THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT
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Sergey Zhilkin (01.07.2001)
When listening to Alan Parsons Project albums I always feel that there's
something that Alan and Eric try to hide from me - wonderful melodies or
pompous codas and etc. Though, after a second glimpse, I noticed that the
guys just had nothing to hide! Most of their albums are built in the same
way - instrumental introduction, a moody and quiet track, 'angry' and 'serious'
rocker and etc. etc.... And when you finally get drove into their concept,
the albums ends! I always hated such jokes!
In fact, it's all due to the fact that our poor fellows just don't have much talent. Sure, they can write hooks (sometimes generic, but that doesn't mean they are necessary bad - just look at 'You lie with the dogs' off Eve) and even great melodies (the good half of I robot) but about 40% of their material is pure filler... Do they worth much money? No, I suppose, - I myself managed to buy almost all their catalouge for 10$ (second-hand disks of my friend, to be true). And you can flame me if you don't agree but I'll say - they've never released a good album since Eye in the sky. And beloved by fans 'Try anything once' is ..err, how do you say it in Russia? Kakashka? Right, kakashka.
I was really quite surprised to find this one in your reviews. I must
say that '(The System Of) DR Tarr and Professor Fether' wasn't only a hit
in Britain but a minor one here in the United States. Toward the end of
the summer of 1976, I kept hearing it on top 40 pop radio and is how I
got introduced to the song. My reaction was WOW! This is great! Who is
this? What's the name of this song? But as it would happen neither song
nor title were announced. Strange, they would always make sure to announce
any Abba, Bay City Rollers or Bee Gees song. Think maybe American radio
programmers short shrifted the success of that first Alan Parsons single?
I finally discovered who and what when it was playing at this downtown Magnavox store which also sold records. The clerk there complained that the record was ten years behind the times (it was a concept album y'know) and tried to steer me to the Doobie Brothers' latest.
After discovering the album artist and title I said 'no thanks' and bought the Tales Of Mystery and Imagination at a different store. Boy was I glad I got this record. It struck me personally because I'm a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe as well as the Gothic in general and I had just gotten back from a trip to Austria and visited several castles. It all made an incredible experience for a first listen to this disc. Those of you in Europe may not understand the impression left on some Americans who come in contact with architecture that is over 500 years old.
From the first notes fading into 'A Dream Within a Dream' through the final admittedly Floydish ballad I was hooked. I discovered that there were better tracks than 'DR Tarr.' 'Cask Of Amontillado,' 'The Raven' and 'Tell Tale Heart' are remarkable. Although I found out years later that they pronounced Amontillado wrong either through ignorance or to keep meter correct.
I found 'Fall Of the House Of Usher' to be absolutely fascinating the way it progresses. I agree there's probably a bit of Tchaikofsky in there as well as Bach, Beethoven and Wagner. But I think it relies heaviest on Debussy. It may take a couple of listens to absorb it all.
Tales Of Mystery and Imagination became a perfect soundtrack to my memories of Europe. It was also a signpost for the end of my days as a single 45 rpm buying teenager.
If you like this album you might try out Alan Parsons produced debut album by Ambrosia.
PS. Between the two mixes, the original wins hands down. The differences between them are more than minimal. Parsons made a big mistake by tampering with the original mix. It was as if Mr. Parsons was trying to make a faceless eighties album out of it. The only thing good about the remix is that it includes introductions from Orson Wells. But I think the music speaks for itself.
Uh, this isn't music related, but 'Tell Tale Heart' is one of Poe's LESSER stories? It's hardly one of my personal favorites, but in America it's pretty much his most famous and instantly recognizable, like it or not.
Bob Josef (02.08.2004)
One of the Project's two best albums, it has an incredibly strong first
side. A big expansive sound, a good synthesis of pop and prog ideas. "..Dr.Tarr.."
was indeed a Top 40 single, probably due to that gimmicky, but catchy,
distorted vocal on the chorus. Arthur Brown (as in Crazy World of..) handles
the vocals on "Tell-Tale Heart", and he was the perfect choice
to depict the insanity of the character. It's impressive how Parsons was
able to convince so many of his ex-clients (including members of Ambrosia
and Pilot, who were, basically, absorbed into the Project to create some
sort of sonic consistency through following albums). The "..Usher.."
suite is interesting in places, but it's a bit fillerish -- I could have
used a couple of additional vocal numbers inserted into the piece.
Still, I agree with the four star rating totally -- a must-have.
