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Alan Parsons Band - The Secret CD (album) cover


Alan Parsons Band


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3.06 | 55 ratings

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3 stars The previous Alan Parsons album, Valid Path (2004), sounded to me so bad that I only gave it one quick listening years ago. Surely I wasn't expecting much of it anyway (I was familiar with the first Project-less album Try Anything Once, which was fairly ok if rather forgettable), but electronica-oriented Valid Path sounded totally wrong and worthless and uninspired. Now the legendary producer is s back with a recent album that I've heard is some sort of return to form -- albeit not in a sense that it would be much progressive like the early albums of The Alan Parsons Project are. So, let's see how this pop album manages to impress me, free of any false prog-expectations.

The instrumental opener 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is an orchestrated and pretty cleverly rocked-up version of Paul Dukas' orchestral poem known from the Disney film Fantasia. It certainly has its merits, but it's too pompous to be compared to the atmospheric openers on the APP albums. 'Miracle' is a decent, chorus-repeating pop song comparable to the mediocre Mike + the Mechanics stuff, with vocals by Jason Mraz. 'As Lights Fall' is sung by Parsons himself; the steady bass pulse takes my mind back to the Eye in the Sky era, but nor is this middle-of-the-road song very interesting for repeated listenings.

'One Note Symphony' features the album's main vocalist Todd Cooper (who's well in line with the voices that the Project used to have) to do the robotic one-note vocals. At least this piece steps aside from the dull safety zone! 'Sometimes' is an orchestrated soft rock ballad sung by slightly rasp-voiced Lou Gramm (FOREIGNER). Pleasant. Quite good in fact. The next, calm and slightly melancholic song with beautifully harmonised vocals by Cooper and Parsons, is even better. I also enjoy laid-back 'Fly to Me' in which Mark Mikel has a Lennon-like voice. 'Requiem' has a bluesy/jazzy atmosphere and Todd Cooper is very good on vocals.

'Years of Glory' is a tender ballad with romantic string arrangement and good vocals of P.J. Olsson, the best Colin Bluntstone substitute that Parsons has used. But wait, also Jared Mahone on the final tender song 'I Can't Get There from Here' sounds a bit like Bluntstone. All in all, The Secret pretty well fulfils the expectations of the listener who enjoys well produced and arty soft pop with orchestral ingredients. Despite some forgettable songs, I must admit that my overall impression is on the positive side. If you have liked Alan Parsons [Project] also without notable prog elements, you'll find this album fairly pleasant.

Matti | 3/5 |


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