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The Alan Parsons Project

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The Alan Parsons Project Ammonia Avenue album cover
3.00 | 308 ratings | 24 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Prime Time (5:03)
2. Let Me Go Home (3:20)
3. One Good Reason (3:36)
4. Since the Last Goodbye (4:33)
5. Don't Answer Me (4:11)
6. Dancing on a Highwire (4:22)
7. You Don't Believe (4:26)
8. Pipeline (3:56)
9. Ammonia Avenue (6:30)

Total Time 39:57

Bonus tracks on 2008 remaster:
10. Don't Answer Me (early rough mix) (5:09)
11. You Don't Believe (demo) (2:22)
12. Since the Last Goodbye (Chris Rainbow vocal overdubs) (0:30)
13. Since the Last Goodbye (Eric guide vocal - rough mix) (4:25)
14. You Don't Believe (instrumental tribute to The Shadows) (3:08)
15. Dancing on a Highwire / Spotlight (work in progress) (3:57)
16. Ammonia Avenue Part (Eric Demovocal - rough mix) (2:42)
17. Ammonia Avenue (orchestral overdub) (1:21)

Line-up / Musicians

- Alan Parsons / Fairlight CMI programming (2,5,7), Linn drum machine (7), synth (8), producer
- Eric Woolfson / keyboards (5-7), Wurlitzer (1,3), piano (2,9), synth (3), Fairlight (9), lead vocals (1,3,5,9)

- Lenny Zakatek / lead vocals (2,7)
- Chris Rainbow / lead (4) & backing vocals, keyboards (5)
- Colin Blunstone / lead vocals (6)
- Ian Bairnson / acoustic & electric guitars, guitar synth (7), Spanish guitar (9)
- Mel Collins / saxophone (5,8)
- David Paton / bass, acoustic guitar (5)
- Stuart Elliott / drums & percussion, Simmons toms (6)
- Andrew Powell / orchestral arranger & conductor (4,8,9)
- The Philharmonia Orchestra
- Christopher Warren-Green / orchestra leader

Releases information

Artwork: STd (Storm Thorgerson)

LP Arista ‎- 206 100 (1984, Europe)

CD Arista ‎- 610 105-222 (1984, Europe)
CD Arista ‎- 82876838622 (2008, UK) Remaster by Alan Parsons & Dave Donnelly w/ 8 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Ammonia Avenue ratings distribution

(308 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Ammonia Avenue reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Formulaic

Much of this album is Alan Parsons Project by the numbers. That is not intended as criticism, the music is well up to the usual high standard set by Parsons, but at times it does seem to simply be more of the same.

There are a couple of standout tracks, "Since the last goodbye" is one of those Parsons ballads which can bring a tear to a glass eye. "Don't answer me" on the other hand is a Phil Spector wall of sound with a thumping beat. After just one hearing, you'll be singing along with this one big time.

The other tracks are much less memorable, and there's very little here which might be described as true prog. A few nice songs, the odd instrumental, I'm sure those familiar with the work of Parsons can pretty much picture the contents without any difficulty at all.

The shortness of the album perhaps indicates that Parsons was struggling to come up with sufficient quality material to justify a release at the time. If you enjoy APP albums, you'll probably enjoy this one, but don't expect too much from it.

Review by Proghead
3 stars I hadn't heard this album in literally years. My dad actually bought the cassette of this album just as it came out in 1984. This was the very first ALAN PARSONS PROJECT album I have ever heard. I hadn't even heard "I Robot" at the time, so I had nothing to compare "Ammonia Avenue" with anything else (until I started hearing other albums). Well, this was the album where Alan PARSONS and Eric Woolfson finally decided that this is the 1980s ("Eye in the Sky" still sounds amazingly stuck in the '70s for a 1982 recording, which was recorded digitally, by the way), so those '80s "big drums" are now creeping in, with a more pop-oriented sound.

