Frontiers [Release date 26.04.19]
‘The Secret’ is the fifth solo album by Alan Parsons, some fifteen years after his last solo album ‘A Valid Path’. Magic provides a theme throughout the album with the Alan Parsons Live Project band members Tom Brooks (keyboards), Guy Erez (bass), P.J. Olsson (vocals), Jeff Kollman (guitars) and Danny Thompson (drums) providing the core group of musicians on here. There are plenty of musical guests, not only in the vocal department, including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and Ian Bairnson from the original Alan Parsons Project.
Opening with ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’, a symphonic poem by the composer Paul Dukas (many will know it from Disney’s ‘Fantasia’), provides a grandiose start to the album. Steve Hackett guests on this one and his playing fits perfectly into the music. An inspired choice of guest musician.
Bringing in perhaps newer and possibly younger listeners, Jason Mraz sings on ‘Miracle’, the first single released off the album. The second single ‘I Can’t Get There From Here’ features Jared Mahone, not a name I have come across before, however going by his wonderful vocal performance on here, one I shall be investigating further. It is one of those timeless songs and a definite album highlight.
Good to hear former Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm on ‘Sometimes’, where he is backed by a big, symphonic sound.
Mark Mikel, of the Pillbugs, sounds uncannily like John Lennon on the orchestral psychedelia of ‘Fly To Me’. Slightly at odds soundwise with the rest of the album, however still a good tune. P.J. Olsson’s vocal and the overall sound on ‘Years Of Glory’ harks back to the 70’s sound of the Alan Parsons Project, with modern production. That is one of the main attractions of the music bearing Alan Parsons name, the strength of the songs and the melodies.
Alan Parsons has pulled an ace from his sleeve with ‘The Secret’, all you could want from an album bearing the Alan Parsons name on it. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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