I just finished it and liked it a bit more than some of you. But I understand where you’re coming from.
It is very mellow. The songwriting has kinda been like this on anything after 1999’s The Time Machine album which, in my opinion, was the last great AP album. I’d love to have that and 1993’s Try Anything Once in surround!
The sound is fine to my ear. Would be nice to have lossless but I’ll take this for the good price. Like the Eye In The Sky BR, it is very unprocessed sounding, which is different but not necessarily bad. Surround I thought was good.
Answering my own question, longtime AP guitarist Ian Bairnson appears on just 2 tracks.
Having seen a recent AP live show, I was kind of dreading Alan’s lead vocal on As Lights Fall (he really shouldn’t sing lead live) but was pleasantly surprised. That song is kind of a touching personal reflection on his long career as it fades with age.
The packaging, artwork and “magic” theme are done well.
LG OLED55C6P, Panasonic UB-820, Sony UBP-X800, Zidoo X9S, Denon AVR-X3400H, vintage Carver M1.0T amp, Axiom M60v3 Mains & VP100 Center, Original SVS 20-39pci Cylinder sub, Phase Tech Surrounds & 2 Polk RC60i Atmos. Desktop system: Fully restored (by me) vintage Marantz 2275 stereo receiver from 1976 driving a pair of Axiom M2v3's, BIC 10" Sub.