It's interesting that you describe the album as "electronic", since, as Parsons describes in the liner notes, no "electronic" (as opposed to "electric") instruments (as in synths or drum machines) on the album at all! As for the new CD mix, it really isn't a big deal - just a few isolated keyboards and guitar overdubs in a couple of places, and Welles's narration. Noticeable if you've heard the LP mix, but hardly intrusive, despite what the purists say.
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
I was interested to read Bob Josef’s comments above about there being
no “electronic” instruments. I don’t really understand how many of the
textures were created without synthesisers, unless they were electronically
treated guitars. In the end I have refrained from using the term synthesiser
even if I am not certain about this. About ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ I can
only assume that it is the most popular Poe story in American culture along
with ‘The Raven’. I say this because Australian culture is similar, and
‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Raven’ would be the only two that are well
This is a good album and a great way for the Project to start. Too bad things could only go down from here. The first side is great while the second side is so-so. The classical suite is a little too long and simply not interesting enough for me. It seems as though the even numbered movements are the best, ‘II Arrival’ contains the fortuitous storm occurring outside the studio, ‘IV Pavane’ is quite diverse featuring acoustic guitars, a string bass, harp, harpsichord and a mandolin. It closes pretty well with ‘To One in Paradise’ which is one of the few good Parsons’ ballads, although it seems a little too much like the Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’.
The first side is a different story. ‘The Raven’ is easily the pick of the bunch, the brass mixed with the vocoded voice during the main melody is just fantastic. And quite a catchy melody at that. The song reaches a frenetic climax with the untreated vocals crying out the famous ‘Quoth the Raven “Nevermore” ’ line. ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ is almost as good although Arthur Brown might overdo the paranoia thing a little. ‘(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether’ is simply perfect pop and the kind of stuff I wish I saw the Project doing later in their career, rather than the simpler and weaker stuff from Eve onwards. The main body to the album opener ‘A Dream Within a Dream’ is quite good, although the monologue and particularly the pseudo-oriental music at the beginning is quite annoying. ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ is a little boring and more typical of the ballads the Project would get stuck into. Still, a great start and an easy 12 with George’s rating system.
Tim Van der Mensbrugghe (15.03.2001)
Just love your joke at the end of the review of I Robot. Very
sharp but very true. Well, sometimes.
You made me want to go out and rush to buy the album. Bastard. (Imagine a smiley before you send me an 'I Hate you'-virus. I wouldn't dare to be impolite.)
Madd Hunter (05.07.2001)
I like very much I Robot, especially "Some Other Time",
"I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" and the instrumental "Genesis
Ch. I V. 32". I agree with the 4 1/2 mark.
You said that a song called "The Show Must Go On" is in the Pink Floyd album The Wall, as here, and also a song in The Wall begins with the line Day After Day. Interesting. But there's one more interesting thing. The Freddie Mercury song "Show Must Go On" (which came after The Wall) has the same title with Pink Floyd's song, and the first lyric line is "Empty Spaces" (if I heard well), another song from the Wall. Strangely interesting, eh?
Andres Pucci (24.09.2002)
You all forgot to mention another big Floyd reference: On "Breakdown" it says "Freedom, freedom take THE WALL away". Its chorale reminds me also a bit of the "The trial" song atmosphere when they want to "tear down the wall".
Dominique Duroulle (21.11.2002)
Some of you have written that there where references to The Wall by Pink Floyd in I Robot. But I Robot was written two years before The Wall, wasn't it??
Bob Josef (05.08.2004)
A tossup, for me, over whether this or the first album is better. It's
close, with another strong first side: the lengthy, repetitive, but nonetheless
captivating instumental, followed by four strong pop-rock tunes. "Don't
Let it Show" is a really moving ballad, and the fact that Pat Benatar
(of all people) covered it is another indicator of the Project's facility
with pop hooks. Combining them with an expansive prog production (choirs,
orchestra, synths) is, again, a perfect combination. The instrumentals
on the second side are sequenced better here. The choir sounds on "Total
Eclipse" are downright frightening and actually suit the mood of the
first album more, and "Genesis.." proves that Ian Bairnson learned
more than a few tricks from David Gilmour. However, the vocal numbers on
the second side don't really measure up to the first side or to Tales..,
which is where the album falls down a bit for me.
