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


Alan Parsons Band

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Worth a try indeed

With Eric Woolfson departed, "Project" was dropped from the band name, leaving just "Alan Parsons" as the artist. This is somewhat misleading as performance wise his contribution is limited. He is of course the producer, engineer, main songwriter, and general supremo, but as with APP albums, he gathers together a number of fine artists to assist.

The songs are generally strong, very much in the vein of the Woolfson/Parsons collaborations of the APP, it is almost as if Parsons is trying to prove that Woolfson was not the biggest influence after all. I have to say that this album goes beyond that, suggesting that in terms of moving on, Woolfson's influence may have been holding things back. There is a freshness and energy here which went missing on many of the tracks by APP on later albums.

"Mr Time" is the track which catches the ear initially. It's an instantly appealing, if ultimately very simple, song with a strong hook. There are however plenty of quality tracks, including four instrumentals in addition to good instrumental passages on the others.

Chris Thomson (Manfred Man's Earth Band) takes lead vocal on a couple of songs, his distinctive vocals giving the album a welcome variation in sound. Tracks such as "The three of me" and "Oh life" are developed well, hinting far more at the prog influences which made "Tales of Mystery and imagination.." such a great album.

"Try anything one" is a fine album, worthy indeed of trying at least once.

Report this review (#5671)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first one produced after Eric Woolfson dropping off, this album is better than an old Parsons fan might expect (or want to admit). The sound is new and fresh, reviving, cool and clear. A friend of mine borrowed this album from me once. He enjoyes bands like Dream Theater, and he really loved "Try Anything Once". And as I thought of it, some of it is actually somewhat similar to something that DT might come up with, atleast when it comes to the sound.

This album has a sort of dark thread running through it, with every song having something troublesome or worrying in them. For a fan of the old Alan Parsons Project tunes and for hardcore prog-lovers, I think this album could be a bit of a disappointment. This is not so much a progressive album as it is a rock album. But it is a very good rock album, very melodic and exciting. The songs really have the power to awaken many feelings, not so much because of the lyrics but more through the music. "The Three of Me" starts you off in a confused mind, still capable of creating nice music. Bit of a warning for sensitive ears; this track starts off with some loud and heavy musical 'explosions'. As the title suggest, this is a song of someone believing he is actually three different persons simultaneously. "Turn it Up" is in my opinion the best song on the album, both the lyrics and the music encouraging you to stand up for what you believe in. It's a very nice piece of rock, gets you up and up in a bigger and bigger crescendo towards the end. Superb. "Mr. Time" is also a very good song; although being over eight minutes long, it feels like much less. There's action and energy in the music, keeping you inside the song for the duration of those eight minutes, never losing focus on the main theme. "Siren Song" is, as the name suggests, an appealing, soothing and relaxing song, plunging into the very dream- like "Dreamscape", leaving you in a mindscape similar to that desert where they took the pictures for the cover art. Finally, "Oh Life (There Must Be More)" wraps it all up, ending the album in a magnificently beautiful and touching piece, being the story of a woman taking her own life as she jumps from a bridge at dawn. Listen to this album, let it soar into you, stay with you, arouse feelings in you and let the music run through you and you will find this album better than one might think at first glance. Beautifully put together, it is an excellent addition to any rock listener's collection.

Report this review (#5673)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
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.
Report this review (#5674)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my opinion the highest point, along with "The Time Machine", of Parsons' album. This album is really AMAZING: I loved it from the very first time I listened to it! Every song on this album is somewhat of visionary: infact the real strenght point of this album is its visual aspect, in other words, his gift to take you somewhere else, an aspect that every real prog album should have. This album is composed for its main by GREAT songs, infact the only weak point of it all is a piece called "Back Against The Wall", but for the rest of it you'll get wonderful tunes like "The Three Of Me" which opens the cd with a very catchy melodic line and great arrangement (an aspect common to every song on "Try Anything Once")

2. Turn It Up - A great song with a toto-ish melodic line, very delightful. 3. Wine From The Water - A groovy song built around a bluesy-Electric piano riff, very good. 4. Breakaway - The BEST instrumental appeared on a Parsons' album, this track shows the real talent of Alan himself to compose and arrange a tune, absolutely mind-blowing! 5. Mr.Time - A very good performance by the female vocalist Jacqui Copland, this song opens with Ian Bairnson playing his guitar in a very Gilmourish way (The delay-filtered guitar on the opening of the song is clearly influenced by Another Brick In The Wall pt.1) 6. Jigue - Another good instrumental; a piece with a melodic line influenced by medieval ethnic songs rearranged for modern instruments. 7. I'm Talking To You - One of the weakest moments in the album, but a good tune in the end... 8. Siren Song - A Very GREAT acoustic song ; a tune that carries you away making you travel with your mind thanks to a really good arrangement and to a dreaming melodic line 9. Dreamscape - A BEAUTIFUL instrumental feturing only a couple of keyboards and a guitar, a very Floydian atmosfere dominates this truly relaxing piece of music. 10. Back Against The Wall - The only awful song on this album, a very repeatitive tune. 11. Re-Jigue - It's the second part of "Jigue" but this time the orchestra is at the centre of the attention, a great Andrew Powell work. 12. Oh Life (There Must Be More) - In my opinion the best track on an album which coulld only be defined AWESOME, this song is a masterpiece, Great lyrics, Great Arrangements, Great Performance, this tune doesn't miss anything...

