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ALAN PARSONS PROJECT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Alan Parsons Project biography
The ALAN PARSONS PROJECT is a "project" of acclaimed English producer Alan PARSONS, best known for his works with The BEATLES's "Abbey Road" and PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side of the Moon". Along with songwriter Eric WOOLFSON, PARSONS created a series of 10 (and counting) albums of progressive rock, employing a rotating cast of session musicians to do most of the performing. (PARSONS does play keyboard and sings on some tracks.). He creates the concept, writes some of the music and hires the artists, while WOOLFSON writes the lyrics, some of the music and sings on many tracks. Additionally, Andrew POWEL joined the project in 1976 as musical arranger.

"Tales of Mystery and Imagination" (1975): The theme of this album is inspired by he works of Edgar Allen Poe.
"I Robot" (1977): The story of the rise of machine and the decline of man, which paradoxically coincided with his discovery of the wheel.
"Pyramid" (1978): "Pyramid" examined the power of ancient myths.
"Eve" (1979): "You can't live with them. You can't live without them."
"The Turn of a Friendly Card" (1980): "a reflection of something that was going on in my subconscious. It's tied up with Monte Carlo, gambling there and taking risks generally."
"Eye in the Sky" (1982): "a cautionary tale about the loss of individualism."
"Ammonia Avenue" (1984): The title track was inspired in part by a Petro-Chemical plant in Middlesborough, England.
"Vulture Culture" (1984): "an unsparing look at modern society, at contemporary relationships and the business of popular culture."
"Stereotomy (1985)": The word Stereotomy comes from Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".
"Gaudi" (1987): This album was inspired by the life and works of Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926), a Catalan architect whose grand conception, The Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.
"Freudiana" (1990): PARSONS and WOOLFSON planned an album called "Freudiana", about the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud.

See also:
- Eric Woolfson

Alan Parsons Project official website

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ALAN PARSONS PROJECT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.03 | 477 ratings
Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe
1976
3.75 | 341 ratings
I Robot
1977
3.31 | 239 ratings
Pyramid
1978
2.66 | 191 ratings
Eve
1979
3.42 | 268 ratings
The Turn Of A Friendly Card
1980
3.29 | 296 ratings
Eye In The Sky
1982
2.92 | 158 ratings
Ammonia Avenue
1984
2.23 | 138 ratings
Vulture Culture
1984
2.71 | 139 ratings
Stereotomy
1985
2.99 | 147 ratings
Gaudi
1987
3.46 | 90 ratings
Freudiana
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2011
2.54 | 26 ratings
The Sicilian Defence
2014

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.08 | 6 ratings
Extended Versions
2004

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 34 ratings
The Best of Alan Parsons Project
1983
2.84 | 18 ratings
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Vol. II
1988
2.56 | 20 ratings
The Instrumental Works
1988
3.20 | 5 ratings
Anthology
1991
3.46 | 19 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
2.95 | 3 ratings
Works
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
Anthology
2002
3.00 | 2 ratings
Silence and I: The very Best of
2003
3.46 | 19 ratings
The Essential Alan Parsons Project
2007
2.67 | 3 ratings
I Robot (Legacy Edition)
2013

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 2 ratings
An Eye Opener 7'' flexi
1981
3.80 | 6 ratings
Time
1981
3.45 | 10 ratings
Eye In The Sky (single)
1982
3.25 | 4 ratings
Let's Talk About Me
1985

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Time by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.80 | 6 ratings

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Time
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Both songs from this single were taken from their "The Turn of a Friendly Car" album from 1980.

"Time", in my opinion, is one of the best songs from this band, and one of my favourites from them. It has very good orchestral arrangements, piano, acoustic guitars, drums, bass, very good lead vocals by Eric Woolfson, very good backing vocals (mainly by Chris Rainbow), and of course a very good recording and mixing (as always) by Alan Parsons. This song was a Hit single, and it is still played in some FM radio stations in my city. Despite Woolfson was not a very good lead singer, he sang several songs which became Hits from this band.

