It's about time this classic from The Alan Parsons Project is finally getting its due and receiving a sterling remaster treatment. I Robot is one of the late 70's AOR/prog rock gems, a stunning work filled with lush, dreamy soundscapes, great pop hooks, and plenty of symphonic arrangements. Sort of like a poppier answer to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (Parsons was actually the engineer on that classic record), I Robot saw the partnership between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson really start to bear fruit. The band's debut Tales of Mystery and Imagination in 1976 introduced their take on symphonic rock and Edgar Allan Poe to the world, and with I Robot the duo and a an incredible case of musicians created a sci-fi extravaganza about the rise of the machine and the decline of man, as the human race tries to create the robot in his own image. The formula and story really worked, resulting on one of the 70's true prog rock classics.
The Alan Parson Project were always good at mixing up melodic prog rock with catchy AOR hits, and here there's an abundance of both. The opening title track combines snappy melodies and tons of keyboards from Woolfson, Parson, and Duncan Mackay, plus the gritty guitar work of Ian Bairnson, and a choir. Two classy, unforgettable AOR tracks follow, the funk/rock staple "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", complete with Woolfson's snappy keyboard licks and Lenny Zakatek's great vocal, and the soaring "Some Other Time", with some stunning orchestral bits, clavinet, and layers of guitars. "Breakdown" is another addicting funk/pop/rock piece with emotional vocals from Allan Clarke, and layer upon layer of guitars, keyboards, and choirs, giving the song a huge sound. After the proggy ballad "Don't Let it Show", which features some gorgeous vocals from David Townshend and John Wallace's tender piccolo trumpet, comes the space age funk of "The Voice". This tune is a real winner, with dreamy synths from Woolfson and Parsons' vocodor effects to go side by side with Bairnson's wah-wah guitar washes, David Paton's bubbly bass grooves, and Steve Harley's great vocal performance.
More dreamy prog rock follows on "Nucleus" and "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)", the latter combining Pink Floyd space rock with the pop sensibility of ELO. Choirs and orchestra combine on the chilling "Total Eclipse", and the album ends with the stunning instrumental "Genesis Ch1 V.32", which sees Bairnson laying down some sinewy melodies over soaring synths and strings. This remaster, which overall sounds just spectacular, also comes with a host of bonus tracks, which are mainly early mixes and demos. The most noteworthy is the 10-minute "The Naked Robot", an expanded early take on the title track and "The Voice", so if you like the bubbly synths and clavinet of those pieces, get set for an extended journey through those themes. The booklet contains a track by track breakdown on who played on each piece, as well as an essay on the album and commentary by Parsons himself.
So, dump your old copy of I Robot and rush out and get this new and improved version...it's that simple!
1. I Robot
2. I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
3. Some Other Time
5. Don't Let It Show
6. The Voice
7. Nucleus 05
8. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)
9. Total Eclipse
10. Genesis Ch. 1. V. 32
11. I Robot (Boules Experiment)
12. Breakdown (Early Demo of Backing Riff)
13. I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You (Backing Track Rough Mix)
14. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On) (Early Stage Rough Mix)
15. The Naked Robot (Early Stage Instrumental Mixes)