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Alan Parsons Project - Gaudi CD (album) cover

GAUDI

Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

2.99 | 155 ratings

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Mr. Gone
3 stars I own everything the Project ever released. I'll admit that as time has gone on and my tastes have taken me in more challenging directions (The Flower Kings, Anglagard, Weather Report, etc.) that my liking for for this band (as well as other bands I was heavily into, like ELO and ELP) has waned a bit - but there's still some good (even great) music to be found among their ten studio discs. Not enough interest on my part to go out and buy the remasters, but I'll still pull them out periodically and give them a spin.

"Gaudi" is the final release by this partnership. Certainly not their best album ever, but it is an improvement over their last two releases, where the orchestration was gone and a sterile, synthetic sheen frequently overwhelms the proceedings. Additionally, the material here overall seems a bit stronger (one or two lower points notwithstanding), so both the meal and its presentation are more appetizing.

The opener, "La Sagrada Familia" sounds like classic Project. Not as great or dynamic overall as, say, "A Dream Within A Dream" from "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" or even "May Be a Price to Pay" from "The Turn of a Friendly Card", but the orchestration is back and it's an enjoyable track nonetheless. "Too Late" is vaguely discofied but catchy nonetheless - and Lenny Zakatek is back to sing lead vocals. "Closer to Heaven" tries to recapture the spirit of "Eye in the Sky"'s "Silence and I", and only partially succeeds, unfortunately. The instrumental (and its attendant sax solo) is somewhat interesting, but the vocal portions leave me a bit flat. "Standing on Higher Ground" is a driving rocker somewhat similar to much of the material on "Stereotomy", but it's at least as good as (and probably better than) just about anything on that album, punctuated by some nice bass playing by Laurie Cottle (replacing the departed David Paton). The only truly low point comes now, "Money Talks", a forgettable rocker with a technically perfect but forgettable riff and vocalist John Miles trying his best to sound "tough". However, the best comes last, as the climax of the album, the beautiful "Inside Looking Out", winds the proceedings into "Paseo de Gracia", a musical bookend reworking "La Sagrada Familia"'s instrumentation. "Inside" features Eric Woolfson's gently powerful vocals and is punctuated in its final chorus by Chris Rainbow's backing vocals, a wonderful backdrop to a track wistfully admiring visionaries and their accomplishments.

Is it a perfect album? Far from it. There aren't as many high points as there were on many of their early albums, and it's marred by some occasionally dull filler. It's a "prog-related" album more than a "prog" album, to be sure. But some of the classic hallmarks are there, and there's some very nice, enjoyable material on here, presented in a palatable fashion. Three stars.

Mr. Gone | 3/5 |

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