Friday Music - FRM-4190 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - Pressed at RTI - 829421419006
Year of the Cat brought Al Stewart a genuine worldwide smash with its title track, and for its successor, he did make a few concessions. These, however, were slight -- just a slight increase of soft rock productions, an enhancement of the lushness that marked not only Year of the Cat but also Modern Times.
These happened to be welcome adjustments to Stewart's sound, since they increased the dreamy continental elegance at the core of his work. And that's why Time Passages is the equal of Year of the Cat -- it may be more streamlined, but the adjustments to his sound and the concessions to the mainstream just increase the soft grace of his eloquent historical pop epics. It's possible to view this as too precious, because it is pitched at an audience who believes the common-day concerns of pop are piffle, but this is exceptionally well-crafted, from Stewart's songs, where even three-minute songs seem like epics, to Alan Parsons' cinematic arrangements and productions.
This added concentration on the texture of the recording, ensuring that it was clean, spacious, and gentle, with a welcoming surface. Of course, this means that Time Passages can work very well as background music, but it also reveals much upon concentrated listening -- enough to make it stand proudly next to Modern Times and Year of the Cat as one of Al Stewart's very best albums.
Mastered by Joe Reagoso at Friday Music Studios
Mastered from original Arista Records Tapes
1. Time Passages
2. Valentina Way
3. Life In Dark Water
4. A Man For All Seasons
5. Almost Lucy
6. The Palace of Versailles
7. Timeless Skies
8. Song On the Radio
9. End of The Day