When I was young and obsessed with prog rock, people used to make fun of me. They would learn I loved prog and they would be bemused or even a little shocked/outraged. And I was confused because I really liked the stuff. Eventually, I realized that those who made fun of my tastes were often talking about different prog. One day my friend just started ripping on Supertramp and then apologized to me and I finally realized that what my friends thought was prog and what I was listening to were two different types of prog. Based on this record, the Alan Parsons Project is the type of prog my friends thought I listened to.
There is a group of later prog bands that seem to have listened to late ’60s/early ’70s prog and thought that what the music needed was to be more accessible. So they brought in more hooks and poppier elements. The APP seems to have decided that prog wasn’t danceable enough. So to their supposed adaptation of an Isaac Asimov novel they add funk, and such a neutered version of it that it could be mistaken for disco. There’s a definite Steely Dan vibe here, albeit without Fagan’s cutting wit. This is prog for people who listened to prog and thought “This would be so much better if I could dance to it!” and acted accordingly. It’s pretty wussy.
Though there moments of genuine prog and there moments I actually like, for the most part this strikes me as prog rock for people who wouldn’t like the real thing. It’s meant for a (’70s) club, which feels downright odd, given the fact that this is supposedly an adaption of a high brow science fiction novel.
6/10 because it’s competent
All songs written and composed by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, except where noted.
- “I Robot” 6:02
- “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” 3:22
- “Some Other Time” 4:06
- “Breakdown” 3:50
- “Don’t Let It Show” 4:24
- “The Voice” 5:24
- “Nucleus” 3:31
- “Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)” 3:49
- “Total Eclipse” (Andrew Powell) 3:09
- “Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” 3:28
- David Paton – bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Stuart Tosh – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Ian Bairnson – electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Eric Woolfson – keyboards, vocoder, backing vocals
- Alan Parsons – keyboards, vocoder, backing vocals, acoustic guitar
- Duncan Mackay – keyboards
- B.J. Cole – steel guitar
- John Leach – cimbalom, kantele
- Lenny Zakatek, Allan Clarke, Steve Harley, Jack Harris, Peter Straker, Jaki Whitren, Dave Townsend, the English Chorale, the New Philharmonia Chorus – vocals
- Hilary Western – backing vocals
- Smokey Parsons – backing vocals
- Tony Rivers, John Perry and Stu Calver – backing vocals on “Some Other Time”
- Orchestra and choir arranged and conducted by Andrew Powell