"The Gold Bug" is mainly an instrumental piece of music with some added vocals, good keyboards, drums, bass, and a sax played by Mel Collins. It has some similarities to other instrumental pieces of music from this band, particularly in the sounds of some keyboard parts (with "Lucifer" from the "Eve" album, for example).

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 Eve  by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.66 | 191 ratings

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Eve
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars "Eve" is Alan Parsons Project's fourth studio album and it was released in 1979 and has a picture of the women with dark veils covering their faces looking at us with melancholic eyes. The musicians on this record are David Paton (bass), Stuart Elliott(drums and percussion), Ian Bairnson(guitars), Eric Woolfson and Duncan MacKay(keyboards), Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson(miscellaneous instruments), Chris Rainbow and David Paton(backing vocals) and Christ Rainbow, Kenny Zakatek, Dave Townsend, Lesley Duncan, David Patton, Clare Torry(Lead vocals) and The Orchestra of the Munich Chamber Opera with Andrew Powell(orchestra and choir).

"Eve" is a very well produced and fine sounding album which you can listen to if you want smooth and shimmering music that not disturbs anyone. In my opinion the music is a little bit too laid back. I would have wanted more scars and disturbancies through the record. But well, why complain about beautiful music. "Eve" certainly has a lot to praise: fine vocal themes, light symphonic passages and a rich and good soundscape. But the music is too soft and easy achieved to be considered prog or get my fully interest. "If I Could Change Your Mind" is the finest song but actually every track is good. Alan Parsons Project's first record was magic in my ears, after that they have just been okay, and with "Eve" I would say the same. Three stars!

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 Pyramid by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.31 | 239 ratings

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Pyramid
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars "Pyramid" is Alan Parsons Project's" third studio album and as on earlier record they band is a lot of people. the information here on Prog Archives gives me the number of eleven musicians and a choir, even if that number is smaller than before. Pyramid was released in 1978 and on the expressionistic cover can we see a man holding his hand over his face and a wage formation covers the cover in blue. We can also see a pyramid just as the name indicates. Stuart Elliot drums, Ian Bairnson, David Paton and Alan Parsons plays guitars, David Paton plays bass and sings, Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson and Duncan MacKay play keyboards, Andrew Powell conducts the choir and The English Chorale is the name of the choir. Alans Parsons, Colin Blunstone, Dean Ford, Lenny Zakatek, Jack Harris and John Miles sing on the album Pyramid.

The music of Alan Parsons Project is well produced and you can actually hear there's some form of quality in it. It had though gone some way from the fantastic debut album and also from "I robot" which had som marvelous pieces. "Voyager" introduces this album in an atmospheric way of beauty(7/10) and then comes a sweet pop song "What foes up..." which is both relaxed and special(8/10). "The Eagle will rise again" though is rather fatigue(5/10) but "One more river" is rocky and good(7/10). "Can't take it with you" has a nice vibrating vocak part(6/10) and "In the lap of the gods" is amongst the best features on the album. That composition is mighty, symphonic and well performed(8/10). Also the shorter "Pyramania" is clever and very funny(8/10), another favourite. "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" doesn't get my attention unfortunately(6/10) but "Shadow of a lonely man" concludes the album rather delicate(7/10). This is 37:44 minutes of ell working music which touches the prog rock at some occations. Though do I feel the music a bit vague and it is not really enough for me. They could have taken the music much higher, right now it's just good music, but nothing more. Three stars! Listen to "Pyramia", it's the album's best track!

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 Eye In The Sky by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.29 | 296 ratings

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Eye In The Sky
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by voliveira

4 stars 8/10

I really felt very tempted to praise this album with a rating of 5 stars, considering how good it has been to listen to him these days. But this time I will respect the ratings of PA and give it 4 stars, as I recognize that this album is not progressive in its whole. However, if he were in the category prog related, would not hesitate to give it a top rating.

The truth is that like so many others I knew the name of Alan Parsons for his involvement in Dark Side of the Moon, but had never heard of him until the day my father showed me a video of his concert in Madrid where they were executed Sirius and Eye in the Sky. They sounded familiar to me, though I can not say where heard before, but the fact is I became extremely addicted to these songs for the following days. So I went behind the whole album and well, here we are.