The concept isn't really made all that clear from the lyrics, either. The certainly don't seem to have anything to do with the Isaac Asimov novel. Taken out of the context of the album, the lyrics could refer to anything ("The Voice", in particular, would fit right in on Eye in the Sky). And if the were trying to seem ominous with the album cover, that doesn't work, either. The robot looks more like the 60's toy Mr. Machine to me -- kind of goofy. But as a collection of strong songs with great sounds, the first two albums are quite a pair. The Project would never quite reach this level after this.
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
A slightly weaker follow-up but the Project is still churning out some
quality music. I Robot contains a few too many lame ballads, but
the best material is up there with Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
As always the album begins with a good instrumental, which is the title
track. Opening with about two minutes of ambient and vaguely mechanical
sounds, it is not difficult to see it as an introduction to the cold robotic
theme. Then the actual beat and melody begins while the robotic theme continues.
This is not quite as successful as say Kraftwerk’s take on the whole cold
robotic theme – for one thing Alan Parsons uses real drums and the synthesisers
are always quite lush sounding but still the persistent beat, repetitive
robotic noises and the minor variations as the melody develops induce the
trance state. ‘I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You’ is quite atypical for the
Project, I always saw it as a little reggaeish, but I suppose funk fits
the bill too. ‘Breakdown’ is another great track with probably the best
vocals (incidentally sung by Allan Clarke). ‘The Voice’ is reminiscent
of the title track, so much so that I was surprised to hear vocals. Then
as you are being lulled to sleep by this rather boring track, it shifts
unexpectedly into a quick electronic boogie complete with hand claps. The
Project isn’t as predictable as you thought eh?
‘Nucleus’ is a good instrumental though, and probably the most experimental with little synthesiser pieces that seem to oscillate in volume. The album also closes with two instrumentals which in my mind contain two more Pink Floyd moments that haven’t been mentioned yet. The first is ‘Total Eclipse’ which itself is quite dull and unmemorable, but towards the middle it sounds awfully like the noisy chanting part from ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’. The closing ‘Genesis Ch.1 V.32’ is pleasant enough if somewhat unremarkable, although it has a solo that sounds if it came straight from David Gilmour’s guitar. My biggest problem with the album is the ballads and there are three of them. The worst is the quite pathetic ‘Don’t Let it Show’ which strives for human emotion, but sounds complete hollow while the other two almost reach a satisfactory level, but are just not good enough. Apart from the obvious Pink Floyd references already mentioned the vocalist on ‘Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)’ (sorry my liner notes don’t say who) sounds awfully like Rick Wright, and the track itself is reminiscent of ‘Burning Bridges’ from Obscured by Clouds.
Andres Pucci (24.09.2002)
You are not correct. You said that on Pyramid "there are more instrumentals than ever before", and that's wrong, cause there are only 3 of them when I Robot has 4! Even less than on Tales where you can find 6! I don't consider "Pyramania" an "extremely lightweight pop number". It is catchy, yes, but is a miniature piece of good arranged pop, mainly in an instrumental way. "Voyager" works as a good atmospheric introduction for the album but I think "In the lap of the gods" is a mini suite masterpiece with a grand allegro finale. You said both instrumentals "don't feature any prominent theme of their own" but...does any kind of music GOT to have one? The same happened when you reviewed some early Tangerine Dream records. Atmosphere doesn't count in music? I think yes. Trying to find a theme to music is like trying to find all kinds of painting figurative. As for "Shadow of a lonely man" it is sung by John Miles.
Bob Josef (20.03.2003)
Yes, a letdown after the first two albums. Although it does have a lot
of the Project's signature sound (especailly the distinctive, underrated
guitar playing of Ian Bairnson), it seems that the sound is beginning to
bland out a bit. And while Parsons and Woolfson were definitely straddling
the prog/pop line earlier, they unfortunately start to follow current pop
trends here. "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" sounds kind of cool, but the
repetitive synth loop sounds a lot like Donna Summer's "I Feel Love".
And they come up with one of their worst songs ever with the annoying "Pyramania".
Those falsetto vocals and that staccato keyboard anticipate the Buggles,
which is not necessarily a good thing. And dopey lyrics, too. Which reminds
me, that song is the only one that seems to link directly to the concept.
As with the last album, most of the other lyrics are generaliaed enough
that they work outside the context of the album. Which is one reason that
the Project was able to have hit singes -- although not from this album.
And what is the choir chanting during "In the Lap of the Gods?"
