ends with “A.D. 2020” which is a nice ode to Paradise Theatre. That same tune that opens and closes Paradise Theatre is reworked with new lyrics. It makes me want to listen to Paradise Theatre again.
I like what DeYoung has done here. “East 26, Volume 1” is a good representation of who Dennis DeYoung is. It may not all by my style, but it comes off to me as the album DeYoung wanted to make.
I believe any DeYoung fan will be happy and fans of late 70s/early 80s Styx should enjoy it as well.
85 out of 100
1. East Of Midnight *
2. With All Due Respect
3. A Kingdom Ablaze
4. You My Love
5. Run For The Roses *
6. Damn That Dream
7. Unbroken *
8. The Promise Of This Land *
9. To The Good Old Days
10. A.D. 2020 *