PE 33914 Starcastle
Produced by Tommy Vicari
Released on 1976
US CHART POSITION #95
Find it at GEMM
PE 33914 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

S tarcastle’s debut presents a band in desperate need of a mythology. The back cover offers this: the band loses all their equipment in an accident, guitarist Stephen Hagler breaks his back, and so they decide to give up years of playing other people’s hits in order to “realize their original dream without compromise.” Their original dream being, apparently, to sound exactly like Yes. The liner notes even allude to “a totally disciplined lifestyle,” suggesting that the Yes connection went deeper than the music. The good news is that Starcastle sounds like a lost Yes album (maybe very good news if you’ve been looking for a long time). In fact it’s an uncanny reproduction: vocalist Terry Luttrell sounds and writes like Jon Anderson, while the instruments lift little passages from Yes classics left and right (especially the synthesizers from Herb Schildt). Flash could, of course, lay claim to original inspiration because royal blood ran in its veins, yet even they played down the Yes connection by comparison. So what to make of Starcastle? Are they the next great white hope or the elephant in the room? Here’s where a minor mythology would come in awfully handy, so let’s say that when Yes went on hiatus in the mid-70s, their muse went in search of another band to inspire. Close your eyes, ignore the cheesy headshots of the band, and you’ll hear the same muse at work. If “Sunfield” had appeared on Fish Out of Water or “Forces” on Beginnings, I would have rallied around them in an instant. But in seeking out a second Yes for so many years I had my monkey’s paw comeuppance; that a band like Starcastle could approximate the magic of Yes somehow diminished my world. Then I realized what a very large world it truly is, that Starcastle is gravy to Yes’ original feast, and thanked the muse for increasing her original bounty. Among lost progressive relics, Starcastle is something of a jewel, a more fruitful pursuit than many shadowy names of low progressive legend. Noting that nature abhors a vacuum, if the gap between Relayer and Going For The One represents a void in you life, Starcastle might seem an unnatural stopgap but they don’t suck by any measure.

PE 33914 back cover PE 33914 lyric sleeve
PE 33914 back cover PE 33914 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. LADY OF THE LAKE    10:26
  2. ELLITPICAL SEASONS    4:24
  3. FORCES    6:24
  4. STARGATE    2:50
  5. SUNFIELD    7:40
  6. TO THE FIRE WIND    5:16
  7. NOVA    2:34

    All songs written by Starcastle

CREDITS

STEPHEN HAGLER -- guitars, vocals
TERRY LUTTRELL -- lead vocals
HERB SCHILDT -- organ, synthesizers, pianos
MATTHEW STEWART -- guitars, vocals
GARY STRATER -- bass guitar, bass pedals, vocals
STEPHEN TASSLER -- drums, percussion, vocals
Norm Kinney -- engineer
Tommy Vicari -- engineer
Ed Lee -- art direction
David Gulick -- photography
Alex Ebel -- illustration

return to STARCASTLE discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1976 Epic LP PE 33914 lyric sleeve
CAN 1976 Epic LP KE 33914 lyric sleeve
US   Epic CD EK 33914  

 

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