At this point , The Alan Parsons Project was already generating considerable recognition with its efficient blend of art rock , prog rock and pop . But it was in Eye in the Sky they met his greatest recognition , making this their most successful album. Again Alan Parsons and his partner in the project Eric Woolfson bring several musicians to participate in dsco , including an excellent range of vocalists ( including Woolfson himself) .

Knowing that Sirius has been played to exhaustion by the Chicago Bulls and many, many teams in various sports, as well as in various media, it is no surprise that it sounds so familiar . But you can not deny it's admirable how she grows from keyboards, a discreet orchestration and nice guitars to connect with the title track of the album, which is certainly the most famous song from the project. I have to point out that this song is so beautiful in its melody that is impossible to forget . And the vocals Woolfson, restrained and melodic, are an excellent addendum to the song as a whole (its participation in the project as a vocalist would only grow from here).

Children of the Moon, sung by David Paton, is one of my favorite songs here, and I can not describe why. Are the Paton's vocals? The addictive chorus? The guitar solo? Or orchestrations at the end, which ends with the ethereal vocals that connect to the short but beautiful, Gemini, which is sung by Chris Rainbow and has some distinctive and beautiful vocal harmonies in the background? I do not know. The two "doubles" that open this album are really awesome. The last song on side A, and the longest and progressive in the disc is Silence and I, again sung by Woolfson. This song is probably the magnum opus of Eye in the Sky, not only for being the longest and prog, but mainly for its instrumental section, with rich orchestrations, as some have pointed out, is strongly reminiscent of the orchestral works of the Renaissance.

Side B starts with the rocker 're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned, one of the songs most 80 's here. She is very direct in its objective, with vocals by Lenny Zakatek efficient and striking guitar solo. Even though some around here have hated or despised, I really liked that song ( what can I do? I'm A Progger who also loves the "appalling" 80 ). Serve very well as a single. Psychobabble is, despite the ridiculous title, another nice track, strong vocals from Dave Terry being supported for excellent bass lines. The instrumental Mammagamma is the funkiest track here, too eighties in its essence. The highlight is the Woolfson's keyboards, which in general is an exquisite work with shades of organ, piano and synths throughout the album. Step by Step is possibly the weakest track on the album , but still a decent song, with more vocals Zakatek. And the closure Old and Wise is one of the most beautiful and progressive music here, the vocals somewhat hoarse whispering from Colin Blunstone favoring the dreamy atmosphere that song has. At the end we still had a great saxophone solo by Mel Collins , King Crimson , terminating this album with a great note.

By my standards, I would not hesitate to give this album 5 stars. I have absolutely no problem with this commercial approach, as I think sometimes fans of progressive rock tend to be very elitist and snobbish in their musical preferences, ignoring some real works of art just for being "mainstream." Do not consider myself open-minded in that sense, but I can not help but ignore music that pleases my ears, whether genuinely prog or not. Anyway, 4 stars with a certain resignation. I hope that more people can look beyond labels and appreciate this album as I enjoyed.

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 I Robot by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.75 | 341 ratings

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I Robot
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

4 stars |B-| An excellent, diverse, and slightly commercial prog album - with great orchestration!

I Robot is the second album by the line-up of musicians known as Alan Parsons Project, after their acclaimed debut album Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Most progressive listeners seem to have a more favorable view of the debut album and mark this one as a step in a more commercial direction. While I still have yet to hear the debut, I would say that this album still has a lot of cool, creative material to offer, and while the commercial-isms do cause some amount of a "dated" sound that hasn't aged as well, they hardly impede the ingenuity that is offered in this work. The orchestration is always effective and great, and for me is the best aspect of the music in the album. Lots of different styles clearly influenced the sound of the album, lending to a tasty album with lots of variety. This is probably not surprising considering the huge line-up of musicians that collaborated for this Project, and Eric Woolfson's evident skill at composition.

