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The Alan Parsons Project - Vulture Culture CD (album) cover

VULTURE CULTURE

The Alan Parsons Project

Crossover Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The same old. . .songs

"Vulture Culture" offers more of the same from Alan Parsons, in the form of well produced melodic soft rock. There is little to get excited about though, as the album lacks any innovation or experimentation. The album simply delivers a collection of songs which would have fitted in equally well on any other APP album.

The opening "Let's talk about me" sets the tone for the entire album, being a mid-paced melodic rock song with a strong hook, but little to interest those seeking anything prog. "Days are numbered" is a slower piece once again with a strong melody, which would doubtless find plenty of exposure on a melodic rock radio station.

The final track, "The same old sun" is by far the best, it's a lovely soft ballad, with fine vocals by Eric Woolfson and beautiful orchestration.

"Vulture Culture" is not a prog album by any means, but then much of the APP's product, particularly their later output, could not be classified as such. A harmless album really, with nothing worthy of great criticism, but then again, not a great deal to recommend it either.

Report this review (#5648)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Sorry, but I really think the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT loses it here. There's really nothing more new to offer here. At this point, the music is pretty indistinguisable pop. At this point, I'd only recommend "Vulture Culture" to diehards only.
Report this review (#5649)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although it's not progressive rock I would say this is my favourite Alan Parson's album. There's a good work of saxophone. On the other hand, Hawkeye isn't one of Alan Parson's best instrumental works. Probably the weakest song is Vulture Culture. It doesn't fit in this type of album. This cd has a sentimental feeling I find very attractive. The best song for me: DAYS ARE NUMBERS!
Report this review (#5650)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Well Vulture Culture has to be for ardent collectors only. There are a couple of decent tracks like ' The Traveller' and ' The same old sun' but everyhting is rather much plain ordinary with few hooks and an abundance of the ' same old stuff'
Report this review (#5651)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars A good pop album, some tracks seem to be performed by Chicago...like Days are Numbers (The Traveller)... needless to say, this record is not part of their greatest stuff, good melodies I insist, but not prog... One of their lowest points of their catalogue. A typical 80's pop album, if you are a fan buy it then ...
Report this review (#5653)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars One of their earlier recordings had the lyric "you're gonna get your fingers burned". On the purchase of this album, felt that I had. At least 'Ammonia Avenue' had 'Pipeline'. Don't remember a single track off this one. other than the very ordinary 'Vulture Culture'. The last album of theirs I bought. Borrowed 'Stereotomy' from the library, that was equally forgettable.
Report this review (#53760)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some people commented that the music of The Alan Parsons Project started with a heavy influence of Pink Floyd through its debut album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and it evolved further. On this album you would hardly find any kind of Floyd influence because as far as I know there had been nothing about Floyd which had consistent beats like The APP music. But that's again, people's perception.

This album is more on pop than any category of music but it's not bad at all even though it's not the best of The Project albums. It is a continuation of "Ammonia Avenue", its predecessor. Some songs were written during the same period as "Ammonia Avenue" and "Vulture Culture" was released shortly after "Ammonia Avenue". "Let's Talk About Me" is an energetic opener in rock style with good vocal line. Nothing is interesting about the second track "Separate Lives" except its acoustic guitar fills which augment the vocal line. "Days Are Numbers" is another good track to enjoy. The rest of the tracks represent typical pop-rock orientated music of The Alan Parsons Project.

It's a good album even though it's not essential and not the Project's best. For those of you who enjoy slow rock with pop touch you might like this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75831)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars The songs on this album were supposed to be the second half of a two-disc release along with Ammonia Avenue in 1984, but these ended up being recorded nearly a year later. As it turns out, this was the weaker of the two albums, and even further along the path toward pure pop candy (assuming it was possible to be even more commercial after the group’s previous two glossy albums).

The cast of characters here is largely the same as on the last five or six releases, but the compositions are less interesting, much more synthesized, and hopelessly overproduced by Parsons. Overall this has to be considered their weakest progressive album, although many Leisure-Suit Larry types who grew up in the eighties probably consider this one of the classier discs in their collections today. Well, no accounting for taste.

“Let’s Talk About Me” has the obligatory catchy guitar riff and hip-shaking rhythm, and the lyrics about vacuous vanity and shallowness set the tone for both the rest of the album, as well as for the decade in which it was released. This was one of two singles (the other being the slightly better “Days Are Numbers (the Traveller)”), but neither made much impression. A decent enough tune, but not even remotely progressive. David Paton sings on the opener though, so a point for that – he has a great mood voice.

