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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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The 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 Band

The Alan Parsons Project official website

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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT discography


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

4.04 | 574 ratings
Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe
1976
3.78 | 419 ratings
I Robot
1977
3.36 | 300 ratings
Pyramid
1978
2.71 | 244 ratings
Eve
1979
3.48 | 337 ratings
The Turn Of A Friendly Card
1980
3.32 | 367 ratings
Eye In The Sky
1982
2.94 | 203 ratings
Ammonia Avenue
1984
2.27 | 172 ratings
Vulture Culture
1984
2.73 | 176 ratings
Stereotomy
1985
3.00 | 185 ratings
Gaudi
1987
3.49 | 112 ratings
Freudiana
1990
2.63 | 38 ratings
The Sicilian Defence
2014

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

2.15 | 7 ratings
Extended Versions
2004
4.00 | 7 ratings
Live In Colombia
2016

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

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

2.54 | 41 ratings
The Best of Alan Parsons Project
1983
2.84 | 21 ratings
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Vol. II
1988
2.74 | 27 ratings
The Instrumental Works
1988
3.20 | 5 ratings
Anthology
1991
3.48 | 20 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
2.95 | 3 ratings
Works
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
Anthology
2002
3.33 | 3 ratings
Silence and I: The very Best of
2003
4.07 | 16 ratings
The Essential Alan Parsons Project
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2010
3.25 | 5 ratings
I Robot (Legacy Edition)
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Albums Collection
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
To One In Paradise
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether
1976
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Raven
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hyper-Gamma-Spaces
1978
2.50 | 4 ratings
An Eye Opener 7'' flexi
1981
3.81 | 7 ratings
Time
1981
3.44 | 11 ratings
Eye In The Sky (single)
1982
2.83 | 6 ratings
Let's Talk About Me
1985

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Eve  by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.71 | 244 ratings

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Eve
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Considered controversial at the time of release, and saddled with a reputation that has been hard to shake, The Alan Parsons Project's 1979 album 'Eve' is, for many reasons, considered one of the group's lesser works.

A kind of quizzical concept album about the nature of woman kind - conceived and written by two men we must add - 'Eve' features a selection of songs that meditate on both the positive and negative aspects of the fairer sex, and features cover art despicting two models wearing veils. Only look a bit closer, and the glamourous women are revealed to have beauty-blighting facial scars.

Along with the concept, the cover was one of the many ill-conceived ideas featured on an album that was, sadly, symptomatic of it's era. The late seventies was still a time of overt male rule in the workplace, and despite the best intentions of both Alan Parsons and his erstwhile writing partner Eric Woolfson, 'Eve' as a concept is, at best, a clumsy mistake.

The duo's fourth album following 'Tales of Mystery & Imagination', 'I Robot' and 'Pyramid', 'Eve' was a calculated break from the progressive pop imprint of it's predecessors, and was the first Alan Parsons album not to start with an instrumental opener. Instead, this was a song-based album that sought to widen the group's appeal, a ploy that didn't work as well as intended.

Fronted by guest vocalists Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek, and with Parsons and Woolfson once again backed by three quarters of the Scottish rock group Pilot, 'Eve' features the usual crisp production values, yet at first listen seems rather unexceptional.

However, like all good albums, 'Eve' needs multiple listens to fullt grasp.

The strength of the Parsons and Woolfson creative team was always the outstanding mix of first-grade production skills and hook-laden songwriting, and their ability to graft catchy melodies onto deceptively progressive music. Whilst the latter is largely absent here, it only goes to accentuate the former.

Tracks such as the groove-laden opener 'Lucifer', which postulates about the vices of woman, kicks proceedings off with a surprisingly tangy guitar-led sound, and features strong vocals from Rainbow, whilst the edgy 'Damned If I Do' powers along with sharp guitars and snapping snare drums.

There are less impressive moments.

'I'd Rather Be A Man' borders on the downright offensive, whilst also sounding like the kind of sub R'n'B-schtick Gloria Gaynor ended up doing in the mid-eighties, and the jerky 'Secret Garden' is beyond maudlin.

