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The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn Of A Friendly Card CD (album) cover

THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD

The Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.51 | 404 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars There's a virtue in Alan Parsons Project, doesn't matter that after his first three records never released another one in the same level, but Alan, Eric and Andrew Powell manage to make almost anything sound excellent.

The Turn of the Friendly Card" is one of this cases, the music is far from the level of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and maybe even a bit bellow "Pyramids", the sound is very mainstream oriented, but the production is so impeccable that it's always a pleasure to listen it, unless you have no tolerance for Pop music, because this is what the album is, just pop with an outstanding sound and a couple proggy moments.

The album starts with the pompous introduction of "May Be a Price to Pay" that reminds me of many Cecil B DeMills movies, but the effect is short, soon the band turns towards more easy music, still you can find some echoes of the past and a couple of interesting changes but the vocals by Elmer Gantry (A living legend from Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera) sound too poppy for my taste.

Andrew Powell does a great job with the violins but this is one of the cases in which I find the arrangements a bit weaker than usual. Good track but far from the best they can offer.

"Games People Play" is a good song that I could never fully like, I don't know if it's the horrendous drumming or the Disco atmosphere but simply I can't get it no matter how much I try.

Does it smells to Pink Floyd cloning or it's my idea?.No, I am right, it's "Time" a very good track that I enjoy a lot, but with a clear Pink Floyd smell, well, Alan worked with them so it's normal to have some influence. Usually I don't like ballads but in his case I always keep the interest.

"I Don't Wanna Go Home" starts surprising, almost as if it was another band, but again the band returns to their usual sound, simpler than usual and too radio friendly, I just press the skip button.

Now, "The Gold Bug" is an outstanding track, much better when listened in it's natural context as an interlude before the Epic that gives the name to the album and not in an instrumental compilation like the one I reviewed a few hours ago.

"The Turn of the Friendly Card" is la piece de resistance" a 16:22 minutes epic divided in 5 parts.

"The Turn of the Friendly Card Part One" starts with a catchy chorus, very melancholic and well elaborate, ideal for Chris rainbow's voice, but the soft orchestration by Andrew Powell is the one that deserves more attention, nice, well done but soft enough not to mess with the main melody.

"Snake Eyes" is a song that starts very rhythmic with well marked tempo and good vocal work. The song seems to be very repetitive and a fact it is, but the band keeps adding new instruments to the main chorus making it change and avoiding boredom, not the best part of the epic, but good enough.

"The Ace of Swords" is simply delightful a great instrumental with Andrew Powell as the star with his radical and perfect arrangements, this is how an Alan Parsons Project album must sound, one of the highest points of the album.

"Nothing to Loose" is a beautiful ballad linked directly to the previous track, Eric Woolfson's voice is a plus, this guy is IMO the best vocalist of the many that Alan parsons has used, the chorus is simple but nice, don't expect moiré than a simple ballad, but with Alan parsons project, it's really worth to listen. At the end some radical changes, first tome sort of reggae and then harder than any previous song, really good material.

"The Turn of the Friendly Card Part Two" is even better than part One, it's true they return to the main chorus but it's more orchestral and with many changes that were not present in the first part. Also the fact that closes the album gives a melancholic atmosphere very pleasant, the coda by Powell and his Orchestra must be one of the best works the band has ever done, simply impressive.

The great question is how to rate it being fair and respecting the guidelines at the same time?

It's not Prog, so 4 stars should be out of the table, but the music is so good and the album so well done, that I will sacrifice guidelines for honesty, rating "The Turn of a Friendly Card" with less than 4 stars is a sacrilege against good music despite the genre.

A non Prog album that every Prog fan should own.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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