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The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn Of A Friendly Card CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

3.49 | 363 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars After "Eve", it made sense for APP to tackle a more universal enemy than femininity, and they chose gambling or, more generally game playing, and its ills, although the indictments are generally on the more lighthearted side. More importantly, this is more of a serious rock album than "Eve", even if the progressive quotient remains low.

The album opens with two strong numbers - "May be a Price to Pay" is fascinating lyrically, and possesses a rather deliberate sinister air that holds up well, contrasting perfectly with the more immediately catchy but still intriguing "Games People Play". This is the type of song in which APP excels - lavish and multi-layered, it is preferable to the rote somnolent balladry of "Time", which resurrects PINK FLOYD's worst traits, and extrapolates to the weak hit title cut on the subsequent release. These insipid songs are manufactured for ad infinitum radio airplay, because one barely notices them pass by, and any sort of active listening is quite impossible.

Where "Turn" falls down a bit more is in its instrumentals. "The Gold Bug" is good enough, but simply not in the same league as "Lucifer" or "I Robot", and, given the importance of such tracks to the progressive fan, it makes the album a bit harder to wholly recommend. However, the title suite is one of Parsons' best overall compositions, consisting of a lovely bracketing theme, a superb rocker, "Snake Eyes", an almost medieval instrumental "Ace of Swords", and a beautiful ballad "Nothing Left to Lose", which is closed by an epilogue of sorts that re-enacts some of the earlier themes. I have the LP version, and I find it hard to accept that the individual parts were separated out into separate tracks on the CD, so well do they flow together.

I am torn here. The album is certainly better than "Eve", which, apart from the subject matter, warranted 3.5 stars, so I'm going to say that "Turn of a Friendly Card" is like an 18 in Blackjack, very good but definitely beatable, although not by Mr Parsons henceforth.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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