But the album actually holds together, even if the subject matter jars badly in the moden era.

There are few better at concocting string melodic progressive pop, which is both thoughtful and popular, than The Alan Parsons Project, and even on an album considered one of their weakest, their are still many strong songs, all once again brough out by the crystal clear production.

Parsons started as an Abbey Road engineer of course, working on Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' album in 1972 before becoming a fully-fledged in-house producer, overseeing albums for Steve Harley, Ambrosia, Al Stewart and The Hollies.

A songwriter, Woolfson worked for Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label, before leaving to conceive his dream project, a musical based on the works of noted horror author Edgar Allan Poe.

Their combined skills, and the unique nature of the group, which saw musicians brought in on an album-by-album basis to play the music written by Parsons and Woolfson, meant every album had it's unique concept, and it's own sound.

'Eve' is certainly one of their more mediocre efforts, yet there is still much to recommend.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2016

 The Instrumental Works by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
2.74 | 27 ratings

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The Instrumental Works
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Good works

Although my feelings are always mixed concerning their poppy sung compositions, I really enjoy most ALAN PARSONS' PROJECT instrumentals. That's why I don't have many complaints about this disc. It compiles extracts from 1977 to 1987 albums, except "Eve", their least convincing effort of the 70's. No track from the debut opus indeed, but two instrumentals from "I Robot" and "Stereotomy".

A nice and playful collection... There is one noticeable missing piece though... why not the glorious "Lucifer" - or even the lesser-known upbeat space-disco "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" from "Pyramid" - instead of the average dated "Hawkeye"? A tale of mystery...

Apart from this little mistake, "Instrumental Works" remains overall a pretty good compilation and a representative overview of APP's colorful tunes. And in case you don't know the band, I still advise you to give this record a listen, especially if you enjoy deliciously vintage electronic melodies...

 I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
4.00 | 2 ratings

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I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars Once again, I'm surprised that no one has even rated this single. This is one of the APP's best. I sometimes wonder what thought process went into Alan and Eric's (assuming it was their decision) choice of singles. Some of their music is terrifically entertaining; some of it is the aural equivalent of wallpaper. "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" is a great song, and "Nucleus" is a worthy B side. I've only listened to the band's output up to the early 80's, so that is my frame of reference. This single shows the band's skills as musicians and songwriters at their finest. Furthermore, Alan and Eric deserve credit simply for exposing the superb singing of Lenny Zakatek to the world!
 Pyramid by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.36 | 300 ratings

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Pyramid
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For me, Pyramid is where the early Alan Parsons Project formula begins to wear thin. Whilst it was a nice breath of fresh air on Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and the group had successfully retooled the sound to suit the needs of I, Robot, on Pyramid I find that, at least in the early phases of the album they seem to be doing it by the numbers, with some nice moments here and there which unfortunately are doing things which the group accomplished better on the previous two releases.

One More River, however, steps in to turn things around - from this point on, there's occasional injections of New Wave ideas creeping in here and there to the band's sound which offer a bit more of a hard edge than anything offered on I, Robot. (Indeed, they hadn't rocked quite that hard since The Telltale Heart on the debut). Part of me wonders whether album might have been a favourite of early neo-prog group Quasar, since several sections of it sound like a bit like the sort of material they might have been deliver on their debut Fire In the Sky had it not suffered a truly horrible production job.

On top of that, the concept is rather clever - if you piece it together carefully, it's less a story about the Great Pyramids themselves so much as (as the cover art hints) a man who becomes fascinated with the supposed esoteric wisdom encoded in them and the whole Pyramid Power thing (a hot topic when the album was recorded), to the point where his life and personal relationships disintegrate and he has nothing to show for it but crank theories and a worrying obsession. (Comparisons between this and being a prog fan I suggest you keep to yourself!)

 Freudiana by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.49 | 112 ratings

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Freudiana
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Asiostygius

4 stars After a terrible sequence of pop/mainstream and radio-friend albums in the 1980s, I consider this concept album as a come back to the glorious days of the first 3 Alan Parsons Project's albuns. This is surely an underrated album.

