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

THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD

Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.43 | 278 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Isa
Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C| Incredible orchestrations, dated pop, and everything in between.

At the moment I'm still a little unsure what I'll actually rate this album, be it a two, three, or four. I guess I'll write a more stream of consciousness review for this one, not something I'm too fond of doing, but when I'm as unsure about an album as this (and I've listened to it plenty of times already) that's all I think I can really write about and make a quality review, though it might end up a bit overblown and lengthy. I don't like doing individual track reviews either, for an album should be able to speak for itself as a whole piece of work, but one as inconsistent as this, the write-while-listening-track-by-track approach may be the best option. This will probably be a long review, so feel free to skip to the last paragraph, unless you like my writing style and have time to burn or something. So, here goes.

1. May Be A Price To Pay: I like the brass based intro, a great start for this album for certain. Cool keyboard effects follow this with nice soft piano in the background and good bass riff... leading to the acoustic guitar chords that back the vocals. Good vocalist, I like the distortion guitar being used for background atmosphere. Chorus repeats with horn parts that started the album, ooo, claves! I like this track a lot, always have. Bass part interlude with nice string parts, fun and interesting piano craziness in the background... I like this track overall, good progginess and orchestrations, as usual for APP's better work. Overall I reward a 6.5 out of 10, nothing spectacular per say, but a great solid track to start the album.

2. Games People Play: Poppish intro... overall more pop sounding than the previous, mainly from repetition and pop sounding vocals, though competent vocals with nice harmonies. Good riff though with the bass and piano parts. Very dated sounding song, even for APP, though as usual I like the keyboard parts. Ooo, I like how the track suddenly has an ambient nature, atmospheric keyboard effects, this alone may make the track worthwhile, cool sound effects too. Back to the main riff, awesome electric guitar work, still very dated sounding, somewhat overly eighties, though I still like it. Drumming pretty boring though. Not much to this track really other than the short ambient part. overall 5 out of 10, pretty mediocre, though a bit fun in a strictly catchy pop sense.

3. Time: Hey, a Pink Floyd rip-off! Ok, not really, but close. Nice piano intro , coming into vocal part. This track is very much like The Show Must Go On from I Robot, only less unique and magical. "Time keeps flowing like a river, to the sea..." pretty deep lyrics I guess, though a little cliche. Hey, the songs more about death, really! I like the strings, as usual, quite appropriately used. Nice song, ooo, nice verse, "gone forever!" Nice track, simple but effective, but I feel it lacks a lot of originality. Well put together though... hm... nice soft ending. I think this gets a 6 out of 10. Good, but just not original enough.

4. I Don't Wanna Go Home: Nice intro, piano with acoustic guitar... is that a tri-tone I hear? Cool.... Ok... ew, pop crap. I don't like this track much so far, other than the intro. The vocals are pretty obnoxious throughout the track. It's a bit like track two only a lot more disco sounding. Pretty catchy, but overly repetitive, very eighties sounding, even the guitar solo is kind of lame. Overall a pretty lame and disappointing song, especially since it has such a promising intro, and the outro is the same as the intro only with dissonant piano chords. Sorry, that just doesn't save this track. A measly 2.5 out of 10 for this one.

5. The Gold Bug: keyboard intro, with whistling, that's pretty cool, quite a unique way to start a song. A good bass riff coming in, keyboard stuff layered on, nice saxophone put on top. I like this track so far, though it's a bit repetitive for my taste. Yeah, I know, it's a cool bass riff, move onto something else already... there we go, ethereal keyboard work and "ah" vocals. This is quite pleasant, quite smooth. Kind of reminds me of a track off 90125, oh what was it... Leave it! Only not quite so dated sounding. Still the same bass riff... all well. Nice track, though a little dull. 5.5 out of 10.

Alright, to the epic we go, though I remember from listening to this album before that it was very fragmented sounding and not at all flowing and cohesive. So I guess that's how I'll review it. Part 1: Nice piano intro... ooo, flutes, me like! Oh wow, what a great vocal melody, almost folk sounding, this track just may bring this album to a three! Oh yes, I love this first part of the epic, probably some of the band's best work! Great vocals, orchestrations, acoustic guitar work, great everything! Yay an acoustic guitar solo, wonderful changes! I love this track, 8 out of 10. Part 2: Awe, that's too bad we're into that dated late seventies early eighties sound already. All well, it's alright really. Pretty good elecric guitar work, this track kind of reminds me of Steely Dan in a way, actually, other than the vocals. Not a terrible song, but too pop and dated for my taste, 4 out of 10. Part 3: Yay harpsichord intro, leading into orchestrations, with an oboe, even! Wow, the brass is back, I like this track a lot! Sort of classical-folky sounding once again. This may be the best work on the album, especially since it's instrumental. Yay, odd meter, 7/4! 'Bout time. A solid 8/10. Short track though... sadness. Part 4: Nice acoustic guitar, good vocal part, good lyrics, pretty emotional. Don't really like the more high-pitched vocals... oh, but then they change to the "ah" vocals again, very pleasant. Oh, what's that instrument... always reminds me of Paris... which I could remember, but I like it. Good track, pretty soft and pleasant. Ooo, proggy part in the middle... awe, but then the melodic theme of Part 2 is reintroduced on electric guitar. All well, it's pretty good sounding on guitar. I like the hard rock rhythm guitar with electric solo. This is getting pretty fun! Hard rock goodness and Part 4 closes with this. Great! 7 out of 10 for this. Part 5: What is apparently the theme of the epic that started in part 1 is played on strings and piano. Ah, I love this theme. I love this guy's voice, "no the game never ends when your whole world depends on the turn of a friendly card." What a great melody, and great chord changes. This melody is played on electric guitar, oh it fits so surprisingly well! Then with the brass... then the cellos, I think.... This track almost raises the album to a four. 8.5 out of 10! What a great way to close an album.

So, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the album. Some incredible orchestrated prog moments, some quite terribly dated pop moments, and just about everything in between, but overall a worthwhile album. This album is almost worth buying just for the epic, even if it's a fragmented epic, it still is comprised of mostly great tracks, some of the group's best work even. Not as great as their first two albums, but probably their best since I, Robot. Recommended for Crossover pop-prog listeners (such as myself) and fans of Alan parsons Project.

Isa | 3/5 |

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