I Robot, by the Alan Parsons Project
As someone who is a fan of the Alan Parsons project, I took the opportunity to listen to their first album as a way of seeing to what extent the qualities of the group that I enjoyed were present from the beginning. Given the fact that this particular project springs, like many of their albums, from the realms of science fiction culture, it is interesting to see how this concept album serves to set a template for later efforts. Strikingly, from listening to this album it is clear that there was a focus and idea about music and production and vocals from the beginning of the group that continued on from there.
What we find in this album is ten tracks that are pretty straightforward for those who are familiar with the work of the Alan Parsons Project as a whole. There are spacious instrumental beds, inventive and creative production, solid vocals from a variety of artists. There is a blending of tracks and transitions that would work even better if they were not broken up (as they often are on Spotify) by intrusive advertising. Some tracks, like “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You,” make for worthwhile and impressive singles, while the album is also full of unexpected highlights from “Some Other Time,” a lovely album track, to the moving closer “Genesis Ch.1 V.32,” which cleverly seeks to add on to the following biblical language: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Overall, this album sets a standard that the group would follow over the course of more than a dozen works. Starting strong in both popular success as well as artistic quality, the Alan Parsons project would go on and reference numerous other aspects of culture and art and engage in a conversation about historoy and culture and the way that human beings interact with them and reflect on them that gave a high moral and intellectual tone to their music in general. This is a band well worth checking out and I look forward to listening to a lot more music from them in the future. If I don’t like this album quite as much as Pyramid it is at least the same sort of album that is excellent throughout.