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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Alan Parsons

Project - Gaudi

Review by Gary Hill

This album never seemed to catch on like some of the rest of the Alan Parsons Project discs did. It’s quite a good set, though. It’s a bit toward R&B in some ways at times, but it also has plenty of trademark Parsons sound in place. I’d say that it’s not as strong as some of the rest, but it’s still very good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
La Sagrada Familia

This rises up very gradually. Church bells are heard over the atmospheric sounds early. Sound effects come across for a time. Then a spoken part, like something from television, perhaps is heard. That takes the extended introduction to the end. From there a gentle melody emerges. The vocals come across the top of that after a time. It works out to some of the powerful symphonic progressive rock for which the Alan Parsons Project is best known. This is one of the most purely prog songs they ever did – and that says a lot. It’s great stuff, packed with emotion.

Too Late
There is a lot of R&B sound in the vocal performance on this cut. It’s very much an AOR rocker and not really prog at all. It has a real 1980s sound to it in a lot of ways. This is not one of my favorites on the disc, but it’s still pretty good. I do like the tone on the guitar solo quite a bit.
Closer to Heaven
This seems to land somewhere between the first two songs. It does have a bit of an 80s mainstream rock sound, but it’s tempered with more progressive rock elements. This is a strong cut.
Standing on Higher Ground
The bass line on this brings some funk to the table. The cut has hints of things like Wham. Yet, it’s also a rocking, proggy, Alan Parsons cut through and through. It’s one of the most accessible cuts here.
Money Talks
This is definitely a change. It’s a hard rocking, guitar driven number. It has some definite blues in the mix. Still, it’s Alan Parsons. It also has some definite nods to the sound of the 80s.
Inside Looking Out
More of a trademark Alan Parsons sound is heard on this. It’s definitely progressive rock. It’s kind of a power ballad within those two concepts. There is some great acoustic guitar work later in the piece, amidst some bits of spoken dialog and sound effects. The church bells that were heard on the opening number return at the end of this. That said, it’s not really the end as it segues into the closing piece.
Paseo de Gracia
Continuing from the closing section of the last number, this instrumental shifts towards spacey prog for the introduction. Bits of rock threaten to take control. Eventually, it does get more of a driving rhythm section as some Latin acoustic guitar plays. After that section, symphonic elements and other things merge, creating a definite Alan Parsons sound as electric guitar solos. This is a classy tune and a great way to end it in style.
 
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