“Separate Lives” has a passably interesting rhythm, but here again the message is shallow and boring, much like the times in which it was written. I know Parsons was actually trying to concoct a satirical and sarcastic picture of the eighties decade, but he unfortunately succeeded so well that this album is forever tied to that era, and so of necessity is disposable.

The mellow, undulating keyboard riff and Chris Rainbow’s vocals on “Days Are Numbers (the Traveller)” actually make this sound much more like a late seventies number. This is probably the best track on the album, with a sort of laid-back Beach Boys-meet-the- Raspberries kind of thing going on. I’ve always thought Rainbow sounded a bit like Peter Cetera too, and even if you hate pop music out of principle, it’s kind of hard to dislike that voice. A decent enough tune, but pop once again.

“Sooner or Later” has pretty much the exact same guitar progression and beat as “Eye in the Sky” from the album of the same name, and “Prime Time” from Ammonia Avenue. Both of those were modest hits and clearly Parsons thought he had stumbled upon a successful formula, but this one flopped. Too bad to, because Eric Woolfson sings on this one, and he’s another Project vocalist that is seriously underappreciated.

The title track is just trite as far as I’m concerned. This has the kind of theatrical Hollyweird feel to it that a lot of Michael Jackson’s stuff did around the same time. I suspect this one was intended to be accompanied by a thematic MTV video, and maybe it was, but I don’t remember it so it must not have made much of an impression.

“Hawkeye” is the obligatory Parsons instrumental, with the predictable lack of substance and all-too-quick end. Too bad as this, like most of Parsons’ instrumentals, would have made for some pretty good music if it were developed through a few progressions instead of coming off like some sort of sampler.

Colin Blunstone appears on “Somebody Out There”, but unfortunately this is much less impressive than “Old and Wise” from Eye in the Sky, which I believe was his previous contribution to the project. This sounds more like an early Saga tune than it does a Project song. Some fairly decent guitar work barely saves this one.

Woolfson closes the album with “The Same Old Sun”, a quiet Christopher Cross kind of thing that has a nice melodic feel to it, and some nice vocal accompaniment. On any other Project album this might have been a stronger track, but after listening to the rest of this thing, I’m usually a bit bored and just want this to get over.

This isn’t much of an album really, even when considered simply for its commercial value. As a progressive work it doesn’t even register on the radar. I am a huge fan of Parsons, Paton, and Woolfson, but this one is for collectors and guys who wear white leisure suits only. Two stars.

peace

Report this review (#97032)
Posted Friday, November 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm really sad to admit that this album is the less interesting work by Alan Parsons Project by far; the songs are boring, mainly because they propose the same structure and the same clichčs appeared on the previous albums, but without being incisive and convincing, but simply boring.Cronologically Vulture Culture is the perfect "preview" to another pretty awful album like the following one, in other words "Stereotomy". The only convincing track on the album is "The Same Old Sun", which has great lyrics and is beautifully arranged, with great strings and orchestra parts, but the rest of it is pretty flat, and, really boring; I found it quite hard to arrive to end of the record itself... You'll appreciate this album if you're keen on listening to the same Parsons clichčs, in spite of the final quality of it all... Moreover, the album is not prog, for the main part of it, but simply 80 pop...

I do NOT suggest you this album...

2 barely deserved stars.

Report this review (#114770)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Back in the days long since passed when my goal in life was to be a member of a successful and wildly famous rock & roll band, I used to have involved discussions (that's putting it tactfully) with one of my writing partners concerning the folly of his so- called "formula" for manufacturing hit songs. His theory was to compose tunes that sounded like the ones currently residing at the top of the charts. My retort was that by the time we penned, recorded, packaged and marketed those golden ditties at least a year would have come and gone and so would've the fickle taste of the public without fail. This album is a case in point.

By the time this LP hit the stores the team of Parsons & Woolfson had for years ceased all pretensions of attempting to be trail blazers and settled into the safer role of trend followers which, for the reason I stated above, doesn't work. And, lest you somehow be misled, there's not a smidgen of prog to be found here. Not a whisper. What you will discover is eight MTV-infected commercial tracks that sound like somebody else wrote them.

