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The Alan Parsons Project - Stereotomy CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

2.74 | 202 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Stereotomy was the ninth studio album by the Alan Parsons Project and holds a somewhat special feeling for me because it was the first APP album I ever bought. What attracted me towards purchasing this was the playing of the title track on the radio. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before and I just loved the interesting keyboard soundscapes it contained. I was in my music-listening infancy at the time this came out, so many years afterward I realized there was so much more in the progressive rock landscape. All these years later, it has put Stereotomy in its proper place and context, but I still have an appreciation for this work.

Like on previous APP albums, again Parsons follows his usual formula consisting of a core of session musicians, guest vocalists, impeccable production and engineering, and a general theme or concept. This time the theme was the effect of fame, fortune, or stardom on various types of people (like singers, actors, and so on). The title of the album was taken from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The word itself means: the science or art of cutting solids into certain features or sections (like arches for example), especially the art of stonecutting. It's also a scientific term for enclosing scientific samples in wax and then cutting them into fine shavings. However, for this album, the word is used as a metaphor for the way that famous people are shaped by the demands of their fame. From first listens of this album, this concept doesn't appear very clearly. In fact, I found the lyrics to be somewhat confusing. I had to do some minimal research in a library to figure this one out years ago when I had the time to do such things.

Musically, this album shows more of a progressive rock touch than the preceding two albums. In fact, much of it sounds quite different from any preceding APP album. But keep in mind, the songs are still based on a pop rock foundation. They're just more "expansive" (I can't think of a better term to use) than previous songs by the band. Featured vocalists include Gary Brooker (Procal Harum), John Miles, Chris Rainbow, and Graham and Steven Dye (Scarlet Party). It is definitely as engaging as an album as Eye in the Sky or I Robot, but I wouldn't rate it as equivalent to those. It's kind of a unique animal all its own.

Stereotomy is definitely a must-have for APP fans, but I would recommend others to start with their debut album, then follow up with I Robot, Turn of a Friendly Card, and Eye in the Sky before getting this album. Three stars seems like a suitable rating for me, maybe four stars if this were being rated on a "Rock Archives" site. A really good album, but not really essential.

progaardvark | 3/5 |


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