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Alan Parsons Band - A Valid Path CD (album) cover

A VALID PATH

Alan Parsons Band

 

Prog Related

2.58 | 86 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A well trodden path to Ibiza

"A valid path" is as close as Alan Parsons is likely to come to a change of direction. With virtually all of his ties with the Alan Parsons Project now cut, he treads a more overtly electro "path" with dance type rhythms replacing more traditional melodic rock ones. That said, Parsons' ear for a good tune is still in good shape, as are his talents in the production field.

The opening "Return to Tunguska" is an instrumental running to almost 9 minutes. The offbeat rhythms create a slightly disjointed feel, but this is more than counterbalanced by the guest appearance of David Gilmour on guitar. Gilmour's guitar phrases here bear a passing similarity to those on "Shine on you crazy diamond".

PJ Olsson's vocals on the following "More and more lost without you" are uncharacteristic for a Parsons album, the lightweight song having a distinctly pop feel. In a surprise move, Parsons revisits a couple of Alan Parsons Project instrumentals, resulting in a writing co-credit for his erstwhile partner Eric Woolfson being given. The first of these is "Mammagamma (2003)", a track which originally appeared on the "Eye in the sky" album. The version here is infused with programming and sequencing by Jeremy Parsons, Alan's son. The result is an Ibiza type sound, but thankfully the original melody is preserved. The following "We play the game", which features The Crystal Method, maintains the disco type rhythms and sounds, but I have to admit the track is actually highly enjoyable. Parsons takes on lead vocals himself here, and makes a pretty good fist of it.

"Tijuaniac" is a laid back instrumental with drifting sounds and keyboard washes, the sequencing effects being suppressed in favour of a more restrained atmosphere. This is immediately followed by another instrumental "L'Arc en Ciel", featuring Uberzone. This piece complements the previous "Tijuaniac" nicely by raising the tempo while retaining a similar relaxed feel. Sampled female vocals add a delightful, trance like contribution.

The other track which retraces old footsteps is "A recurring dream within a dream", which brings together two tracks, "A Dream Within A Dream" and "The Raven" from APP's first, and for many best, album. While some may take exception to this tinkering with a couple of songs which were perfectly fine to start with, this adaptation, which again features the work of Jeremy Parsons, is carried out respectfully and tastefully. I cannot say in all honesty that the results are an improvement, but they are worthwhile nonetheless, the two tracks knitting together well.

The final vocal track Is "You can run" featuring Deep E and the voice of David Pack. This finally is a song too far as far as the new direction is concerned, with lyrics such as Cuz I can feel ya, yeah I can feel ya trying to pull me down" scraping the barrel of pop clichés. Unfortunately, the melody is prosaic and utterly forgettable too.

The album is brought to a close by the instrumental "Chomolungma", composed and performed by Alan Parsons with Jeremy Parsons and P.J. Olsson. The track features a guest appearance by comedian John Cleese right at the end, but is otherwise inoffensive Ibiza style muzak.

In all, while it is good to see Parsons exploring avenues (or paths), which offer a natural development of his usual style, the results are mixed. There is certainly plenty here to enjoy, and if you scratch the surface prog elements can be frequently found. The dance rhythms may be rather in your face at times, but this album is rooted in the same qualities which made previous APP albums so enjoyable.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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