Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Fountains of Light
Genres: Pop, Rock
Domestic reissue of the prog rock outfit's second album, originally released in 1977 on Epic. The Yes-like group featured ex-REO Speedwagon vocalist Terry Lutrell & this acclaimed album features the FM radio hit 'Fountains... more »
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Domestic reissue of the prog rock outfit's second album, originally released in 1977 on Epic. The Yes-like group featured ex-REO Speedwagon vocalist Terry Lutrell & this acclaimed album features the FM radio hit 'Fountains'. Six tracks total. The All-Music Guide gave 'Fountains Of Light' four & a half stars (out of five possible), choosing it as their artist pick. Also includes the original cover art. 1998 Renaissance release.
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Last proggy outing for the band
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 07/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1977, this pleasant album of American symphonic prog finds the band covering territory similar to that found on the debut - Yes-influenced prog rock. My general impression of this album is that while they manage to work some "Yes-isms" into their compositions, Starcastle is successful at getting their own stamp on each composition. They did not for example, simply cobble together sections of every Yes tune released but wrote pieces on their own. In this regard, I have a lot of respect for the group-they wrote music that was difficult; it sounded good; and did not feature any hard rock or "boogie" elements - fusing hard rock and prog rock together made certain American prog bands active at the time (e.g., Kansas) sell records like hotcakes. I suppose that this approach to composition may at least partially explain why the core 1970s fanbase for the band did not extend appreciably further than the Midwestern U.S. Nowadays, this may be a different story though.
The lineup on the Fountains of Light album included Terry Luttrell (lead vocals); Herb Schildt (synthesizers, Hammond organ, piano, Oberheim sequencer); the late Gary Strater (Rickenbacker bass, moog pedals, vocals); Stephen Hagler (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals); Matthew Stewart (electric and acoustic guitars; and Stephen Tassler (drums, percussion, and vocals). All of the musicians are great and I especially appreciate Gary's thick trebly tone he gets out of his Rickenbacker bass - he was an excellent player very much in the Chris Squire school. Herb Schildt gets some nice synth tones, although he does seem to overuse the right hand arpeggios on the mini-moog that sound like something off of Close to the Edge (Yes, 1972). It is not too distracting though. The vocal harmonies are excellent though-these guys put a lot of effort into them and Terry's high pitched lead vocal shines through.
Musically the tunes feature high energy prog compositions that are heavy on melody and are actually very cheery and upbeat. This absence of darkness in their compositions most likely led to the disparaging "Yes-lite" comments fired at the band by their detractors. I for one don't mind the cheeriness at all...it is kind of refreshing. There are also a few quieter passages that feature acoustic instruments and spacy synthesizer parts that make for a nice dynamic contrast.
This particular version of the CD is not the greatest thing in the world but attempts to reproduce the original LP cover art and gatefold art. The sound quality is pretty good.
Around the time of the release of Fountains of Light, Starcastle was touring small venues and college campuses with arena rock bands like Journey and Foreigner providing support. Unfortunately, Fountains of Light would prove to be the last prog album by the band, after which they would (reluctantly) cave in to the record companies need for more commercial appeal with the release of Citadel, 1977, and the poorly received Real to Reel, 1978. Fountains of Light is recommended to those folks that are interested in exploring American progressive rock along with the eponymous debut album (1976). Other great American prog albums include a few by Kansas (Song for America, 1975; and Leftoverture, 1976)."