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STEREOTOMY

Alan Parsons Project

Crossover Prog


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Alan Parsons Project Stereotomy album cover
2.71 | 145 ratings | 16 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stereotomy (7:15)
2. Beaujolais (4:27)
3. Urbania (4:34)
4. Limelight (4:39)
5. In The Real World (4:17)
6. Where's The Walrus? (7:34)
7. Light Of The World (6:22)
8. Chinese Whispers (1:02)
9. Stereotomy Two (1:18)

Total Time: 41:58

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- David Paton / bass
- Stuart Elliott / drums & percussion
- Ian Bairnson / electric & acoustic guitars
- Richard "Trix" Cottle / synths and saxes
- Eric Woolfson, Alan Parsons / pianos & keyboards
- John Miles, Chris Rainbow, Gary Brooker, Eric Woolfson, Graham Dye and Steve Dye / vocals

- Philharmonia Orchestra arranged and conducted by Andrew Powell

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Stereotomy ratings distribution


2.71
(145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
16%
Good, but non-essential (42%)
42%
Collectors/fans only (25%)
25%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Stereotomy reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I LOVE the keyboards so much here! Listen to all that stuff! It's a really interesting exploration of the newer technology! This record is probably his best one in the 80's. The vocals are very good, and if it is not extremely progressive, at least you have those keyboards to appreciate! Nothing complex on this record! The guitars are quite good too, and the compositions are never crap. Listen to this subtle floating background keyboard on "Urbania" while the nervous stuff is in the front! On "Where's The Walrus?", the beat is almost like on "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" by Frankie goes to Hollywood. "Chinese Whispers" is another keyboards jewel intro.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5654) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I gotta tell you up front, I'm not at all certain what any of this means. The demonic album cover, the references to a man divided, songs about the real world and the way it shapes us, the closing "Light of the World" that looks for the "fire in a true believer's eye." Anyway I look at it, "Stereotomy" seems to be about finding true meaning in the world, though this isn't a diamond cut for clarity. So I'll put the album's concept aside for a moment, file its possible religious ramifications under K for KANSAS, and tell you about the music. Despite the group's waning popularity, "Stereotomy" still delivers what you'd expect from a good Alan Parsons project: immaculate engineering, mildly hypnotic instrumentals, a lush ballad or two and a couple of catchy pop songs. Some (wink, wink) PINK FLOYD references remain, from brief bursts of Gilmourian guitar to spoken voices in the segues between songs, as does an invitation to dance again with Lucy in the Sky on "Light of the World" (vocalist GRAHAM DYE initially sounds like a ringer for John Lennon). The album's single, "Stereotomy", is certainly substantial, but maybe a little too so for a single; "Beaujolais" is far and away the catchier track (synchronized to THE POLICE's radio), but again perhaps too quirky for a radio APPetizer. The instrumentals break things up nicely (though at the expense of story development), with "Urbania" and "Where's The Walrus?" providing the usual two-penny tour of PINK FLOYD's dark corridors. Of the remaining songs, Gary Brooker's cameo on "Limelight" comes off sAPPy (remember "Don't Let It Show?"), but JOHN MILES achieves a coolly detached stance on "In The Real World," a song that otherwise would have worked on ASIA's less-inspired efforts (you know, the other ones).

If the music of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT speaks to you, then go ahead and listen to "Stereotomy". What's missing from here is a readily identifiable hit, what remains is the quality associated with all of their releases.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#5655) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Gary Brooker in the limelight

The Alan Parsons Project, being as they were a studio based "project" led by Eric Wolfson and Alan Parsons, had the luxury of being able to call upon guest vocals whom they felt would be appropriate for a particular track. This gave their albums the potential for great diversity, a facet they did not always exploit to the full. Too often, the various singers end up sounding similar to each other, overwhelmed by the everything but the kitchen sink approach adopted during production.

"Stereotomy" however is different. The chosen vocalists are individually strong, including as they do John Miles, Chris Rainbow, and the great Gary Brooker (Procol Harum). There is still the familiar APP pop sound, particularly on the lightweight tracks such as "Beujolais" and "In the real world" There is also the obligatory couple of instrumentals which always seem to sound the same, but there are also some more adventurous, well constructed pieces too.

The title track is a great upbeat opener, with the single word title being used to great phonetic effect (similar to the way Russ Ballard used to do so well on Argent tracks like "Liar" and "Tragedy".)

