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Alan Parsons Band - A Valid Path CD (album) cover


Alan Parsons Band


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2.59 | 92 ratings

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4 stars Prog-Rock grows up and joins the modern world. In his first album since splitting with the by-now regular line up of the Alan Parsons band, A Valid Path shows that whilst his old pal Eric Woolfson (Poe) and old line-up have failed to learn any new tricks to keep themselves contemporary, the same could not be said of Mr Parsons. A genuinely eye-opening experience, the album begins with the epic 9-minute Return To Tunguska, which puts this listener very much in mind of I Robot's opening sequence, wherein the musical form arises out of a swirling collage of sounds that nag on the edge of coherence before delivering up a sublime main theme, enhanced in this case and pulsing with added drama thanks to Dave Gilmour's guitar work. Book-ending the album as a whole is the equally hefty Chomolungma, clocking in at 7-minutes plus, which alternately intrigues and amuses in equal measure. For some reason I saw in my mind's eye the Easter Island statues singing along on this one.......................!!! Between these two tracks on this 50 minute album are three vocal-led performances More Lost Without You, We Play The Game and You Can Run, with Alan taking lead vocals on We Play The Game to surprisingly good effect, and with a tone on this track reminiscent of Eye In The Sky. More Lost Without You has a slower tempo than I personally like with Alan Parsons' music, but is still listenable, whilst You Can Run has a similar high-paranoia feel to be found on such tracks as Somebody Out There from Vulture Culture. The other four tracks on this album are all instrumentals, though the human voice features as an instrument. They include two re-workings of old Project classics: Mammagamma 04 and A Recurring Dream Within A Dream, both of which have sufficient new ideas to afford gainful insight into Alan's current musical thinking, as well as providing a link to the past for those Project fans who find the new album a bit of a shock. The other two tracks Tijuaniac and L'Arc En Ciel offer a dreamy, laid back sound reminiscent of Rick Wright's musical thinking, with some slight jazz elements incorporated into the mix. For this reviewer, who always preferred the instrumentals and production work, plus the keyboard ideas of the Alan Parsons Project, this album is simply great, and though it's early days yet, may well become my favourite of his - a notable acheivment since I own all the Project and Woolfson-less albums. However, if your favourite albums are Stereotomy, Gaudi, Try Anything Once Time Machine or the ballady stuff, then look out- you might not like this one. But for me? Absolutely great.
| 4/5 |


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