Track Commentary: The proggy first track has a neat, progressive sort of intro moving into an almost funk-like grove with touches of choral ensemble and solos from a variety of instruments. This track moves into the catchy and very 70s sounding "Wouldn't Want to be Like You." This track is really good, especially the guitar solo section, but hasn't aged too well, admittedly, and mostly because of the silly 70s pop singing style. Some Other Time is one of my favorite tracks on the album, sounding a bit like a whimsical symphonic prog ballad sometimes, alternating with a synth-heavy hard rock section. I love the orchestration on the song; it adds color and richness, and just works. And what a great vocal melody! My only complaint it how short it is, but this might be personal bias from listening to so much long-winded prog over the years. Breakdown is a cool track with a lot of variety of textures in a very short amount of time, and the orchestration with the choir and orchestra is great, bringing out the esprit de cor of "freedom" and "take the wall away." Perhaps a reference to the iron curtain and the Berlin wall? Maybe. Don't Let it Show is a pretty song, once again with nice orchestration, though with enough 70s pop-isms to dampen the timeless feel that the track might otherwise have. I like the move from the orchestra texture to the rock texture toward the end of the song, very well done. The Voice has a very repetitive bass line leading into electric keyboards and orchestrations that kind of remind of Supertramp or perhaps Steely Dan. This moves into a really interesting "orchestra strings solo" which is very interesting; I think it was really cool of them to experiment with combining orchestra and rock timbres in the way that they did with this track, and it worked great. Nucleus is sort of an interlude instrumental between The Voice and Day After Day, and is quite beautiful, with what sounds like a lot of creative, lush synthesizer material that might remind one of a beautiful rain forest. This leads delicately and nicely into Day After Day, which is a quite Pink Floyd sounding track, with a somewhat less psychedelic sound but quite beautiful, and with a very similar lyrical theme as Pink Floyd's Time. The next track is one of the most interestingly placed tracks in perhaps prog history; Total Eclipse is basically a dissonant and haunting atonal piece of music (like a lot of Schoenburg's material) though one which is creatively done and leads into the final track, Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32.

The last track is a haunting, synth-heavy piece which no doubt is paired with the theme of the album. Evidently, according to my NRSV Bible, there is no V. 32 in that chapter of Genesis. However, if there were, it would be between the sixth day of God finishing his creation of the world and then God resting on the seventh day; perhaps this has something to do with the liner notes: I Robot... The story of the rise of the machine and the decline of man... and a warning that his brief dominance of this planet will probably end, because man tried to create robot in his own image." Perhaps the creators are making a thematic implication with the last track regarding the widely known about (but now somewhat old and perhaps worn out) hypothetical prediction of Robot dominance as man technologically advances. Kind of a cool theme - if only it had lead into some sort of follow-up concept album, but alas.

This album pretty much fits the description of "Crossover Prog" perfectly; thus, if you love diverse textures and instrumentation in your music and don't mind a little commercialism mixed in, this album is a must, and is a fun, cool album for anyone regardless. For those of us who are repelled by any hind of commercialism in music (and understandably so...), perhaps not.

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 The Sicilian Defence by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.54 | 26 ratings

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The Sicilian Defence
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt

3 stars Alan Parsons & Eric Woolfson declare a peaceful truce! Read all about it!!

Alan Parsons never hid his tendecy for "mainstream" audiences since record one. What made these first APP's efforts (1,2 & 3) worthwhile was the balance towards less pop/rock "?" and more towards "prog/serious stuff" "?', which was brought upon by the Project's co-founder, collaborator and composer Eric Woolfson. In fact if not for him, I doubt "the project" will have been included in the PA pages of those days.

Anyway, this A.P.P. project lies mostly, as far as song writing goes, in the hands of Mr. Woolfson's composition skills. In fact, if not for the instrumental electronic songs, this effort resembles quiet far more Mr. Woolfson's "solo" albums than the "common" APP's albums. This of course, is neither good or bad, the Project itself has always been quiet mutable, depending who was the one who took charge of it at the time of recording.

So, as mentioned, Mr. Parsons has had this kind of "knack" for catchy songs and vocals since day one, this effort is completely INSTRUMENTAL and there are no "mainstream radio" focused songs, nor "hits"! Every song is free of this.

In fact, quiet the opposite from the Project's or Alan Parsons Band's usual intentions, in comparisson, this 2014 "The Sicilian Defence" album, could even be considered "experimental", which frankly is an uncommon relief, after all those years.

