Sunday, June 23, 2013
Alan Parsons Project - Pyramid
This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Pyramid, the third studio album from the Alan Parsons Project. This 1978 concept album, which focused on the pyramids of Giza, peaked at number 49 in the UK, number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 200, and number 25 in Canada. Pyramid power and the legend of Tutankhamen (aka King Tut) were very popular in the US and UK at the time.
Side one opens with the instrumental “Voyager”. The opening keyboards by Eric Woolfson and Duncan Mackay give this overture an eerie, cosmic vibe. It blends seamlessly into the next track.
“What Goes Up…” was released as the second single. Bassist David Paton on the lead vocals adds to the wonderment of this one. The lyrics try to reconcile conventional logic with those things that appear to be impossible and implausible.
“The Eagle Will Rise Again” is next. Colin Blunstone has the vocal duty on this gentle ballad about hope, redemption and rebirth.
For the rocking “One More River” Lenny Zakatek takes the lead on vocals. This song signifies the end of the journey that started with the previous track, noting there is just one final hurdle to clear.
The lead vocals on “Can’t Take It With You” are by Dean Ford and represent a spiritual servant in the tale. He tells the great Pharaoh that all his wealth will remain behind while he dies; only the spirit transcends to whatever is next after death.
Side two begins “In the Lap of the Gods”, the instrumental B-side to the first and second single. It opens with a tolling bell, announcing the death, followed by a steady march driven by the drums of Stuart Elliott. Those fade as Ian Bainsorn's acoustic guitar lays down a mystical melody. It all builds into a beautifully orchestrated ending movement.
The first single was “Pyramania”. Jack Harris is the lead vocalist here, portraying an anxious man who is seeking instant answers and gratification from pyramid power. He is eagerly willing to believe any thing he reads about it.
The third and final instrumental track on the album was “Hyper-Gamma-Spaces”. With an up-tempo rhythm, we continue down the cosmic, mysterious course. My feet instantly tap along to the beat.
With the closing, beautiful ballad “Shadow of a Lonely Man”, John Miles sings lead and Blunstone provides additional vocals.
Back in the late 70's and early 80's, I admit I was hardly a big fan of the Alan Parsons Project outside of songs that crossed over into the US Top 40. During my teenaged years I just was not that into the progressive rock scene. As such, 1978's Pyramid was very much a mystery to me. I heard the album for the first time about five years or so ago, and I found I rather enjoyed it. For me, I think coming to it with a more mature musical ear really helped.
Looking for more Alan Parsons Project reviews? Check the links below:
- For 1980’s The Turn of a Friendly Card, click here.
- For 1982’s Eye in the Sky, click here.