Although I like some Alan Parsons Project albums and especially some songs, I have never been a fan, considering his best music as even too much Prog Light. So I had not very high expectations from this fifth solo album since 1994 (after he moved from the UK to California), and the first since 2004. But the first, very dynamic and bombastic track delighted me: the powerful orchestral brass sound and the fiery, very distinctive Steve Hackett electric guitar strongly evoked the unique prog formation The Enid (known for their blend of classically orchestrated keyboards with rock), a very exciting and promising start! But then Alan Parsons presents mainly pop songs, well crafted and embellished with strong vocals and lots of outstanding rock guitar- and saxophone soli, but too smooth and predictable. Only a few songs generate some excitement.
One Note Symphony (4:43) : This track delivers a slow rhythm with a bombastic atmosphere featuring rock guitar and an orchestral sound (brass and violins) with strong vocals
Sometimes (5:08) : A wonderful dreamy climate with piano, strings, and emotional vocals from Lou Gramm (ex-Foreigner), halfway rock guitar solo, then gradually more lush and finally dreamy with strings and piano.
Soiree Fantastique (5:27) : The street sound during the intro and the use of an accordion emphasize the Parissian atmosphere in this poppy song, halfway a sensitive rock guitar solo.
Requiem (4:02) : First a slow rhythm, then from bombastic to dreamy, featuring rock guitar and saxophone and powerful vocals. The music is very tastefully coloured with a jazzy piano and a big band sound with brass, the most adventurous and surprising song.
So some nice moments, but in general this album sounds too predictable and smooth for a fan of progressive rock music.
**+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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