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
This is yet another drop in quality, but again not too much. The album
does get a little tedious since many of the tracks follow the standard
Parsons’ formulae, of which there are precisely three – one for a smooth
instrumental, one for a pop-rocker and the other for a ballad. Still the
majority of the instrumentals and rockers are good enough and the album
doesn’t suffer too badly. The only departure from the formula is the extremely
For the third time in a row an Alan Parsons Project album opens with a pretty good instrumental followed by the best track on the album. ‘Voyager’ follows a similar pattern to ‘I Robot’ – it opens with sci-fi noises that are associated to its title, before moving into a smooth track containing ringing guitars backed by smooth synthesisers and an unmoving beat. It segues into ‘What Goes Up…’, practically containing the same beat. With minimal instrumentation above the beat and intentionally dreary vocals the track is quite hollow until the refrain, which contains unexpected acoustic guitar strums and upbeat vocals. The somewhat lengthy bridge turns the track even more with animated brass playing. I’m not a huge fan of the bridge but the remaining two parts are very good. ‘The Eagle Will Rise Again’ and ‘Shadow of a Lonely Man’ are two more tracks from The Alan Parsons Project huge cannon of dull ballads.
In addition to ‘Voyager’, ‘Hyper-Gamma-Spaces’ is another decent instrumental with a nice synthesiser melody that sticks its head above the fast synthesiser loop and slow atmospheric synthesisers. Every now and then yet another synthesiser appears which plays the type of sound effects often heard on 80s sci-fi TV shows. ‘One More River’ and ‘Can’t Take it With You’ both rely a little too much on a refrain to provide the hook, because the remainder of the music is just dull pop-rock. The album is a little too insipid to be honest but I would still give it a 10.
Andres Pucci (24.09.2002)
Regarding the instumentals on Eve I think that even "Secret garden" is a bit of a filler, it has a great vocal work, not in the Andrew Powell style (which no one mentioned until now - It´s great the way those voices float permanently) but pretty fine. I also think "Lucifer" is a strong great intro to the album, melancholic like "Voyager" in the previous album , but less delicate and more angry.
Bob Josef (05.08.2004)
A comeback, to a certain extent, after the last album. Certainly, the
concept is much clearer and more accessible. However, although the arrangements
are still full and lush, Parsons began to abandon the spacious, wide open,
more prog-oriented production in favor of a more compressed sound that
orients the band even more towards pop. The lyrics are probably the main
reason the album got some bad reviews. "You Lie Down with Dogs"
is positively vicious, "I'd Rather Be a Man" isn't far behind,
and a lot of the rest didn't exactly endear the boys to feminists. Except
for Marillion's Fugazi, you get more misogyny here than in any other
art-rock album, for sure.
Still, the album is far more engaging and dynamic than the last one. The hooks are strong, the singing is great, and there's nothing as stupid as "Pyramania". "Don't Look Back" is the one APP track that Parsons had said he wished he had never released, but I don't why -- it's a nice, upbeat, optimistic pop song with a very pretty vocal from Clare Tory. "If I Could Change Your Mind" is actually sung by ex-Elton John backing vocalist Lesley Duncan, and it's really very touching. It's too bad that Parsons didn't get back to using female voices until post-Project. In summary, a decent release from the Project, if not in the same league with the first two albums.
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
This is one of the better Parsons’ concepts, in particular the method
of having the males and females voices either side of the album (and by
voices I mean it both literally and figuratively) was a masterstroke. It’s
just too bad that the majority of the music isn’t that good then. Apart
from the instrumental ‘Lucifer’ and the ballad ‘You Won’t Be Here’, too
much of the first side sounds the same – scathing vocals, fast rhythms
and a lack of memorable melodies. Having said that ‘You Lie Down With Dogs’
and ‘I’d Rather be a Man’ are the picks. ‘Lucifer’ continues the Projects
excellent form for opening instrumentals and even the ballad is quite good.
This might just be due to the lyrics – it starts of as a generic but endearing
love song until the sucker punch in the refrain.
The female rebuttal starts with the pretty crap ‘Don’t Hold Back’ which is just a lame pop song with annoying harmonies in the refrain. The lyrics are also quite terrible. Sadly this is the only track in which Clare Torry has the lead vocals which is very disappointing for all of those who love ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’. The album closes with the soft and rather boring ballad ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’. ‘SecretGarden’ is a rarity on this album – only the second instrumental. This one is a little more typical than ‘Lucifer’, containing the familiar mix of melodious and atmospheric synthesisers. The females would have a case if they claimed that they were underrepresented and the album was gender discriminatory considering the males control five of the seven tracks with lyrics. Still it’s another pretty good album and it starts the Project’s more successful pop phase with a score of 10.
