Saturday, December 22, 2018

"Stereotomy" by Alan Parsons Project

Song#:  2626
Date:  02/15/1986
Debut:  88
Peak:  82
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Prog Rock

Pop Bits:  After six gold or platinum studio albums in a row, the Alan Parsons Project hit a speed bump with their 1985 LP Vulture Culture. Two singles failed to generate much interested and that caused the album to be their lowest peaking to-date (#46). Next up was their ninth effort, Stereotomy. They got the ball rolling with this title-track single sung by John Miles, which did well at Rock getting to #5. However, the more prog rock track just wasn't what Pop was looking for from the group and it stalled on the chart quickly. It would end up being APP's final single to reach the Pop chart. A track from the album, "Where's the Walrus?," did earn a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Performance. APP would go on to release the LP Gaudi in 1987, which featured the #3 Rock track "Standing on Higher Ground," but then that would be it. The group's two main players, Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, would then go their separate ways.

ReduxReview:  After all these years, these guys should know that their bread n' butter for hit singles is anything pop oriented with Eric Woolfson doing the lead vocal. Yet here we are with a prog rock track without Woolfson taking the lead (he does appear in a small bridge section). This just wasn't going to make it at pop at all. I'm glad it found a home at rock radio, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee album sales. However, there wasn't much else on the album that could have done better at Pop. Woolfson doesn't actually sing lead on any song and there are more instrumentals that usual. Overall, I'd have to say that Stereotomy is my least favorite APP album. With a couple of exceptions, the songs just weren't there. They would do much better on their next LP Gaudi, which featured the epic grand track "La Sagrada Familia" sung by John Miles; and it had two Woolfson lead vocal appearances as well. I'm sad no more APP song will be covered here. They are one of my all-time favorite artists.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After the Gaudi album, Woolfson wanted their next effort to be about Sigmund Freud. Woofson and Parsons began to work on the project that would be titled Freudiana. However, disputes arose between the two and the project was sidelined. Woolfson then decided to take the material and turn it into a stage musical. The show had a successful run in Germany and was expected to expand to other countries, but a lawsuit quashed any plans. Woolfson remained in control of the original recordings and in 1990 he issued out the LP Freudiana. Although not necessarily credited to APP, it is basically considered the "lost" APP album. The songs were mainly all co-written by Wooflson and Parsons and Parsons served as producer and engineer. Woolfson continued to do stage works turning Gaudi into a musical, one called Gambler, and another based on Edgar Allan Poe, who was the inspiration for the first APP album, 1976's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Woolfson would die of kidney cancer in 2009.  2) After the split, Parsons set out on a solo career of sorts. He basically continued to use the same formula as APP and wrote, produced, and engineered tracks while getting vocal assists from other artists. He has issued out four albums under his own name (minus the "Project") including 2004's A Valid Path, which earned Parsons a Grammy nod for Best Surround Sound Album.


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