Alan Parsons – From the New World (Album Review)

Alan Parsons – From the New World (Album Review)

Born on December 20, 1948, in Willesden, London, England, Alan Parsons is one of the institutions in the annals of Progressive/Pop Rock. He is up there in the genre’s pantheon of prolific leaders whom include Dennis DeYoung (of Styx) and Joe Lynn Turner (Fandango, Rainbow).

An audio engineer by trade, he began his songwriting-singing excursion in 1975 as part of the successful The Alan Parsons Project, Parsons eventually embarked on a solo career in 1993, when he unleashed his debut album, Try Anything Once. Four records ensued, until 2019’s The Secret; and now a new one has just come out.

Released on Friday, July 15, 2022, via Frontiers Records, Parsons’ sixth offering, titled From the New World, maintains his trademark style that combines the catchiness of Pop Rock, intricacy of Progressive Rock, with a touch of the ambient soundscape of film scores.

From the New World opens with the majestic sound of the Power ballad “Fare Thee Well,” which is contemporary yet familiar, courtesy of the guitar line’s referencing one of The Alan Parsons Project’s classic track, “I Robot.” Another powerful, anthemic guitar-laden song comes next in the form of “The Secret.” Definitely a highlight, “Uroboros” was made special with the Satriani-reminiscent guitar melodies and by featuring Vocalist/Guitarist Tommy Shaw of Styx.

With “Don’t Fade Now,” Parsons then calls upon his inner rustic sensibilities with this song’s folky tendencies. Another old-soul piece, the piano-led “Give ‘Em My Love,” on the other hand, is bathed in Glam Metal balladry; this time featuring one time Quiet Riot Vocalist, James Durbin; and veteran Blues-Rock guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. “Obstacles” and “I Won’t Be Led Astray,” which is sung by David Pack (formerly of Ambrosia) then follow in the same slow and piano-oriented vein.

Parsons then treats the listener to “You Are the Light” – something light, bluesy, and countryish. After the subtly dark groove of “Halos” and sparse, filmic, and Gospel-tinged “Goin’ Home,” Parsons finally wraps up his latest oeuvre with a rather faithful rendition of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” with Tabitha Fair on lead vocals.

What is good about seasoned musicians such as Parsons is that when they release an album, they have at their disposal all the necessary resources and ingredients that make it really good. The album has insights and experience, prime recording studios, equally seasoned sessionists, guest musicians, and a great production team. Most importantly, it is the songwriting talent and musical vision of the main artists themselves that has been honed over decades that shines bright. From the New World is the sum of all these things that make a record great and memorable. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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