Like chess, they take turns between mostly acoustic piano based songs and Mr, Parsons' unmistakable "prog/electronic" instrumental work and in the meantime throw some "petite" flashbacks of the long gone past glory days, which of course is super nice, as they are diminutive.

The "match" is enjoyable, the song writing as a whole is well balanced between "each" world. And without doubt, it will all come up to, how well? or much?, you like Mr Woolfson's style and own musical language. (The usual APP's instrumental electronic songs are as almost always, from average to very good, there is one that even feels "Schulzesque",which is quiet fun!)

For APP's close followers it's worth the time and money!

For the "rest ", ***3 PA stars, and in their own discography an easy 4! Enjoy!

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 I Robot by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.75 | 341 ratings

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I Robot
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars I have spend three listening sejours with Alan Parsons Project's second album "I Robot" from 1977. I was amazed by especially three tracks but unfortunately I found the whole quite uneven. As on their first record the number of participants is high but it isn't exactly so many this time. The cover picture is artistic and makes the consumer wonder what is it, especially the object in the left, but now I see it could be a robot, I didn't see it one minute ago. The album uses fourtyone minutes and ten tracks to spread its music to us all.

I had a little hard to rate this record because of its unevenness. Three songs were so fantastic. "Some other time" is my favourite, near a masterpiece actuelly(10/10). I hear a wonderous melody, symphonic and so creative and the vocalist does it perfectly. Also the little more experimental "Breakdown"(9/10) and "Don't let it show"(9/10) are very symphonic and paint a lovely musical view for us. The arrangements here are just so good. I also enjoy the album's closer much: "Genesis Ch. 1 V." is instrumental and very harmonic(8/10). The other tracks unfortunately are lukewarm in my ears. Well I find something modern and cool in the title track "I Robot" and it is absolutely not bad but not interesting either(6/10) and "I wouldn't want to be like you"(6/10) is too simple for me. The little more slower tempo in "The voice" appeal to me but not enough(6/10) and both "Day after day" and "Total eclipse" seem boring and uninspired to me. The worst thing here was "Nucleus" where nothing happened.

Thanks to four compositions this record will pass and get the review a decent and warm album, without them I wouldn't bother. These four though is highly recommended. Listen to the tracks 3,4,5 and 10. Alan Parsons Projects first work was a masterpiece in every tune, this was not, but some moments did reach the same level. Three stars!

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 Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 477 ratings

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" is the first studio album by Alan Parsons Project and it was released in 1976. It is an interesting record. Alan Parsons was a well known producer of music and the project was a cooperation with a lot of people amongst which the keyboardist Eric Woolfson is ione of the most important. I count to more than twenty nine musicians that perform here so it's now strange that this turns up to be inspiring and huge symphonic rock music. The cover pisture is mostly green and you could open the "book" and read both the lyrics and a lot of others. This record is inspired by the poem's of Edgar Allan Poe and it starts my journey through Alan Parsons Projects world.

The music has similarities with the powerful, keyboard driven music of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The musical world showed here is mysterious and very intriguing. It has some classical approach, especially in "The Fall of the House of Usher" with all its parts and different themes. The album is though very rocky and future oriented, still with lyrics refering to wide ranges of age. "To one in Paradise" is a mild and whispering closer just as "A dream within a dream" starts the record with magic in its every tune. "The Raven" refers to on of Poe's most famous poems and here it sounds like APP experiments with auto tune or something. The three next coming song on the first side is powerful rock songs with eternal lyrics. "Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" is lovely in it's catchy coherence.

There are so many musicians on this record but they don't play in the same time, fortunately. The music is amazing, top class and just want I expect music to give me. The vocalists who sing here do a fantastic job such as everybody else. This was a big surprise for me and I am glad to give a record the highest rating tonight. A most hear recording for every proger!

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 The Turn Of A Friendly Card by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.42 | 268 ratings

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The Turn Of A Friendly Card
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Turn of a Friendly Card, a loose sort of concept about gambling, was released in 1980, sold well in America, and just about dented the top 40 chart in the UK. It was the follow up to Eve, an album not, it is fair to say, universally critically appreciated.