I don't care about the controversy about if this is in fact an APP or not, the fact is that the music is more than good enough to me. The album is centered on an interesting concept about Sigmund Freud life and work, with tons of different styles, from ballads through a very enjoying Beatlesque track to almost hard rock tracks. There are even humour tinges in some narrated places. Perhaps this album would need at least 2 to 3 attentive auditions to be fully appreciated, but for me it deserves solid four stars, without a doubt!

 The Turn Of A Friendly Card by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.48 | 337 ratings

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The Turn Of A Friendly Card
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First, I have to say that in the late seventies (when I first listened to this band) I initially didn't like their music. But with the passing of time my views about their music changed. Maybe one of the things that I didn't like then was that this band didn't seem to me to be a 'real' band as it was really the project of two persons who (as I didn't know then) were not very known in the musical field. I was wrong. It was until I discovered Alan Parson's name as recording engineer in the credits of PINK FLOYD'S 'The Dark Side of the Moon' album from 1973 that I really knew then that he really was an important person in the music industry, with that album having a very good recording and mixing. Later, I also realized that he also has worked with a lot of very good musicians like THE BEATLES (in their 'Abbey Road' and 'Let It Be' albums), PAUL McCARTNEY, etc. Eric Woolfoson, the other main partner in this musical project, maybe was not very known in the music industry then, but he proved to be a very good musician and songwriter with THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT. The band's line-up was not very clear, apart from Parsons and Woolfson, but they had a very good team of musicians who very often appeared in their albums: Andrew Powell (orchestrations), Ian Bairnson (guitars), David Paton (bass and occasional lead singer), Stuart Elliott (drums and percussion), Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek (lead vocals), etc. They also had some other guest lead singers and musicians in their albums. Maybe Eric Woolfson was the main composer of the songs (despite the joint credit 'Wollfson-Parsons' in the credits) and Parson's role was more of a producer and arranger, apart of playing some instruments in their albums. But the team worked very well until 1990, when they decided to split the band due to musical differences. Another main contributor was Andrew Powell with his orchestrations. Without him maybe this project could not have been as good as it was.

This album is another conceptual album from this band. This time the concept is about gambling and luck. Musically, the album is very Progressive, with some influences from Classical music, but this band also had some commercial music influences from Pop and Disco music (sounding a bit like ELO in some places, like in 'May Be a Price to Pay' and 'Games People Play'), some Funky music influences ('I Don't Wanna Go Home'). Maybe it was one of the things that some people like me didn't like from this band then. But this mixture of styles also made their music to be very accessible, and with the passing of time I finally realized that after all it was a good combination of musical styles. 'The Gold Bug' is an instrumental piece of music with maybe some New Age music influences and very good vocals from Chris Rainbow. 'Time' is a very good song, maybe my favorite from them, with very good orchestral arrangements and very good vocals arrangements, with Woolfson singing lead vocals, Parsons singing a bit of backing vocals, and with Rainbow singing backing vocals. The main musical piece in this album is the title track, which is divided in five parts. This is maybe the most Progressive part of this album, with the use of harpsichord and Classical music influenced orchestral arrangements.

'Time' and 'Games People Play' were played a lot in the radio in my country (and still are played in some oldies FM Radio stations in my city). 'Time' was the song that changed my views about this band, and I started to really like their music.

The recording and mixing of this album is very good. The overall sound in this and other of Parsons's production jobs is very clear. Of course, all the musicians are very good, and this album is very good. As a team, THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT was a very good band.

 Eye In The Sky by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.32 | 367 ratings

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Eye In The Sky
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars "Eye In The Sky" was released in 1982, around the time that many prog giants were turning to pop. Yes, King Crimson and ELP alumni had debuted as Asia and Alan Parsons Project had found itself releasing an album of music in a similar vein. The music on "Eye In The Sky" is primarily keyboard-based pop and soft rock, though there is still prog present. And unlike on "Asia", the prog content is a lot more deliberately delivered.

