Alan Parsons - 'The Secret'

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Alan Parsons - 'The Secret'

Welcome back Alan Parsons – please don't leave it so long next time!

It's been fifteen years since Alan Parsons released his last album 'A Valid Path'. Subsequently, he's toured around the world (unfortunately not in the UK) and he's finally decided to put out a new long-player – and what a cracker it is! Parsons is legendary for his production and engineering skills (The Beatles, Pink Floyd and of course The Alan Parsons Project) so it's hardly a huge shock that this release sounds pretty great.

'The Secret' is an album based around magic, something that Parsons is a big fan of, and it also lends a nod to the classic Parsons Project sound. Opener 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' is based on the Symphonic poem by Paul Dukas. Steve Hackett guests, adding his exquisite trademark guitar chops, and Parsons ensures that all the orchestral arrangements are up to scratch. Lead-off single 'Miracle' is an extremely catchy number sung by Jason Mraz; why it's not sat in the Top Ten of the charts I have no idea! Parsons is responsible for the vocals on 'As Lights Fall' and he actually has a pretty decent voice suited to this style of music; the song could easily fit on a Mike + The Mechanics record.

'One Note Symphony' has an orchestrated theme running through it and Todd Cooper handles the vocals with gusto. 'Sometimes' is a fantastic ballad where Lou Gramm absolutely nails the vocal; it's full of emotion and another chart-topper in a bygone era... wow! Jeff Kollman (ex-Glenn Hughes) adds a tasteful guitar solo. 'Soirée Fantastique' is a slower number which Cooper sings and Parsons adds some excellent harmonies; the guitar solo by Kollman is sublime. 'Fly To Me' is very Beatles-esque and Mark Mikel does a very good John Lennon impersonation, plus Kollman is no slouch in the George Harrison role.

Cooper returns to sing on 'Requiem' and he also plays some fine saxophone amongst the big band horns; in addition, Kollman earns his corn with a bluesy solo. 'Years Of Glory' is another ballad rich in orchestral background arrangements, to which P.J. Olsson adds a fantastic vocal and ex-Parsons Project lead guitarist Ian Bairnson reminds us of what we have missed during the last thirty-plus years. 'The Limelight Fades Away' is a rocker that sets the feet tapping, while album closer 'I Can't Get There From Here' is simply a beautiful track.

Welcome back Alan Parsons – please don't leave it so long next time!

Az Chaudhry

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