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The Alan Parsons Project - Eve CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

2.73 | 301 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Considered controversial at the time of release, and saddled with a reputation that has been hard to shake, The Alan Parsons Project's 1979 album 'Eve' is, for many reasons, considered one of the group's lesser works.

A kind of quizzical concept album about the nature of woman kind - conceived and written by two men we must add - 'Eve' features a selection of songs that meditate on both the positive and negative aspects of the fairer sex, and features cover art despicting two models wearing veils. Only look a bit closer, and the glamourous women are revealed to have beauty-blighting facial scars.

Along with the concept, the cover was one of the many ill-conceived ideas featured on an album that was, sadly, symptomatic of it's era. The late seventies was still a time of overt male rule in the workplace, and despite the best intentions of both Alan Parsons and his erstwhile writing partner Eric Woolfson, 'Eve' as a concept is, at best, a clumsy mistake.

The duo's fourth album following 'Tales of Mystery & Imagination', 'I Robot' and 'Pyramid', 'Eve' was a calculated break from the progressive pop imprint of it's predecessors, and was the first Alan Parsons album not to start with an instrumental opener. Instead, this was a song-based album that sought to widen the group's appeal, a ploy that didn't work as well as intended.

Fronted by guest vocalists Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek, and with Parsons and Woolfson once again backed by three quarters of the Scottish rock group Pilot, 'Eve' features the usual crisp production values, yet at first listen seems rather unexceptional.

However, like all good albums, 'Eve' needs multiple listens to fullt grasp.

The strength of the Parsons and Woolfson creative team was always the outstanding mix of first-grade production skills and hook-laden songwriting, and their ability to graft catchy melodies onto deceptively progressive music. Whilst the latter is largely absent here, it only goes to accentuate the former.

Tracks such as the groove-laden opener 'Lucifer', which postulates about the vices of woman, kicks proceedings off with a surprisingly tangy guitar-led sound, and features strong vocals from Rainbow, whilst the edgy 'Damned If I Do' powers along with sharp guitars and snapping snare drums.

There are less impressive moments.

'I'd Rather Be A Man' borders on the downright offensive, whilst also sounding like the kind of sub R'n'B-schtick Gloria Gaynor ended up doing in the mid-eighties, and the jerky 'Secret Garden' is beyond maudlin.

But the album actually holds together, even if the subject matter jars badly in the moden era.

There are few better at concocting string melodic progressive pop, which is both thoughtful and popular, than The Alan Parsons Project, and even on an album considered one of their weakest, their are still many strong songs, all once again brough out by the crystal clear production.

Parsons started as an Abbey Road engineer of course, working on Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' album in 1972 before becoming a fully-fledged in-house producer, overseeing albums for Steve Harley, Ambrosia, Al Stewart and The Hollies.

A songwriter, Woolfson worked for Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label, before leaving to conceive his dream project, a musical based on the works of noted horror author Edgar Allan Poe.

Their combined skills, and the unique nature of the group, which saw musicians brought in on an album-by-album basis to play the music written by Parsons and Woolfson, meant every album had it's unique concept, and it's own sound.

'Eve' is certainly one of their more mediocre efforts, yet there is still much to recommend.


stefro | 3/5 |


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