"Limelight", the track featuring Gary Brooker's voice stand head and shoulders above the other tracks. It is truly one of the APP's defining moments. Admittedly Brooker could make any lyric sound emotional, but when he gets the right song, as he does here, the results can be stunning.

For those wishing to discover the APP, this would make a good early choice.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#5656) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Sterotomy for me is the lowest point of the APP and it does not get any better throughout the whole album. Sad in a way that the APP theme never changed direction at all and became more and more of the same diluted formuale over and over again ad nauseum. ' In the real world' the only standout track.

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Posted Thursday, September 02, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Alan Parsons Project always delivers generally good music in the vein of pop-rock - hey, don't expect something prog here! - with excellent combination of vocal quality (plus harmony) and nice keyboard punches. Well, you might hear some nice guitar shots as well to ensure that rock lovers would love this album as well. You don't need to wait that long as the opening track "Stereotomy" really gives you enough guitar solo with good singing line and of course keyboard work. Yes, it's an interesting pop-rocker with relatively long duration. In fact, what makes this album interesting for me is the guitar work - really cool. Tracks like "Beaujolais" and "Urbania" give me enough guitar work. "Limelight" is a ballad slow rock with a bit of "Floydian" guitar work. The instrumental work like "Where's The Walrus" is a good song to enjoy especially on the combined keyboard and guitar works.

In this record Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson make "stereotomy" a tougher sounding in which many fans acclaim it. This can be considered as a powerful, punchy, mostly hard-rocking album, and it's probably one of the Alan Parsons Project's best. The album is good from beginning to end, with first-rate songs & instrumentals, energetic musicianship & production (no wonder - he's the man behind Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of The Moon!), and excellent lead vocals by John Miles, Chris Rainbow, Gary Brooker and Graham Dye. "Stereotomy" remains one of the group's best releases. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#75832) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Stereotomy pretty much signaled the end for the Project. They would release Gaudi a couple years later, but that album was pretty much buried in the wash of grunge sweeping across record store shelves and is largely forgettable.

Too bad, because for the first time in several years Parsons manages to reinvigorate the band’s sound with more punch than anything since Turn of a Friendly Card. Though largely digital, the drums are quite prominent on most of the album. Andrew Powell reappears with his orchestral arrangements after a brief hiatus too, but again there is too much digitized music here and what little orchestral work there is gets buried by the myriad of keyboards.

The title track is punchy and rather aggressive for a Project tune, but the saxophone and percussion date this song badly, and it doesn’t stand the test of time well.

Same goes for “Beaujolais”, which is further tainted by some weird kind of massaging being done to Chris Rainbow’s vocals. He has one of those voices that reminds you of a whole generation of seventies singer-songwriters, so the poppy treatment he gets here is both unnecessary and a bit odd. The sound effects are just annoying, and the whole thing is just slightly improved by Ian Bairnson’s pretty decent guitar work.

Parsons manages to include three instrumentals on this album, the first being “Urbania”. Except for the Kenny G-like brass solo in the middle this kind of reminds me of some of the Group 87 stuff from earlier in the decade – sort of jazzy but very calculated and driven with a purpose by the guitar work. Other than “Where’s the Walrus?”, this is the best instrumental the band recorded since “Sirius”.

“Limelight” is a mellow number with a pleasantly surprising appearance by Procol Harum vocalist Gary Brooker. This has a bit of a throwback feel thanks to Brooker’s vocals and some solid drum work, but is slightly tainted by the cheesy eighties digital sound effects at times. Nevertheless, this is a solid tune and helps to mark the album as a definite improvement over the previous two.

I can’t remember if “In the Real World” was a single, but it sure sounds like it was meant to be one. The digital drums are tinny and faint here, and former Roxy Music drummer John Miles sings, but he is a bit flat and seems uninspired. I think this might have been a stronger number with real drums and perhaps with Eric Woolfson on vocals. Who knows…

“Where’s the Walrus?” refers to a comment made by friend of the band Abrams, who made the comment in reference to what he felt was a missing ‘punch’ to the band’s music. This is a very strong track, with a spacey and aggressive sound that hearkens very much back to the I Robot days of the band. I believe this is also the longest instrumental the band ever recorded, and one of the few times Parsons actually took the time to flesh out the composition with a decent variety of sounds and varied progressions. This track would form the centerpiece of the band’s retrospective Instrumental Works compilation just a few years later.