Let's try anything once!!!

Report this review (#69875)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fine album. Not more. However I thinki that the importance of Alan Parsons in the story of Prog is indubitable. This album is the first with this name but in this version the difference with Project aren't clear. The cover is extreme bad... But the music... POP, because this is but Prog in arrangenents, where notable. Is also an album for fine Progsters because the flavour and the feelings are Prog flavours and feelings also if too musicians are involved. Also for me "Mr. Time" is the best song in "Try Anithing Once" because the voice of female voice is very good. Also Chris Thompson have in possess of good voice and the songs where sung are good also for this reason. A new life for Alan Parsons... A new fine POP album but for fine Progsters. And for my soul and heart!
Report this review (#132618)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Try Anything Once was Alan Parsons' first solo album after the breakup of the Alan Parsons Project due to differences between Eric Woolfson and Parsons. As one might imagine, it still follows an almost predictable formula that had been implemented over countless APP albums. Again, Parsons' main role is producer and engineer, but he participates more on contributing to the performance by sitting behind the keyboards, and even contributing acoustic guitar, bass, flute, and backing vocals. In addition to his contributions, he brings along regular APP contributor and guitarist Ian Bairnson. After all, it wouldn't sound like a Parsons-related album without Bairnson. Other guests that contributed include David Pack (Ambrosia), Eric Stewart (Mindbender and 10cc), and Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Earth Band), among others.

So what does an Alan Parsons solo album sound like? In many ways, just like an APP album without Woolfson. It's chiefly pop rock with slight progressive tendencies in places. There's a selection of rock numbers, some ballads, some upbeat numbers, and some instrumentals. All of it of course is impeccably produced in the Parsons tradition.

Now, one might ask, is this really just like APP? And the answer is yes and no. Parsons does explore new musical ground on this album, but it's not really in the progressive rock genre. It tends to be more in the popular music arena in which he gets these new ideas. Another difference, is that many of the songs are credited to a wide variety of people. Parsons is only credited on six of the twelve songs. And finally, this is the first Parsons album released that has no theme.

Definitely an interesting album that should appeal to APP fans, but unfortunately, it leans more towards pop music than progressive music. Like in previous reviews for APP albums, I would recommend starting with APP's debut album long before acquiring this. Two stars. Chiefly for fans and collectors.
Report this review (#155737)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars There is really no good reason to make a distinction between the Alan Parsons Project and the Alan Parsons Band; list this album together with the Project's albums in your collection. Musically this is very much a continuation of what Parsons had done through the years with the Project. This album is, I would say, better than most of the Project's albums, however.

As on the Project's albums, there are several different vocalists involved here, singing on different tracks. Surprisingly this works better here than on most of their other albums. The instruments are all very well played and the production is excellent (as always with Parsons).

The most interesting track is Jigue, which is a folky instrumental featuring fiddle and mandolin and other instruments associated with Folk music (in addition to electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and sax). This piece could be categorized as Prog Folk or as modern Folk rock. I love that kind of stuff! Re-Jigue is a symphonic piece reprising the theme of Jigue.

Mr. Time would have fitted perfectly on Rick Wakeman's Time Machine album (which also was a concept album about time that actually sounded very much like an Alan Parsons Project album!).

The biggest problem with this album is that the songs, though all very well written, few are really memorable, or for that matter very adventurous.

Report this review (#191160)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars "Try Anything Once" is the first Alan Parsons album without singer Eric Woolfson. And he dropped the word "Project" from the band's name. But the sound is still very much the same, a blend of art rock and AOR. Unfortunately, the AOR wins out hands down.

There are a few good songs. The Three Of Me and Wine From The Water both are reminiscent of classic 10CC (the latter helped by having 10CC's Eric Stewart on vocals). Breakaway does a fair job of capturing the feel of I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You from "I Robot". And Jigue is a fair instumental folk rock piece.

But the rest is well produced, but fairly bland adult contemporary rock, suitable for those stations Teri Garr used to do commercials for.

2.5 stars. I'll be generous and round it up.

Report this review (#298135)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2010 | Review Permalink

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