Except for the odd “A valid path” by ALAN PARSONS in 2004, this is his first “real” album since “The time machine” in 1999. I warmly welcome Mr Parsons back, and there’s a true craftmanship behind this album, I assure you.
How many artists can afford, both timewise and moneywise, using a symphony orchestra in the sessions for an album? Well, Alan Parsons can. THE CMG MUSIC ORCHESTRA OF HOLLYWOOD is the orchestra, and they are dominating the instrumental opening “The sorcerer’s apprentice” - a massive classically inspired piece that is impressive. There’s quite a musical spice to this one as well, but also some dramatic parts that even the Strauss guys would have been proud of back in the days.
Then the vocal songs begin, and it’s the single “Miracle” with JASON MRAZ singing. It’s a ligtht-weight pop/AOR tune with quite a lot of Parsons’ trade mark.
The song “One note symphony” is worth an extra point in itself. The title implies to the fact that the melody for singer TODD COOPER is just that: one note! The same note all through the track, which puts quite some pressure on the rest of the arrangements of the song. And not only do they get away with it – it’s a majestic piece of song!
Another cool thing is that Parsons himself is included on lead vocals, alone in “As lights fall” and with Todd Cooper in “Soirée fantastique”. The latter is one of this fine album‘s best songs, not far from the best that AIR SUPPLY has ever recorded mixed with some of the more commercial and soft tunes by YES (especially the backing vocals are so Yes sounding!). Well, to be honest even “As lights fall” is among the best songs. It includes the typical soft rhythm guitar picking that is so familiar from classic Parsons albums. And his singing is very good too – I mean, the man has turned 70!
“Requiem” is almost like soft big band jazz, once again with splendid singing from Todd Cooper. Just listen to the brass section in this one!
This time Alan Parsons is presenting a bunch of rather unknown names to me, among the vocalists. In “the limelight fades away”, JORDAN HUFFMAN proves to be a great vocalist with exactly the type of voice I like: a clear voice with strength.
Talking about voices; it is great to hear the wonderful LOU GRAMM again, this time in “Sometimes”. Warm strings in this ballad too, in perfect balance with the piano.
I could mention every song, but feel free to explore this fine album on your own. Very good!