“Light of the World” starts out with promise, delicate piano and Graham Dye’s (from the short-lived throwback band Scarlet Party) heavily accented vocals giving this a classical pop feel to it. The song wanders along but never really makes an impression, but it’s a decent enough piece of music and is much more interesting than anything on the previous two or three albums.

The last two tracks (“Chinese Whispers” and “Stereotomy 2”) are one-minute long little musical vignettes that don’t seem to serve much purpose except to warn the listener that the album is about to end.

This isn’t anywhere near as memorable as any of the Project’s first three albums, but it is definitely more interesting and varied than most of the other stuff they did in the eighties. This is just slightly better than a collectors-only piece, but mostly just for the first two instrumentals and for “Limelight”. So we’ll give this three stars and go back to missing the band’s early works.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#97033) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 03, 2006

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Stereotomy was the ninth studio album by the Alan Parsons Project and holds a somewhat special feeling for me because it was the first APP album I ever bought. What attracted me towards purchasing this was the playing of the title track on the radio. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before and I just loved the interesting keyboard soundscapes it contained. I was in my music-listening infancy at the time this came out, so many years afterward I realized there was so much more in the progressive rock landscape. All these years later, it has put Stereotomy in its proper place and context, but I still have an appreciation for this work.

Like on previous APP albums, again Parsons follows his usual formula consisting of a core of session musicians, guest vocalists, impeccable production and engineering, and a general theme or concept. This time the theme was the effect of fame, fortune, or stardom on various types of people (like singers, actors, and so on). The title of the album was taken from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The word itself means: the science or art of cutting solids into certain features or sections (like arches for example), especially the art of stonecutting. It's also a scientific term for enclosing scientific samples in wax and then cutting them into fine shavings. However, for this album, the word is used as a metaphor for the way that famous people are shaped by the demands of their fame. From first listens of this album, this concept doesn't appear very clearly. In fact, I found the lyrics to be somewhat confusing. I had to do some minimal research in a library to figure this one out years ago when I had the time to do such things.

Musically, this album shows more of a progressive rock touch than the preceding two albums. In fact, much of it sounds quite different from any preceding APP album. But keep in mind, the songs are still based on a pop rock foundation. They're just more "expansive" (I can't think of a better term to use) than previous songs by the band. Featured vocalists include Gary Brooker (Procal Harum), John Miles, Chris Rainbow, and Graham and Steven Dye (Scarlet Party). It is definitely as engaging as an album as Eye in the Sky or I Robot, but I wouldn't rate it as equivalent to those. It's kind of a unique animal all its own.

Stereotomy is definitely a must-have for APP fans, but I would recommend others to start with their debut album, then follow up with I Robot, Turn of a Friendly Card, and Eye in the Sky before getting this album. Three stars seems like a suitable rating for me, maybe four stars if this were being rated on a "Rock Archives" site. A really good album, but not really essential.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#154630) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 07, 2007

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars A return to form after some weak albums!

After the weak duo of (the decent) Ammonia Avenue and (the awful) Vulture Culture, the Alan Parsons Project returned to form with the present album. There was a well defined formula for the Alan Parsons Project that they rarely detracted from. You could even argue that, if you know one of their albums you know them all. This is not quite true, however. Stereotomy is in some ways an exception, but in some other ways it is a typical Alan Parsons Project album.

The formula which is often followed involves several invited guest vocalists on different tracks; the instrumentation is electronic keyboards (never flashy), electric guitars (usually not too flashy, but they sound better here than on most other Project albums), drums (rather simple and sometimes even programmed) and sometimes some sax. Stereotomy is no exception here. But it works better here than on many previous albums.

Another typical aspect of Alan Parsons Project albums are that they are very well produced. Indeed, Parsons is mainly a producer. Stereotomy is no exception to this rule either. This album is a bit more consistent than some other Project albums, this means also that there are not really any stand-out tracks here like the excellent La Sagrada Familia from Gaudi, for example.

There are three instrumentals on this album, which is unusual. They will not blow you away, but they range from decent to very good. The drums and programmed keyboards on Where Is The Walrus? are way too repetitive and patterned for my tastes, it gives a very stale, cold and robotic feeling (quite typical of the Project). This track is also way too long for its own good. The best instrumental is the short Chinese Whispers that features great acoustic guitar. This track leads directly into the short reprise of the title track. This is easily the strongest part of the whole album.