Henrik Larsen (04.03.2002)
You failed to mention "Gold Bug" (another Poe reference?), one of their finest instrumentals.
Bob Josef (11.08.2003)
An interesting concept, and the album does hold together. Andrew Powell's orchestration on the title suite is a big reason why, and, I agree, it came out well. Parsons repeats the looping synth trick from "Damned if I Do" on "Games People Play", but it still works. However, the album does take a dip from the last one with "Time", the worst song the guys had done since "Pyramania". Monotonous melody, trite lyrics ("Time/keeps flowing like a river/to the sea" -- gee, what an original idea) and a very strained lead vocal from Eric Woolfson. I think it was a big mistake to let him sing his own songs (he'd be way too much all over the next three albums), but he does sing fairly nicely on "Nothing Left to Lose". Still, "Time" pointed them in the pop direction which proved too tempting for them for them too tempting to resist (it was their biggest single up to this point) , which makes this one the last Project album wtih any serious prog ambitions at all.
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
While quite popular in the Project’s catalogue I am not totally enamoured
by this release. The Alan Parsons/Eric Woolfson writing duo seems to have
taken an each way bet on the structure and direction of the album. That
is they seem to have attempted to appease fans of Eve with accessible
and easy listening pop while the older fans should be content with the
slight hint at complexity and a nice “artsy” side long track. I mean side
long tracks were almost forbidden in the post-punk world but I suppose
Alan Parsons didn’t really care. That said, the side long track is really
just four pop songs (with a reprise) glued together as a suite – hence
my usage of the term “artsy”. A severe oddity is that this album does not
start with an instrumental. In fact I feel quite uneasy when the lyrics
of ‘May be a Price to Pay’ begin on a track that starts off exactly like
any other Alan Parsons instrumental could have. The track starts with imposing
brass (almost like a medieval call to arms) before it glides effortlessly
in the Project’s famous smooth synthesisers and ceaseless rhythm. It could
have continued like this as an instrumental if a few melodious synthesisers
were added (and I would have really enjoyed this) but instead it turns
into something little better than your average early 80s pop song. At least
the brass orchestration continues which adds some real conviction to the
vocal melody. ‘Games People Play’ is another passable track but there are
a few annoying generic moments like the vocal melody and arrangement of
the verses. The absolute nadir of the album is reached with yet another
track titled ‘Time’. It is an ugly smooth ballad with the most straightforward
lyrics found this side of 90s boybands. Absolutely dreadful.
Fortunately things never plunge that low again. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Home’ has a good funky rhythm that is quite reminiscent of I Robot and a few nice synthesiser lines are thrown in meaning that it is better than the opening two tracks. ‘The Gold Bug’ is the sole instrumental on the album (unless you count ‘iii. The Ace of Swords’ from the side long suite), and it’s a good one. The opening starts with whistling reminiscent from the Scorpions’ ridiculous ‘Winds of Change’ but improves thereafter. While not the Project’s best instrumental, the alternating ascending/descending bass lines and steady rhythm carry the track nicely and even the superfluous harmonies cannot wreck the overall effect.
But the real centrepiece of the album is the suite and somewhat surprisingly it is quite good. The Project never go overboard in their slightly artsy ambitions, rather they just stick four quite nice pop songs together. The best of these is ‘ii. Snake Eyes’ with another wonderful funky bass rhythm and quite catchy vocal melody and the main theme (‘The Turn of a Friendly Card Parts One and Two’) which bookend the suite. ‘iii. The Ace of Swords’ is a little bit like an orchestral rehash of the main theme and is probably the only time in which the Project’s ambition outweighs the content – still it does sound quite good. That leaves us with ‘iv. Nothing Left to Lose’ which is quite a surprising but very pleasant acoustic track. Ultimately the album turns out to be almost entirely mediocre (the good and bad moments balance each other) but it’s pleasant enough to earn a 10.
Yeah, I don't like this album much either. Really, the only one I get into is I Robot, but this is especially boring. But I just wanted to point out that the concept of this album is about Big Brother spying on us controlling our lives. Should explain some of the lyrics and artwork.
