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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jun 23rd, 2021

Dennis DeYoung: 26 East, Vol.2.  

Dennis DeYoung
26 East, Vol.2.
(FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL)

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26 East, Vol.2. marks former Styx frontman/vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Dennis DeYoung’s retirement. Thinking he was done with his “Vol.1” released last year, DeYoung simply wrote too many songs for a single album, so came to spread his goodbye over two volumes, this last, reported to be his final step away from recorded music.

Big drums, bouncy keys, and DeYoung name-dropping influences starts us off on “Land Of The Living.” As even a half-ass vintage rock fan would know, DeYoung can write/sing and play solid sing-a-long pop hits as well as render fine ballads, and across these twelve, we get both. From the hokey, but rockin’ “The Last Guitar Hero,” featuring Tom Morello, as well as sweet moments like “Your Saving Grace” and “Proof Of Heaven,” DeYoung’s songsmith work here is as top notch as his voice. The Michael Manson Gospel Group on “Your Saving Grace” makes the tune one of the gems.

“The Isle Of Misanthrope” is presented by a harpsichord sound, a very ‘proggy’ production, and DeYoung’s best vocal on this record, although, again, he’s singing great throughout.  And given this guy’s particular past, it should come as no surprise when DeYoung lifts the melody from Styx’s iconic “The Grand Illusion” to give us his last tune, “Grand Finale,” assuring us in a dramatic style that we are still “all the same.”

If this master musician, songwriter, and vocalist wants to go out with 26 East, Vol. 2. who can blame him? It’s a great last album, full-to-the-brim with all DeYoung has always given us.

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Dennis DeYoung: 26 East, Vol.2.