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The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn Of A Friendly Card CD (album) cover

THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD

The Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.48 | 343 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars They had nothing left to lose, but a lot to win

After the disastrous Eve album, Alan Parsons Project returned to form here with The Turn Of A Friendly Card. In my opinion, this is one of the project's best works. The title suite, Turning Of A Friendly Card, that fills up most of the second side of this album, is particularly effective and clearly the highlight of the album. This five-part suite is not only one of Alan Parsons Project's very best works, it is also probably their most Folk-influenced work. The inclusion of some flutes, harpsichord, accordion (or what sound like one) and mellow acoustic guitar. However, it should not be expected that this is a genuine Prog epic. It is really based on individual songs, thematically tied together to form a enjoyable whole.

The suite is book-ended by the two parts of Turning Of A Friendly Card itself. In between we get a good instrumental part called The Ace Of Swords. This is different (and better) compared to your usual Alan Parsons Project instrumental. Nothing Left To Lose is a folky, acoustic semi-ballad with some lovely vocal harmonies that changes about half way through and turns into a rocker with good, energetic, electric guitar work - quite impressive by Alan Parsons Project standards! The part named Snake Eyes is the least interesting one, and also the part most typical of the Project and also the most similar to the material of the first side of this album. Overall, this whole (well, almost) suite is quite nice, exploring some unusual (for The Project) musical places and keeping the listener interested through changes of tempo, mood and instrumental set up. Given the folky elements this should certainly appeal to fans of Prog Folk, but it is hardly Thick As A Brick!

The first side of the album is, as already indicated, less interesting and more typical of The Alan Parson's Project. Still, this is certainly better than most of the songs from Eve or Pyramid. I must say that this album holds together better than most of the Project's other albums. There are different vocalists on this album's tracks as on all other Alan Parsons albums. However, here it is not that obvious, because the vocalists used are not too different from each other (or at least not as distinctly different as, say, Arthur Brown and the other vocalists used on Tales Of Mystery And Imagination). In my view it almost never works to have different vocalists on different tracks on the same album, it usually gives the album a disjointed and incoherent feel. Not too damaging here though.

The worst song of the album is Games People Play. It has some of that horrible Disco-flavour that plagued some songs from earlier Alan Parsons Project albums. The song Time sounds very much like Pink Floyd, on the verge of being a rip-off of Us And Them from Dark Side Of The Moon.

Recommended. Possibly the best Alan Parsons Project album.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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