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The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

3.83 | 616 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not really a prog masterpiece but this comes close. A highly accessible album with some excellent melodic 70's pop/rock with progressive flavours. "Break down" is a fine example of this. A catchy melody with progish vocal harmonies and wonderful orchestrations from Andrew Powell in the end. The opening track sets the scene with rising futuristic keyboards and a thin choir voice. Soon you're aware of the typical sounds of a Parsons instrumental track. But on I Robot the rhythm section also includes real basses, guitars and drums which makes is more worthwhile for a prog lover.

From its early beginning Parsons used the skills of some of the greatest vocalists in the music business at the time. Like on other project releases vocalist Lenny Zakatek gets the rock track. "I wouldn't want to be like you" is one of the most catchy tunes the band ever issues in its history. Great, filthy lyric also !"Some other place " is one of the few moments of pure progressive greatness even if the vocalist sounds a bit timid. Quiet at the beginning with some Hackett/ Fripp acoustic guitars, bombastic interludes later on. Listening to this wonderful song makes you wonder why other prog bands didn't use any orchestra instead of keyboards. I suppose it must have been an expensive idea. "Don't let it show" tends to be quite pathetical but again, those great orchestrations on the final notes saves it from being too cheesy. "The voice" opens in a mysterious way with some spacey sounds till Steve Harley's distinctive voice turns up. Then there's this excellent chaotic instrumental brake of orchestral sounds along with Ian Bairnson's psychedelic guitar lines. The Alan Parsons project used to put interludes like that on other albums as well, but here it sounds fresh and original. Parsons called himself the real producer of Dark side of the moon and the first Project releases does let it show. "Nucleus" is one of the moments where it's obvious he's right, the space effects at the beginning are proof of that. This dreamy piece of sound would fit in nicely on Porcupine Tree's The sky moves sideways another album in the Pink Floyd vein. "Day after day" is reminiscent to "Us and them" but only more cheesy, still it's enjoyable all the way. The purpose of "Total eclipse" seem to be a bridge between this and the great closing theme, it's an excerpt that doesn't stand on his own. It sounds as a leftover form the "House of Usher" suite of the "Tales of." album. Overall this album is much more light hearted when compared to the project's debut album which isn't a surprise as we all know Tales was a musical interpretation of the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Still Parsons kept the mystery from Tales on I robot. Listening to the amazing space sounds and the futuristic artwork, the main theme on this album must be progress but it isn't really coming through in the lyrics, so I don't believe this really was meant to be a concept album. Although "Genesis ch 1 V 32" recaptures the atmosphere of the opening track, it adds some wonderful keyboard melodies which do sound typical seventies if you 're familiar with the music of Jean Michel Jarre and again, Pink Floyd. Later on there's a climax which makes a worthy ending for this fantastic album or is my mind troubled by some memories of the time this album was released ? Anyway I don't think this will come across very outdated when young proggers hear this album for the very first time one of these days. It can't be a coincidence Parsons still performs lots of stuff from this album while being on tour.

"I robot" is a great, though not fantastic, effort and there's only few Project releases which can top this but the chart successes of the early eighties were still to come in 1977. This album combines the many different moods to a unit where other Project releases fail in a misplaced trial to please everyone which they did by the way.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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