The worst part of the album is probably In The Real World, that reminds me very much of the band Magnum (and the worst type of Magnum song!). This is even more 80's sounding than the rest of the album! If you can't stand typical 80's sound and production you should avoid this album like the plague.

This is not the best Alan Parsons Project album, but it is certainly not the worst either. It is not as good as Gaudi, but I like it more than many other Project albums actually.

Good, but non-essential.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#191399) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 01, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Probably the best Alan parsons Project album since The Turn Of A Friendly Card. It was released in a time APP seemed to be closer and closer to the mainstream pop So it was a quite nice surprise for the fans. Critics bashed it merciless, like they always did. What was really unfair I think, since this album is quite inspired and convincing, with much more prog elements here than they had on previous releases. Of course this is not symphonic prog like Yes or Genesis (although it is more focused and intesresting then both of those bands at the time).

It is ok that the drum sound is very 80's, but Parsons, being the seasoned producer he was, managed to make it sound less dated and obvious than most of the that decade's artistis did. In fact, he always used the modern technology in his favour. This is specilly true with the title track, one of their best. But there many stand out tunes as well, like the beautiful ballad (with Procol Harum's Gary Brooker on lead vocals) Limelight. The instrumental Where's The Walrus is another fine song and Beaujolais was always a favorite. The remaining tracks are fine too, but does not match those mentioned.

All in all a very good work of APP at a time the project seemed to be losing ground steadly. Still no up to their first 3 releases, but very good anyway.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#198242) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 09, 2009

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars As usual, there are lots of pop sounds featured and little prog ones. Nothing new under the Project's umbrella...

Synthetic and quite disturbing "sounds" have to be experienced during the opener and title track but one of the worse is definitely "Beaujolais". It is so much better to have a drink of that wine than to listen to such a weak number?On par with the poor "In the Real World". Tchak boum, tchak boum. Press next.

Through the years, there has been little to no evolution in their sounds and the song writing has regularly decreased in quality. What's left here is some sort of AOR'ish bundle which can't really capture my attention. The classic instrumental piece featured here ("Urbania") is no other. But on this album, there are several of the kind (I mean instrumental) like the dance " Where's The Walrus". Quite difficult to bear actually.

Even the great Gary Brooker can't prevent "Limelight" to be just average. Not because of his superb vocal part: no, just because the melody is weak and the whole sounds flat (except Gary). Mellowish to death, really.

A nice rock ballad in the form of "Light Of The World" was the best I could find here, although the very short "Chinese Papers" allows some escape from these awful beats and offers some fine acoustic guitar (but it lasts for only 60 seconds).

In all, I am not really charmed with this album (but few of their works could do so). Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#226223) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In eighties Alan Parsons Project became more nostalgia, than active interesting band. This album, even if far not his worst one, just confirms that.

Main problem of many APP releases - they are full of straight forward pop-rock, often melodic, but too uninspired and simplistic to be attractive. Stereotomy isn't exception. All the album's songs are quite similar, of the same rhythm and same simple rhythm and structure. Happily there are few different vocalists, then at least songs are slightly different in vocals.

Variations in music fluctuates from primitive AOR tracks to The Police-like song to open soft-pop rock. Doesn't sound very attractive? OK, Guys know their work in studio, so all this material is packed in one without big mistakes, but in a bit old-fashion way.

And , looking from time distance, as many other APP albums this one is aged badly. Simplistic straight-forward old-fashioned soft rock with few prog accessories? Hmm, can't find better tag for this album. But - still nostalgic, with some naive smell from eighties...

