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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 619 ratings

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3 stars Alan Parsons needs no introduction; he's that technical studio wiz-kid with more references under his belt then any other producer in those days. His debut album sure served to deliver another proof of his technical skills as this album sounds years ahead of its time. He even succeed in integrating the rock instrumentation with a classical orchestra, something many have tried but few have succeeded in.

As to the quality of the songs, it's a mixed bag for me. On the bright side, the album shows a passionate and inspired band. The musicianship is functional and fitting, meant to serve the songs and not the musician's egos. There are a couple of great songs on the album, the opening duo of A Dream Within a Dream and Raven register as the best and also the most progressive to me. Their attention to sonic texture, the sophistication of the arrangement and the crescendo build-up towards the sweeping finale match up with the big symphonic tradition of years passed.

The melodies themselves are rather predictable though. APP never leaves the secure path of traditional harmonies and mainstream chord progressions. On The Cask of Amontillado they even sound 'regressive', as if rock music hadn't progressed an inch since the ballad pop of the Beatles. Also Dr.Tarr is a fairly standard rock track. Only the ambitious production make it sound prog on the outside, but it doesn't have a deeper layer underneath. Still, I quite like that one.

Side two of the original album is more ambitious, featuring a long classical suite taking lots of inspiration from late romanticists/early modernist composer like Wagner, Mahler and Prokofiev. I can't say I'm particularly thrilled by it. Both the classical parts and the atmospheric instrumental rock parts just don't speak to me. It ends with To One In Paradise, a bland pop sugar ballad that easily knocks off a star.

The second side makes the album difficult to rate. Much of it sounds so empty, as if all attention went into creating the sound instead of the music. As a result I can't rate this album above 3 stars, but I would still recommend it to everyone that doesn't mind the silky soft touch of pop music in his prog.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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