While the vast majority of the album's content is pop, strong moments still abound. After a dull instrumental start with "Sirius", several catchy, hum-able soft rock songs give way to the ballad "Silence And I", which is one of the strongest works in the Alan Parsons catalog. Featuring emotive instrumental performances and sophisticated orchestral arrangements, this is a crossover prog gem. The remainder of the album is done largely in the same fashion as the first half, with another masterpiece rounding out the record. "Old And Wise" is a wonderful ballad, melancholy and nostalgic, moving and powerful. The vocal performance is delivered very expressively and the final saxophone solo is one of those ones that gets me emotionally every time.

While there's a lot of uninteresting material to wade through to get to it, "Eye In The Sky" does have its moments as a quality prog album. And being an Alan Parsons Project album, the production is top-notch. An accessible, well-done 3 star album, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is starting to get into prog but isn't looking for anything too complex just yet.

 The Instrumental Works by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
2.74 | 27 ratings

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The Instrumental Works
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Replayer

2 stars As the title suggests, this is a compilation album comprised of a selection of instrumentals from Alan Parsons Project albums. Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson were known for including a couple of instrumentals on every album, but grouping them together is a strange choice for a band better known for its pop rock ballads.

The compositions themselves generally are good, if a bit unexciting, and the production is of course flawless. It's a good easy listening album, but it's not very progressive, as the Project always had more of an art-pop rather than progressive inclination. As Ivan_Melgar_M mentions and the road on the album cover seems to unintentionally suggest, this is music more is suitable for driving rather than active listening.

The biggest issue is that the Alan Parsons Project recorded concept albums, where the track ordering was deliberate and the tracks sometimes segued into one another, so here the instrumentals tend to sound out of place when lumped together.

Nevertheless, it was my first introduction to the Alan Parson Project, bought cheap from a discount bin. The music was pleasant enough to interest me in the band, but this was rather due to its melodic qualities rather than its progressive ones (though the two need not be at odds with each other).

Paseo de Gracia is my favorite piece and it's probably the most progressive number here, with its ambient introduction, followed by an orchestral flamenco section, with an electric guitar solo on top. I also favor Pipeline and Mammagamma due to their hypnotic rhythms.

 The Turn Of A Friendly Card by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.48 | 337 ratings

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The Turn Of A Friendly Card
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Mr. Gone

4 stars It seems that a fair number of folks here believe that APP's first three albums (Tales of Mystery and Imagination, I, Robot and Pyramid) are the band's best three, probably in declining order of quality. It would also seem that a fair number of people feel that of all material following those three, The Turn of a Friendly Card is likely their best work. And I would actually largely agree with all these assessments. Certainly, of all the material they've put out since those "big three", this is the one I've gone back to the most.

What does a huge amount of this for me is the album's opening track, "May Be a Price to Pay". This is the first Project album not to open with an instrumental; however, the extended intro in this song might be interpreted as something of a nod to that idea. And it's quite cool. A bit disco-y in spots with its synth strings and funky bassline, but I like it. Add in Elmer Gantry's "angry Gary Brooker" vocals and a rather savage recurring arpeggio, and it's a very powerful, singable track. True prog? Not really. But just proggy enough.

The next two songs are the album's biggest hits. "Games People Play" is a fairly decent track sung by Lenny Zakatek, but I've heard it a bit much and it's not memorable enough to hold up. "Time" is Eric Woolfson's first foray into lead vocals. I've seen others here compare it to Pink Floyd's "Us and Them", and I would agree. It's a very pretty track, and on that basis remains enjoyable if a bit slight.

"I Don't Wanna Go Home" - meh, not all that memorable. Not terrible, but not something I consider essential.

Side two opens with "The Gold Bug", one of those bubbly instrumentals the band seems to have at least one of on most albums. Enjoyable and a nice lead-in to the epic title track.

