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Alan Parsons

Project - Stereotomy

Review by Gary Hill

This 1985 Alan Parsons Project album might not have all the majesty or even hits of some of their other stuff, but it's an effective album. There are three instrumentals along the road, and enough Parsons trademarks to make it feel like it belongs in the catalog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Stereotomy
Weird keyboard elements bring this into being with a bit of a trippy element. The cut evolves from there, getting more of a rocking texture as it continues. The vocals have a real driving, rocking approach. The cut has some killer hooks and intriguing changes. It's an effective opening piece. The guitar puts in some powerhouse stuff later in the piece, and this thing really soars.
Beaujolais
More of a bouncy kind of number, this is entertaining. It's a bit lightweight compared to that powerhouse opener. Still, it's got a great hook and really works very well. It's just a bit less intense than the power of that first piece.  
Urbania
The sounds of cars begin this instrumental track. Keyboards build lines of melody and magic as it works outward. The guitar paints some cool soloing as the number builds. This has quite a classic kind of Alan Parsons sound in a lot of ways.
Limelight
Gary Brooker of Procol Harum fame provides the lead vocal for this tune. There is a bit of a jazzy element at play here. In a lot of ways, this feels like something Procol Harum would have done. It's a classy cut that lends a different flavor to the album. It's actually one of the highlights, too.
In The Real World
More of a mainstream rock is the driving force here. The song is effective, but one of the more "pop oriented" things here.
Where's The Walrus?
This instrumental is another powerhouse rocker. This brings the prog home to roost for sure. It has a lot of that classic Parsons sound, too.
Light of the World
Keyboards begin this piece in style. As the vocals join I'm reminded a bit of Klaatu. The cut gets into some rocking zones as it continues. It's perhaps more in line with what you expect from Parsons as it does.
Chinese Whispers
The final instrumental of the set, this is almost exactly a minute long. There is a dreamy, trippy mellow texture at the heart of the piece. Some spoken voices emerge almost in the background as the cut moves into the next number.
Stereotomy Two
The reprise of the opening cut rocks like crazy. There is a bit of a metal edge to this beast in some ways. It is a short take, but does a nice job of bookending the set.
 
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