The Alan Parsons Project: The Turn Of A Friendly Card: Deluxe Edition

Prog rock studio specialists dealing from a new deck.

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The notional smooth-prog ‘band’ were on a roll by the time they released this concept album about chance and gambling in 1980. Inspired by a night in a Monte Carlo casino – the Project were never ones for spit and sawdust – it stands up well.

The lush nonchalance and sweet melodies sound more timeless than things that chased the punk/new wave movement, and Alan Parsons’ production is a masterclass in making calm moderation go a long way. It’s like Jeff Lynne in the process of nodding off – in a good way.

Late co-writer Eric Woolfson’s archives have been raided for formative home demos, and over two discs there’s a plethora of alternative studio versions, mixes and edits. This all rather dilutes and distracts from the main event: an unapologetic concept album (complete with a whole suite on side two) should create its own closed universe. It’s fine to stick, not twist.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.