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Alan Parsons Band - Try Anything Once CD (album) cover

TRY ANYTHING ONCE

Alan Parsons Band

 

Prog Related

3.41 | 45 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the Parsons-Woolfson divorce that succeeded the "Freudiana" release, Parsons decided to go on as a recording artist. For respect towards Woolfson's contributions to the Project, Parsons decided to leave the Project moniker behind, and try something at least once (it would be thrice, eventually) - to let his fellow musicians bring their compositional input into the new repertoire, even allowing them to dominate the writing merits, particularly lifelong Parsons' partners Powell and Bairnson. The former gives only little room for his well known orchestral arranging talents in order to concentrate more on his role as a keyboardist (a very good one, indeed, owner of a wide breadth of finesse); the latter expands his instrumental talents including some keyboards, too. The fact is that the large amount of keyboard parts used all along the repertoire serves as an effective substitute for the massive, recurrent orchestrations that had been so tremendously crucial to APP's earlier efforts. So, in many ways "Try Anything Once" proves to be a kind of return-to- form after the increasingly poppier tendency that had been dominating the APP stuff from the "Eye in the Sky" days onwards. In fact, I actually enjoy it almost as much as "Friendly Card" (my all-time APP album) and a bit more than "Pyramid" and " I. Robot" (other Parsons faves of mine). The opening track 'The Three of Me' is a stunning introduction into the reconstructed musical world of this refurbished project: a pompous intro and a main theme that include some clever tempo shifts. The good art rock vibes remain active in 'Turn It Up' and the Ellliott-penned 'Mr. Time', two pieces full of subtle energy and effective catchiness, as well as some fluid mood variations that leave room for occasional eerie passages; the same goes for 'I'm Talking to You', a nice prog pop track, and the rockier 'Back Against the Wall', and since these ones are a bit shorter than the aforementioned ones, the sense of energy feels particularly enhanced in them, less subtle and a bit more bombastic, just like the opener. But nowhere do things get as bombastic as in the amazing closure 'Oh Life', a dramatic symphonic ballad that brings the listener back to the days of 'Shadow of a Lonely Man' (from "Pyramid") and 'Old & Wise' (from "Eye in the Sky") - but it's not as desperately melancholy as the former, nor as reflective as the latter, since it's basically focused on the narrative of a person's own ordeal, resulting on something more similar in attitude to the "Turn of a Friendly Card" suite. IMHO, 'The Three of Me', 'Mr. Time' and 'Oh Life' are the individual highlights in this album, but it would be really fair to state that the musical quality of the repertoire as a whole is quite even. The instrumentals are pretty interesting and varied: the techno-pop 'Breakaway', the Celtic-inspired 'Jigue' and its orchestral reconstruction 'Re-Jigue', and the dreamy new-age-ish 'Dreamscape', all of them work as effective preludes to each respective follower. The acoustic ballad 'Siren Song' portrays the most notable moments of pure, candid calm in the album, while the unabashedly AOR-ish 'Wine from the Water' momentarily wipes away any sign of density drawn by the first two numbers. In conclusion: my personal rating for "Try Anything Once" is somewhere between 3 ˝ and 4 stars.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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