4 out of 5 Stars!
One of the seemingly forgotten Styx albums from the early days of the band’s career, Man of Miracles showed the group steadily heading in the direction that would eventually bring it fame and fortune.
The straightforward hard-rocking tunes (most featuring James Young on lead vocals) and the more melodic AOR and Pomp Rock tunes mixed with a generous amount of Prog Rock influences (usually with Dennis DeYoung on lead vocals), are rather evenly distributed. Some standout tracks include the heavier “Rock & Roll Feeling,” “Havin’ A Ball,” and “Southern Woman,” while the better AOR/Pomp Rock songs include “Christopher, Mr. Christopher,” “Evil Eyes,” and “Golden Lark.” Yet to me, the best tunes included here are, undoubtedly, the most Prog-oriented ones, “A Song for Suzanne” and the glorious title track. And despite the numerous styles on Man of Miracles (or, for that matter, the majority of early Styx albums, up until around 1978’s Pieces of Eight), the group nevertheless sounds cohesive, with the “juggling of musical styles” quite balanced, which proved a band hallmark.
Although Man of Miracles didn’t include any “hits,” I found much of the material easily digestible and ended up playing the album rather often through the years, more so than many of the group’s later “hit-oriented” collections.
Although the next album, Equinox, would become the first to truly catapult the band to loftier heights, Man of Miracles proved itself a worthy and solid launching pad.