My rating is 2+.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#291365) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the commercial gold of both 'Eye In The Sky' and 'Ammonia Avenue' - two excellent albums that nevertheless eschewed progressive pomp in favour of slick pop-rock - 'Stereotomy', an album based on the rather obscure concept of the public expectations of famous individuals - sought to continue the musical trend albeit now with two feet entrenched firmly in the 1980s. Whereas both predecessors retained a sense of the previous decade both in their instrumental construction and musical execution, 'Stereotomy' is all snazzy synthesizers, gated reverb drums and big choruses, the core creative duo of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson cooking up a slick rock sound that may sound rather dated to 21st century ears. However, that's not to say 'Stereotomy' is not worth the admission price for those Alan Parsons Project fans who are searching for more after exhausting the group's early progressive rock recordings. Eric Woolfson's ability to concoct achingly catchy pop hooks and emotive balladry has always been the outfits strongest point, and even in these critically- panned latter releases his ear for such things remains resolutely in check. The album opens promisingly, with the powerful seven-minute title-track - one of Woolfson's rockiest numbers - morphing into the cool electronic balladry of 'Beaujolais', showcasing not only Woolfson's deft songwriting touch but also Parson's assured technical wizardry which lends both track and album the highly-polished production sheen that made his name back in the early-seventies(Parsons engineered both The Beatles 'Abbey Road' Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' whilst at Abbey Road studios). Sadly, however, the rest of 'Stereotomy' fails to live up to its excellent beginning, the remaining tracks providing an undistinguished trail through mediocre pop territory that lacks the inventive streaks of the duo's better pieces. As a result, 'Stereotomy' proved not only a critical failure, but also a commercial one - the first of The Alan Parsons Project's career - and began a downward spiral continued on the lacklustre 'Vulture Culture'(1985) and final release 'Gaudi'(1987). Recommended for die-hard project lovers only then, but in the opening gambit you really do have one of the group's finest individual pieces.

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#808463) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
1 stars Following in 1985 hot on the heels of the dreadful "Vulture Culture" comes this marginally better album by the Alan Parsons Project. I have been listening and reviewing every APP album over this week and now we are really scraping the barrel as far as prog goes. There is little to none here so the band have simply become a throwaway 80s act. Yet they can play so well and have some incredible skills; it is just that it is not on display on these mid 80s albums. For that you need to go back to the first 3 albums and "Eye In The Sky". Anyway, here are the mid 80s and it is as usual a death to prog and a hello to radio friendly slush.

Here we have on offer the best track Stereotomy, that is polished studio 80s clarity, tinny synth drums, 4 on the floor sig, and pleasant vocals. The band really play it by the numbers on this release, even Eric Woolfson is wasted talent on this. Occasionally you get some uptempo rock such as In The Real World, with catchy choruses sung too many times and Woolfson's instrumental break.

The next few track blur into insignificance and then it is the instrumental Where's The Walrus? It has a techno beat that appealed for a while though is nothing really special. The guitar is well played, the sax sounds nice, the beat is vibrant, but it is nothing like the amazing instrumentals on earlier APP albums such as "Pyramid" or "I. Robot". Cottle is on sax but is not as good as Mel Collins. Andrew Powell once again provides orchestra but it is not enough to save this album from oblivion.

Next up is Light Of The World, a sappy ballad with nice singing and nice keyboards but forgettable and tedious. We finish with two extremely short tracks, though I am ready to give this one up so it is good that it is almost over. Chinese Whispers (1:02) and Stereotomy Two (1:18). How do I describe these? The first is slow and tedious guitar and keys and then a reprise of a song that opened the song; anyone else smell filler here?

There are some who will like this but as a prog fan reviewing on a prog site it is simply a worthless album. I have heard all APP albums up to this point and it is getting worse. I have heard the best and hopefully the worst which is this album and "Vulture Culture". Hopefully the next album "Gaudi" will be much much better, but I am not holding my breath on this.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#897353) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Latest members reviews

1 stars I think this album is really awful, the worst release by the Alan Parsons Project, because of its totally lack of inspiration that comes out from the tracks: it alternates very hardly listening songs like "Stereotomy Pt.1" , "Beaujolais", "In The Real World" (tracks not reflecting at all Parso ... (read more)

Report this review (#69471) | Posted by Malve87 | Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Stereotomy' is a personal favorite mainly for nostalgic purposes. I was born the year this came out and much of it was featured as the soundtrack to home movies of me as a grinning little baby. (Beaujolais, while I was being bathed and wrapped in a towel to be exact) My dad was apparantly a b ... (read more)

Report this review (#44042) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars APP does it digitally for the first time here...If you're a fan of rock production this record is a must...I would'nt put it with their finest work...Little here worth a second listen althogh "chinese whispers" is short but memorable...Nothing from this effort makes it to the concert stages... ... (read more)

Report this review (#5659) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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