The aptly named "Let's Talk About Me" rolls out first and it perfectly epitomizes the narcissistic attitude of the 80s. This one bears the distinctive mark of Supertramp except that it doesn't come anywhere close to measuring up. If you were to mix the post-Gabriel/Hackett version of Genesis with a flash-in-the-pan video combo like the Thompson Twins you'd probably hear something akin to "Separate Lives." The next cut is actually rather charming and could possibly have been a smash for someone in the George Michaels mold. "Days are Numbers (The Traveller)" is a smooth, slick but memorable song that has a decent sax solo to enjoy. "Sooner or Later" follows and if you didn't know better you might swear that it's a tune from the Norwegian band A-Ha. (I hope I'm not making you nostalgic and/or nauseated for the 80s with all this but I'm honestly telling it like it is.)

Disco lives! Or at least it does on the title cut, "Vulture Culture," which sounds like a cross between Huey Lewis & the News and Michael Jackson. I think you catch my drift. But the plastic, soulless instrumental "Hawkeye" takes the ribbon for the worst tune on the album. It sounds like it could have been used as background music on a TV spot advertising "Barbie goes to the Ecstasy Rave" or something. It's embarrassingly lame. "Somebody Out There" starts off just like an Elton John number but then turns into something more fitting the movie "Flashdance." You know what I'm talking about, too. Makes you want to dance like a maniac. The ender, "The Same Old Sun," imitates the patented torch song methodology of Chicago complete with Peter Cetera- like vocals and it's sappier than a Vermont maple tree.

Of course the production and engineering is flawless as always and, for an AOR contemporary pop album, it's not too shabby. But this is a progressive rock website and that description's not going to make anyone reading this eager to fire it up in the CD player anytime soon. I mean, just look at the release date and that should tell you volumes. For fans only. 2.4 stars.

Report this review (#131629)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Vulture Culture continues the Alan Parsons Project's path towards a more commercial sounding album, much in the same respect as their previous endeavor, Ammonia Avenue. The album follows the usual APP formula of a general theme or concept, with the same host of session musicians and vocalists. This time the theme dealt with popular culture and a critique of consumerism. Originally this album was intended to be the second LP of a 2-LP album, and it shows as it sounds quite similar to Ammonia Avenue. The problem is, if this had been released this way, the second LP would have been the worse of the two. Vulture Culture seems quite a bit less inspired, both musically and lyrically, than Ammonia Avenue, and was a far cry from their Eye in the Sky and Turn of a Friendly Card albums.

Thus we have another pop rock release from APP, barely showing any resemblances towards progressive rock. Many APP fans tends to agree that this is where APP lost their stride. I wholeheartedly agree with this opinion. The Alan Parsons Project would never really approach the success and quality of music as they had in their prior albums for the remainder of their career. Two stars. For die-hard fans and collectors only.

Report this review (#154306)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars 1.5; *yawn...* let's talk about pop for a minute.

This was another of the albums I found on tape while rummaging through my parents' old music storage. As I looked through it I saw this album by Alan Parsons Project and thought, hey, that's a band on progarchives, I guess I might check it out. I had heard some of their stuff from the album Turn of a Friendly Card and really liked it. So I figured I'd give it a listen on the tape player, and, well...

It's a bit unfortunate that this should be the first of their albums for me to really check out, cause it was a pretty big disappointment. I'm the last person to hold prejudice against most eighties music from progressive bands, and even I thought this sounded dreadfully dated. In fact I tend to be against the notion of any music being dated, but this album was just too much regarding the eighties new wave keyboard sound that died out and never came back. It's probably the most commercial sounding album I have in my collection; it's nothing but boring repetitive pop with a few good moments here and there (and when I say moments, I mean an average one or two memorable measures per song). Even the keyboard work, which tended to be halfway decent with music of this time period, was relatively weak. Even the tenor saxophone solos on a couple songs were quickly forgotten, which doesn't happen too often since I love the saxophone in almost any context. Not to mention there's really nothing progressive here, hardly even a few mild hints of it. The album was just really boring.

Don't get me wrong, though, the music is dripping with emotion and is pretty well produced. It's just the emotion has little to no essence supporting it, making the album forgettable and, for me, a waste of 38 minutes of my music listening recreation. Only the first and last tracks, Let's Talk About Me and The Same Old Sun sparked any interest to me, and even those were less than mediocre.

I suppose this album is just another result of the commercial stranglehold the corporations had on music during the eighties. If you thought the eighties albums of Genesis and Yes were completely commercial, this album may in fact change your mind. As of this review, this is the band's lowest rated album, and for many good reasons. I'm not very familiar with this band's music overall, but frankly I would be surprised if this wasn't the bands worst studio album to date. So even a collector of the band's music should plan an getting this album last. It's wasn't a poor album for pop standards, but for prog standards...