"The Turn of a Friendly Card" is broken into five parts. The opening "Part 1" is a fairly orchestral number sung by Chris Rainbow. It's quite lovely and sets a good tone. "Snake Eyes" is a somewhat funky bit also sung by Rainbow. It harkens back a bit in sound to "I Don't Wanna Go Home", but it's better-written and executed. "The Ace of Swords" is an orchestral instrumental which starts off with a medieval feels but segues into something with almost a rock opera feel. It's quite catchy and enjoyable. "Nothing Left to Lose" is another Woolfson vocal (Rainbow in the background). Mostly slow and gentle but almost Beach Boys-ish in a way. Nice but not essential. Then - "Part 2", which returns to the theme of "Part 1" while embellishing it nicely, particularly in the stunning outro.

Is this a perfect album? Far from it. It's not even particularly progressive. It's more pop with orchestral overtones. But it's enjoyable, often catchy and holds your attention. And in my mind it is their best material beyond the "big three". Four stars.

 Freudiana by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.49 | 112 ratings

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Freudiana
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Wow, what an incredible end of this great band's discography! "Freudiana" is Alan Parsons project's eleventh studio album and it was released 1990. I am convinced this is the band's second best album and I believe it is underrated. Why has so few rated and reviewed it here. Perhaps it's beacuse some don't consider it to be an APP' record. But even if the name isn't the is the line up and everything similar with the band and its characteristics. It has a fine cover and a line of of Eric Wooldson, Richard Cottle, Stuart Elliott, Ian Bairnson, Laurie Cottle, Alan Parsons, Leo Sayer, Graham Dye, The FLying Pickets, Kiki Dee, Eric Stewart, Frankie Howerd, Marti Webb, Gary Howard, Chris Rainbow, Andrew Powell and John Miles.

Long albums could be anoying, but not when they are as good as this one. You could perhaps call it more progressive than other releases of the band but what I feel most clearly here it that the album is simialr to musicals and rock operas. I compare it with Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and other fantastic musical and Woolfsosn here could have done a musical of this. I like everything on the album but it has its highlights. Three tracks are so wonderful that I give them the highest rating(10/10). "I am a mirror" with Leo Sayer on vocals is a wonderful rock sond with both great instrumantation and vocals. "Sects therapy" - sung by Frankie Howerd is so typical English and fits an old classical and noble world of dances and the lyrics are so funny. Funny is also "Funny you should say that" which seems to be inspired by Zappa but it's much better than him and it is a powerful and very funny piece of music. The lyrics are extraordinary and the players singing it do it great. Then we have the rock opera "No one can love you better than me" which is theatralic and very interesting(9/10) with vocals from Kiki Dee, Marti Webb, Gary Howerd and Eric Woolfson. I am also so glad to hear Eric Stewart which I like from 10cc, singing "The ring"(8/10) and "Upper me"(8/10). Eric Woolfson sings great in "Freudiana"(8/10) too! The little sixites pop song "Little Hans" sung by Grahan Dye (8/10) is as lovely as "Don't let the moment pass"(8/10) with vocals of Marti Webb. The album ends very well with "There but fot the grace of god" with vocals of John Miles which is a powerful song and concludes this perfectly.

All the other songs are good so the evenness of the album is evident! The least interesting song is "Dora" which I rate to (6/10). If we think about how even this record is and how many great and interesting songs, lyrics and craftsmanship it contains I would almost give it five stars. But that would be wrong so a smashing four have to be my answer. My journey through Alan Parsons Project's carreer has come to an end and I'd rank the album's is this way: 1. Tales of mystery and imagination - Edgar Allan Poe(76)- 5/5, 2. Freudiana(90)-4/5, 3. Eye in the sky(82)-4/5, 4. The turn of a friendly card(80)-4/5, 5. I robot(77)-3/5, 6. Ammonia avenue(84)-3/5, 7. Pyramid(78)-3/5, 8. Gaudi(87)-3/5, 9. Stereotomy(85)-3/5, 10. Eve(79)-3/5 and 11. Vulture Culture(84)-2/5. What do you think?

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