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Picks and Pans Review: Paradise Theater

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Styx

The Chicago-based quintet has chosen an old theater on Polaski Road as the central metaphor for a thematic collection of 10 new tunes. The real-life edifice opened in A.D. 1928 (the album’s lead song) and was a conspicuous showplace for drama and glamor until it was closed because of financial problems in A.D. 1958 (the ultimate tune). Besides the fact that the concept is hardly an original one, the project sinks under the weight of fey ballads, uninspired guitar instrumentals and mundane lyrics (“Nothing ever goes as planned/It’s a hell of a notion/Even Pharaohs turn to sand/Like a drop in the ocean”). Also please save us from more cocaine songs like the dreary Snowblind. The album is technically well crafted and the vinyl itself attractively etched with prismatic designs, but that can hardly redeem this stygian version of paradise.