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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Alan Parsons

The Time Machine

Review by Gary Hill

This album, the latest release by Alan Parsons, finds him doing the blend of prog and pop that has been his forte for many years. It is an album that has peaks and valleys, but overall is entertaining and rather substantial.

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Track by Track Review
The Time Machine (Part 1)
Dramatic acoustic guitar with keyboard "icing" starts this cut. A dramatic building section follows this. Next comes a percussive segment that feels a bit on the "canned" side, but the melody line rescues the cut from being generic. This is the Alan Parsons of old, a classically oriented prog instrumental with pop sensibilities.
This cut is dramatic music with a spoken treatise explaining time travel concepts.
Out of the Blue
Feeling a bit like potential music for an early James Bond film, this is a powerfully melodic balladic rock number. Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley provides the vocals on this one.
Call Up
Bluesy and funky, this rocker refers to bringing back the important people of the past.
Ignorance is Bliss
A piano based balladic segment starts this cut. It becomes more adult contemporary in style. This is a mellow cut with a bluesy piano solo and an instrumental break that becomes quite progish and jazzy.
Rubber Universe
This at times funky instrumental prog cut calls to mind some of the best of old Alan Parsons.
Call of the Wild
Maire Brennan (Clannad) does the vocal chores on this number. Starting with bluesy guitar, the song leads to a nearly accapella segment, and later segments take on the mode of a progish ballad with orchestral over layers. It gets a bit more progish as it goes on, then drops back to Celtic based, nearly accapella vocals.
No Future in the Past
A rather gritty textured rock and roller, this on has a classic rock feel to the chorus, perhaps a bit like bands such as Spirit. It features an intriguing bridge.
Press Rewind
This is a strong balladic prog type cut. "If you could press rewind and do it all again, Would you change your mind, Would you change a thing?" This one seems to touch on the sounds of such artists as The Beatles, newer Marillion and even Billy Joel. This is one of the stronger tracks on the album.
The Very Last Time
"The Very Last Time" is a pretty and rather sad song in a balladic mode. "I need to remember the day, When we said goodbye for the very last time, There was still so much to say, But time came between us and quietly stole you away."
Far Ago and Long Away
A mysterious sounding prog instrumental, this is a very strong composition. Ambient at times, most of the number is percussion dominated. It leads directly into "The Time Machine (Part II)"
The Time Machine (Part II)
A strong, but brief, prog instrumental in the mode of old AP, this is a reprise of the opening track on the disc.
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