Bob Josef (21.03.2003)
Yes, drifting even further towards pop territory this time around. But
now, it's almost impossible to relate the lyrics to what is the nominal
concept here -- namely, "Big Brother" watching over us all. The
title track supposedly sets this up, but it could just as easily be an
anti-love song along the lines of "Every Breath You Take" or
"The One I Love" --which is why it was the Project's biggest
single. I find it to be quite dull, with Eric's wimpy voice and that wimpier
electric piano. And "Step by Step" sounds like rather generic
70's pop, never mind 80's.
But the rest of the album is more interesting, as far as pop albums go. "Gemini" has some beautiful harmonies; that playful instrumental section in "Silence and I" is fun, if not matching the mood of the verses; and "Mammagamma" updates "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" to somewhat better effect. Wooflson's lyrics are very morose and sad, if oblique. Meticulously prooduced, as always, but, as you said, there's a lot less for proggers to latch onto here.
Stephen Rutkowski (14.07.2005)
What a funny old album this one is. Not intentionally of course, but
by placing some of their worst material with some of their best, the album
could bemuse anyone. Considering I like to do things systematically let’s
start off with the worst tracks. Most of them reside on the second side,
but the sole representative from the first side is the ridiculous ‘Gemini’.
This is merely a vocalist (sorry I don’t know who) singing two syllable
-ing words over the most minimal of arrangements. That’s not much of a
song now is it? Three of the five tracks from the second side are quite
hopeless. ‘You’re Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned’ and especially ‘Step By
Step’ are the most run of the mill pop songs that could ever be created.
I mean “Step by step/Little by little/One day at a time” might have been
written by a five year old, not to mention it is very reminiscent of the
awful title song for the equally awful sitcom of the same name. But the
funniest part of all is the “woohing” and “yeahing” on ‘You’re Gonna get
Your Fingers Burned’, like the song is an 80s party anthem. You have no
idea how ridiculous it sounds from a seemingly serious and complex band
like The Alan Parsons Project. ‘Psychobabble’ is probably the worst of
the lot – seemingly an attempt to create a similar tension and paranoia
of a track like ‘The Raven’, but all the annoying vocal delivery, the lyrics
and the stupid piano and bass does is create an irritant to the listener.
There are two passable tracks on the album. ‘Silence and I’ is a very ambitious number that while being completely inoffensive doesn’t quite work. The main theme is an attempt to evoke emotion with subtle orchestration and a serene arrangement and vocal melody, but it’s a little too cheesy to be taken seriously. Then it shifts into a fast and somewhat complex flurry of different orchestral themes. Occasionally sounding like the musical accompaniment to Disney’s Fantasia and containing two guitar solos that sound as if Brian May had joined the Project, it’s all just a little too ineffective. The most effective part turns out to be the coda which mixes the main theme with rising orchestration. The other palatable track is the inoffensive but totally forgettable closing ballad ‘Old and Wise’.
Now to the favourable aspects of this album – the tracks that make me give the album a ten instead of a six or seven. The title track is a very pleasant and interesting pop song – the kind of song that leaves ‘You’re Gonna get Your Fingers Burned’ and ‘Step by Step’ for dead. The refrain is very catchy (as it should be for good pop songs) but the best bit is the melody that links the verse to the refrain. ‘Children of the Moon’ reminds me a little of a cross ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Home’ and a myriad of other Alan Parsons songs, but this one has this cool “quivering” synthesiser line and another catchy refrain. The other highlights are (surprise) both instrumentals. The too short ‘Sirius’ makes us forget the aberration of The Turn of a Friendly Card by starting the album in a familiar manner. Drawing on spiky synthesiser pattern and a steady crisp beat, there is a feedback heavy guitar and the contrast between the light and dark synthesisers is well done. In fact the opening three tracks are great and you would think the album would live up to its reputation and perhaps be even better than Tales of Mystery and Imagination. But alas, it wasn’t to be. The next track is ‘Gemini’ and it’s pretty much all over from there. As well as being another large Pink Floyd reference ‘Mammagamma’ is just an awesome track amongst a sea of garbage on the second side. The beat is new wave, almost proto-techno (it is very heavy) but I love the trance inducing repetitive melody. This is really the first time The Alan Parsons Project attempted this kind of music since I Robot and it is probably the most successful. Never have I heard such a consistent distance between the sets of best and worst tracks on an album.
David Dickson (24.02.2006)
I'd just like to point out that opening track "Sirius" has become entrance music for basketball teams all over the world, popularized by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. If that isn't reason enough to go hogwild, I don't know what the damn hell is.