Report this review (#186284)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Guilty pleasures # 2, I guess. I´ve always loved this album, especially around the time it was released. Ok, nothing´s really new here. Once again you have a fine collection of prog pop songs with nice melodies, great hooks, creative arrangements and orchestrations, superb production and all. But nowadays I have to admit that Vulture Culture (still a concept album of sorts) is probably their weakest momentm at least in prog terms. Even the sole instrumental of the whole album (Hawkeye) is too bland and superficial. Still I can´t give this one less than three stars, since all the above qualities (always a trademark of APP) are intact. And the songwriting duo of Woolfson and Parsons is something special, as ever. Two of the project´s best ballads are here anyway (Days Are Numbers and The Same Old Sun).

If you´re a fan of APP, go for it. If you´re a newbie try their earlier stuff first, than follow its discography in chronological order (at least until the late 80´s). Vulutre Culture is good on its own way, but certainly they have released better albums, before and after this one.

Report this review (#197744)
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Leftovers from Ammonia Avenue

The previous album, Ammonia Avenue, was not a very strong Alan Parsons Project album. In fact, it was one of their least interesting albums even. However, even Ammonia Avenue was far better than the present album! This collection of Pop tunes is literally leftovers from Ammonia Avenue which apparently was originally intended to be a double album! Thankfully that didn't happen and the Ammonia Avenue album turned out decent, but unremarkable.

Vulture Culture should really have stayed in the archives as it is almost wholly unlistenable. If you have heard Barclay James Harvest's mid-80's albums, you will have some idea of just how bad this is. Whatever Prog-tendencies were originally present in the Alan Parsons Project's music, it is totally absent here. This is Pop, pure and simple. And not good, inspired Pop, but weak and boring Pop. I'm sorry for this mean review, but this music really doesn't deserve any more serious commentary.

The Project would thankfully make better albums after this one.

Only for completionists!

Report this review (#210761)
Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars APP could hardly move me throughout their career. Even with their very praised first two albums.

This "Vulture Culture" started all fine I should say. Even if "Let's Talk About Me" is a pure Trampish rip off, it features these wonderful vocal experiences combined with so sweet melodies. Would this album mark a difference in their production? Well, while I am listening to the awfully electronic/disco "Separate Lives" I have to change my mind. The best advice is to press the next key as soon as you can.

Little prog to experience here, but this is not new with APP. Well produced stuff (at best), pleasant melodies like "Sooner Or Later" are available; but hell! Don't expect anything breathtaking. You won't get it out of here. Of course if disco eat is your treat, than a track like "Vulture Culture" might be appealing. But you might know that it is absolutely NOT my opinion.

The problem is that this album is just a long and poor story. I just can't stand the weak "Hawkeye". Not because of its vocals (since it an instrumental track) but just because it is just POOR.

Actually, most of this album is weak (except the good opening number). NOTHING (or so, so little) is to be expected from this work. To be honest, the popish and upbeat "Somebody Out There" is another decent track.

But to digest the painful closing "Same Old Sun" is a truly hard moment.

One star, no more.

Report this review (#225871)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Alan Parsons Project comes back with their 8th album and the only twist that it has on it's predecessors is that the orchestra is missing. No worries as the keys pick up the slack. With each release, the albums move farther from prog and closer to pop/rock. Returning are the beautiful melodies, multiple vocalists, a batch of songs written by Eric Woolfson and an instrumental by Alan Parsons. While all APP albums are concept based, and this one is about the dog eat dog world that we live in, the concept is loose enough so Vulture Culture can be listened to as a collection of singles. While AP's production is always top shelf, this album has a decidedly 80's sound that may not age well with everyone. There are some first rate songs but others, while sounding beautiful, do not stack up to prior glories. I did give this plenty of my time when it was released and while there really is no prog to be found here, I am captivated by the production and the vocals in particular. I can see why some may not like this album as it is not a complex album, but I'm not one of them.

3 just barely rounded to 4 stars for the production.

Report this review (#300165)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Isa
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars |F| As dreadful as the year of release might suggest.

There really isn't much to be said for this album. I'm among those who love their early work, and by chance stumbled across this album and found absolutely nothing worth noting. If you think eighties Genesis is pop rubbish, you just might be surprised how far they could've gone with writing forgettable dribble. This album makes Invisible Touch sound like a progressive masterpiece with memorable and timeless composition. No joke. Take out everything that was likable about APP's early work and this is basically what you're left with. All progressive tendencies or creativity or inspiration or even "pop enthusiasm" is gone.

