Harry Brewer | S'port, La. | 04/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've never owned a version of this album until now, so I don't have a clue if this is an improvement regarding the audio. I have been a fan of the Alan Parsons Project since I Robot & owned everything through Eye in the Sky. It was about that time, for various reasons, that I quit purchasing albums. Stereotomy managed to get to #43 on the charts. The song "Sterotomy" made it to #82 on the singles chart.
The Project has always used a rotating group of vocalists but at the core of this were Lenny Zakatek, Chris Rainbow & Eric Woolfson. For the first time on any Project album up to this point there isn't a Zakatek lead vocal. Eric Woolfson doesn't do a lead vocal either for the first time since The Turn of a Friendly Card. This is further evidence that the Project was taking a different tack.
The first thing I noticed with this album is there a definite eighties influence in the music, dance rhythms have been incorporated into the music of APP. Stereotomy isn't a bad album; I know it's not considered to be the best in his catalog, no, not even close, yet there isn't a weak moment in it. Unlike most of the Project's albums this one didn't open with an instrumental. It definitely makes one feel as if the Project was making a conscious effort to go into another direction. Also, unlike most of the Project's earlier efforts, there isn't a standout song here. The songs that immediately struck me as good were "Stereotomy", "Urbania" & "Where's the Walrus?", the latter two being instrumentals. Instrumentals have been one of the greatest strengths of the Project.
There are four bonus tracks here which show the evolution of some of the songs that are here. One of the bonus cuts is a song that wasn't included on the original album. Let me add one more thing: Ian Bairnson is an excellent guitarist who hasn't received all the credit he's due. He's one of the most tasteful of lead players always giving exactly what the songs required. He's well known in the circle of musicians but the public, in general, doesn't give this man the proper credit. My hats off to you, Ian Bairnson!"
Alan Parsons' near-favorite Project, second only to "Tales"
Parrish A. Highley | Somewhere I've Never Travelled | 09/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even for the ardent fan of The Project, the virtues of Stereotomy may not be as readily accessible as their earlier releases. While the preceeding two albums had a somewhat softer feel as well as the gentleness of Eric Woolfson's lead vocals throughout, Alan took the ninth project in a distinctly differenent direction. Lee Abrams, a prominent spoken word contributor to their previous album Vulture Culture, complained of the direction their recent work had taken by exclaiming, "Where's The Walrus?" Thus was born the title to one of the finest group efforts The Project has ever performed, one that earned them yet another Grammy nomination.
For those fans who took a liking to the softer approach with Eric Woolfson's lead vocals, Stereotomy may have been a bit of a shock. While Stereotomy, In The Real World, and Where's The Walrus? (Instrumental) all had a harder edge, each also deserves a close listening, especially the former and the latter which are laden with ornate and ambient depth. Not to mention it was here that John Miles made his triumphant return to The Project after last appearing six years prior on PYRAMID. However, it should also be noted that the softer side of The Project was alive and well in songs like Light Of The World, Chinese Whispers, and the astounding Limelight featuring the earthy vocals of Procol Harem's Gary Brooker.
This new remaster has a warmth that, while present on the original vinyl, was quite lacking on the original compact disc released by Arista. Of the bonus material, the two standout tracks are the pre-vocal versions of Light Of The World (Instrumental) and the newly discovered Rumour Goin' Round (Demo) which was dropped from the original song cycle of the album.
My personal view parallels those of both Alan and Lee Abrams: this departure from the softer approach of Ammonia Avenue and Vulture Culture, while good albums in their own right, was well overdue. As much as I hate to admit it, The Project had become a little too conventional by the mid-eighties. Stereotomy, on the other hand, is anything but conventional."
Blasting the Sterotomy Speakers
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 02/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After a series of albums that seemed to go softer and softer, The Alan Parsons Project plunged back into rock with their 9th album. "Stereotomy" broke tradition in several ways; an APP album that doesn't open with an instrumental, no Eric Woolfson solo vocal and the first APP album to be recorded digitally. The old DDD code on the CD made some of us squeamish with joy, as the early Parson's CD's were almost stereo soundtest quality, especially I Robot and Eye in the Sky. Parsons even had a notorious lawsuit against Arista at the time, claiming that his CD's were outselling any other Arista catalog artist and therefore, he wanted his contract and royalties renegotiated along with more artistic freedom. (Google Parsons and "The "Sicilian Defence" for more.)
It was into this new sonic world that "Stereotomy" was unleashed, and it was a pure sonic blast. The shear aggression of John Miles' voice on the title track was a harder rock that probably anything the APP had done before. The sound of 80's synths pulsed through the title track and "Beaujolais," and the trademark instrumental sound of "Where is The Walrus" and "Urbania" just popped from the speakers. In short, "Stereotomy" was the most insistent APP album since The Turn of a Friendly Card.
Sadly, the public had sort of moved on by now and "Stereotomy" met with a middling reception. It's too bad, because there are multiple excellent songs here, and a near-perfect ballad sung by Procol Harum's Gary Brooker ("Limelight'). The original album and CD had a fun multi-color slip-sleeve that was fun to toy with (not on this version, sigh). The remaster is even better than the original CD, enhancing the lower-end considerably and sounding great on a surround system. It's been out of my collection for a few years, but "Stereotomy" is back, and better than ever."