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Alan Parsons Project - Eye In The Sky CD (album) cover

EYE IN THE SKY

Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.30 | 305 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Whilst the first two studio albums from The Alan Parsons Project('Tales Of Mystery & Imagination' and 'I, Robot') blended slickly-produced progressive rock compositions with a catchy pop sensibility, follow-up efforts 'Pyramid', 'Eve', 'Turn Of A Friendly Card' and this 1982 release mined a much more accessible, streamlined pop-rock style that would prove commercially-successful throughout mainland Europe and, for a brief while, across the USA. The oddity that is the Alan Parsons Project was, of course, much more than just a rock band, with the core duo of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson handling the writing and production abilities and a handful of trusted musicians - mainly from the Parson-produced groups Pilot, Cockney Rebels and Ambrosia - brought into to translate the duo's ideas into musical reality. Whilst Woolfson was, like Parsons, very much a behind-the-scenes kind-of- a-guy, he in fact did contribute the fragile lead vocals that adorn the hit single 'Eye In The Sky' despite the fact that Parsons had originally vetoed the idea(!). Both 'Eye In The Sky' the single and 'Eye In The Sky' the album would count amongst the Project's most popular releases, a fact which lead to Woolfson becoming a much more prominent singer on future albums and the outfit treading a much more overtly radio-friendly path in the years to come. Fans of progressive rock in the truest sense of the word may grumble when confronted with the Project's later works, and whilst albums like 'Eye In The Sky' may lack the innovative experimentation and vivid sonic landscapes conjured up by the likes of Robert Fripp's King Crimson or symphonic stalwarts Yes, they more than make up for it with the project's warm and emotive palette of harmonies and the expert production abilities of Parsons(who engineered Pink Floyd's breakthrough album 'Dark Side Of The Moon' amongst many others). 'Eye In The Sky' is probably the purest evocation of the Project's crystal-clear sound, and also the album which opened the group up to a wider audience in the post-punk days of the early-eighties. Tracks such as the crisply-realised synth-prog opus 'Mammagamma' add a touch of keyboard-based prog to the carefully--filtered mix, whilst the funky gusto of 'Psychobabble' and the The Beatles-esque 'Old & Wise' showcase the confident Parsons- Woolfson writing dynamic at it's zenith. As is now standard in Alan Parsons Project albums, 'Eye In The Sky' starts with a moody instrumental piece whose theme and structure is repeated at various brief intervals throughout, giving the whole a 'concept' feel that belies the duo's pop-rock ambitions. Considering that Parsons, Woolfson and their team of musicians are performing one hell of a balancing act in attempting to produce slick-edged, pop-styled symphonic rock for the masses, this technologically-enhanced studio album works surprisingly well. The classically-tainted, synth-prog-pop formula has been used with varying degrees of success since the Project's1975 debut 'Tales Of Mystery & Imagination was released to an unsuspecting public, yet it is on this beautifully-assembled fifth album that the ingredients truly fit. Their earlier efforts may be infinitely more progressive, yet in the grand scheme of things it is 'Eye In The Sky' that proves to be the definitive release from this most innovative of groups. Crisp, tasteful and highly-emotive, this is the Alan Parsons Project in full, glorious flow. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 4/5 |

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