Apparently these are leftovers from the previous album Ammonia Avenue, which was supposed to have this as a second LP. Sorry guys, but these songs aren't the kind of leftovers you keep for later.

Report this review (#500318)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Mission accomplished: the Project became a pure pop outfit and even abandoned orchestra for electronic/disco patterns.

Vulture Culture is both the weakest and the poppiest entry. Ok, the record sounds better than its predecessor Ammonia Avenue (apparently the two records were intended as two halves of a double album) but this album places a far greater emphasis on popish balladry.

The first four tracks are flat and annoying; although as immaculately produced (as every APP album), the instrumental passages are very dull and full of 80s cliché.

Only the sax solo in "Hawkeye" electric guitar in "Somebody Out There" are worthy of praise. The other tracks, unfortunately, sound very dated.

Those mechanical synth beats on (for example) "Separate Lives" and "Vulture Culture" are absolutely tasteless! Forgettable yet far from awful.

Report this review (#642242)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars "Vulture Culture" is 80s synth pop at its lowest degree, without a shred of the prog resonances that used to permeate each Alan Parsons Project album leading to the 80s. Success tarnished the brush and then the band opted to paint each canvas with infectious hooks, commercial AOR sounds and a sugar coated harmonised vocal treatment. The result is a very mediocre slew of albums. If one wants to delve into the best of the band it is definitely found in their first 3 albums along with "Eye in the Sky" and portions of others. I was warned primarily away from this album by the very fact that the songs rarely appear on Best Of APP compilations. Anyway I took the plunge and listened anyway.

At the end of the album I was left feeling empty as there is nothing really that hooks into me and not a shred of prog. The band desperately try to emulate the success of their killer singles by copying the 4 on the floor time sig and tempo of Eye in the Sky and they even throw in the odd instrumental that comes off as a fish out of water. Nothing really here can be salvaged unless you are into mainstream 80s pop with synth tincan drums; though some of the melodies do their job at locking into your system such as catchy Separate Lives and Days are Numbers.

Mel Collins does his best on saxophone as usual and the vocals are always top notch but this is very by the numbers pop and belongs in another decade rather than returning to 30 years later in the hope that it stands the test of time. If one grew up with the album they may be more forgiving but this is really as bad as the most commercial Asia album and nailed the prog coffin shut for Alan Parsons Project.

Report this review (#897255)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Now have I come to Alan Parsons Project's eighth studio album "Vulture Culture" and now for the first time with this band I feel forced to kind of let the album down. Compared with other APP albums this is quite mediocre. The red cover shows an ancient find, a snake biting its own tail. The musicians were David Paton, Stuart Elliott, Ian Bairnson, Eric Wooldson, Richard Cottle, Alan Parsons, Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek and Colin Blunstone. The record was released the same year as their earlier "Ammonia avenue" but it holds not the same class.

Vulture Culture starts with a quite nice song "Let's talk about me" which has something of Supertramp in it but in some ways I find it deficient(5/10). I have almost the same thoughts about "Separate lives"(5/10) but "Days are numbers" is inferior unfortunately(4/10). "Sooner or later" then is the album's best song a very melodic and harmonic song with a great flow and a lovely texture(6/10). In the title track the saxophone is amongst the only things I actually liked(4/10). The instrumental "Hawkeye" is second best here(6/10). I like its laziness and the saxophone. "Somebody out there" is a rocky and decent song (5/10) but "The same old sun" feels like something reused and enough uninteresting for me(4/10).

Over all must I say this is Alan Parsons Project's least interesting piece so far. It is not a bad record but I can't place it amongst relevant records. I recommend these songs: "Hawkeye" and "Sooner or later" which are representing the greatness of this band: its ability to combine pop rock music with intelligence and clever song making. But otherwise there are better records to listen to.

Report this review (#1284556)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars Downstream goes on! APP couldn't save going downhill on this record. Instead of waiting for better ideas to come, two more albums came out in a short time, Vulture Culture and Stereotomy. Out of two, Vulture Culture is inferior. "Talk about me" is only interesting because of yet another influence - the traces of Supertramp can be found here. "Separate lives" is an underdeveloped APP track with typical sound but not very strong invention. "Days are numbers" is a too generic 80's ballad unrecognizable from others. "Sooner or later" with Eric Woolfson borrows equally from Beatles and ELO - it is catchy and easy to chew but not with a large depth beneath. The title track belongs to the weakest ones on the album. At last "Hawkeye" and "The same old sun" save the album to deserve 2 stars.
Report this review (#2119076)
Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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