This is, really, an album of two sides, one appreciably better than the other.

The first side is basically a collection of well crafted, well performed, and well sung pop rock songs, of which the easy highlight is Time, with lovely vocals by the wonderful Eric Woolfson, which bears a passing resemblance to Floyd instrumentally, although only passing. Of the remainder, veteran Lenny Zakatek sings on two pleasant enough tracks, one of which, Games People Play, was a hit single, whilst Dave Terry, formerly of Elmer Gantry and the subject of a minor legal scandal when trying to tour as a bootleg Fleetwood Mac, pops up on the pleasant opener May Be A Price To Pay. Basically, pleasant enough pop rock, without being remotely essential.

This changes somewhat with side two. Opener, The Gold Bug is a clever instrumental, with very nice jazzy sax supporting.

The main tour de force, however, is the title track, presented here as an epic track lasting over sixteen minutes, but is, in reality, five distinct pieces of music welded (lovingly) into a single opus. It works on every level. The third movement, The Ace of Swords, is a magnificent synth led instrumental that fairly races along, whilst avoiding the disco led beats of some of the first side work. The suite also greatly benefits from the services of the two finest APP vocalists, Woolfson on the achingly beautiful Nothing Left To Lose, and, for the remainder, the wonderful Chris Rainbow, whose voice I fell in love with when I first heard APP all those years ago. This suite has all that was great about this project; wonderfully lush orchestration, thoughtful and intelligent lyrics, sung with genuine passion and feeling, and some wonderful rock passages, perhaps best seen here with Ian Bairnson's passionate guitar burst at the close of the fourth movement. The real highlight, though, are those vocals. They are to die for.

This is a difficult album to rate. It was, by no means, the worst that APP released, but neither was it the finest. The first side was really only okay, fun to visit every couple of years, or so. Side two, though; that was something really rather special, so three stars for this, a very worthy addition to the canon, and worth exploring if you enjoy melodic prog from one of the finest exponents of such music.

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 I Robot by PARSONS PROJECT, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.75 | 341 ratings

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I Robot
Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I Robot is the second opus by Parson's grandly named "Project", and is, of course, based upon the series of novels written by Sci-Fi great, Isaac Asimov. Actually, as an aside, it would have been interesting to have seen this updated alongside the later fusion by Asimov of these with his Foundation series. I digress, however.

This album, perhaps more than a lot of others, divides opinions amongst prog heads, mainly owing to two factors. Firstly, it was extremely successful commercially (never a good thing in more than a few minds), and it contains more than a splash of the prevalent commercial pop phase of the time, namely disco beats. Gasp!

If you can get past these things, and broad minded people reading this review are more than capable of doing so, then a treat is in store.

Not only do we have an extremely well produced work (not for nothing did Parsons twirl the Floyd knobs), but we have a marvellous fusion of the grandiose, such as on Some Other Time, electronica fused with cool beats, such as on the opening title track, pure electronic prog with Nucleus, and the wonderful, beautiful ballads which were, to me anyway, the hallmark of this entire Project over the years, and there is no better example anywhere than Day After Day, which has at its heart the most delicious Jack Harris vocal. In addition, you also have a couple of power pop rock tracks, Breakdown being perhaps the best, and it was this, of course, which gave such albums a wide commercial appeal. However, in such a mix are some decidedly sharply observed and executed dark passages, well in keeping with the subject matter.

There is a wonderful range of guest artists, and Parsons and Woolfson made this particular facet of the "experiment" last very successfully. Of particular note are Dave Townsend's gorgeous vocals on Don't Let It Show, a dreamy ballad, and the absolute highlight of a wonderful album, the dark, foreboding, The Voice, which simply would not have worked as well without the ridiculously talented Steve Harley at the vocal helm.

I am in the process of revisiting the collection of APP albums I own, and this is a good starting point, as it would be for anyone who wishes to explore this eclectic group of albums from a fresh perspective.

This is progressive rock music strongly tinged with knowing commercial nous, and is quite superb from start to finish. Four stars for this.

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