The band already had a minor hit in 1983 with "You Don't Believe" (released as a single) and then later included on this album. I remembered the Eric Woolfson-sung "Prime Time" was also a minor hit. Not bad. Eric Woolfson also sung the mid-tempo "One Good Reason". Nice to see him doing something other than ballads like "Eye in the Sky" and "Time". I never warmed up to "Since the Last Goodbye", a rather lame ballad in my book. "Don't Answer Me", again sung by Woolfson was the album's other minor hit. It's an alright song. "Pipeline" is a pretty nice instrumental, while Eric Woolfson once again provides the vocals for the title track. This one isn't bad, and it's one of the album's more progressive tunes. I noticed that this seemed to be the album Eric Woolfson seemed the most dominant vocalist on this album. I don't recall him singing so many songs on one album. Despite this, I still think "Ammonia Avenue" was better than "Vulture Culture", but then my real interest with the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT ended with "Eye in the Sky".

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With this album title and cover you can guess that this album is something about environmental issue to save the planet and make the world green. That's actually that make people like the albums of The Alan Parsons Project which typically thematic with rhythmic music plus nice melody in pop rock setting. Yes, the lyrics are about the fear of end of humanity as a result of pollution of the nature. It's scary isn't it if the world turns into an ammonia avenue? That's the key message that Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson tried to convey.

The album starts off with radio hit (at least it was popular at my home country) "Prime Time" in relatively upbeat style with good vocal line. "Let Me Go Home" is a rocker with electric guitar work and pop-rock beats. "One Good Reason" contains computerized music especially on drums and some effects. "Since The Last Goodbye" sounds like a ballad with acoustic guitar work and mellow vocal line in good melody. "Don't Answer Me" was another pop hit. "Dancing On A Highwire" has a good acoustic guitar work that brings the music into a more upbeat music with tight bass lines, typical of The Alan Parsons Project. "You Don't Believe" is another electronic outfit with some music was composed with computer program.

"Pipeline" is a very nice instrumental with good guitar and keyboard work, performed in spacey nuance with solid beats. Keyboard effects overlay the music nicely. Saxophone enters the solo and leads the music. The concluding track "Ammonia Avenue" is my all-time favorite Alan Parsons Track. It starts with melodic piano touch followed with acoustic guitar work that brings the vocal to enter the music. Oh it's one of the best songs that The Project has ever had. "And who are we to criticize?" is a memorable and catchy lyrics in one of the segments. The song flows in coherent way and it's very natural; so any one who listens to this song would love it very much. The song is also enriched with excellent orchestration. The acoustic guitar solo in the middle of track augmented with orchestra is the best part of this song. Excellent!

It's not the band's best album but it's a good one to have. Keep on proggin ' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This was one of the most commercially successful Project albums, but it surely benefited from the previous successes of ‘Turn of a Friendly Card’ and ‘Eye in the Sky’. If considered solely on its own merits it is really no better than those albums, and I would consider it not quite as good as either of them (although it has its moments).

I’ve read this was originally supposed to be the first of a two-disc set along with the tracks that became ‘Vulture Culture’. If you listen to the two albums back-to-back you can definitely hear a lot of similarities, but then that could just as easily be said of any two Project albums except maybe ‘Tales…’. The overriding depressing lyrical theme on this, ‘Vulture Culture’, and even ‘Stereotomy’ is definitely consistent. I’ve also read this album deals with the theme of addiction, and specifically alcoholism. Alternately it is said to be all about the seven deadly sins in general. Not sure which is true – frankly most of the songs seem to deal with personal relationships gone sour. In any case, Eric Woolfson once again does a lot of the singing which is nice since his voice seems to be the most agreeable for the Project sound.

The opening “Prime Time” was later acknowledged by Alan Parsons to be a blatant attempt at recreating the hit sound of “Eye in the Sky”, and the chugging guitar riffs and bouncy tempo are heavily reminiscent of that song. That said, Woolfson’s vocals are in top form and the rhythm is quite catchy, so overall this is a pretty decent tune, although like the rest of the album is far closer to artsy pop than to any kind of progressive genre.

Lenny Zakatek sings on “Let Me Go Home”, which is pure pop-rock of the highest 80s order. Like some of his other Project tunes, the vocals are a bit awkward and the instrumentation if rather plain for a Parsons production. A rather mediocre track.

Woolfson sings again on “One Good Reason”, a rather meandering tune with a pretty odd guitar/keyboard accompaniment that might be pretty good or might be crap – even after all these years I can’t really decide. This is pretty sparse instrumentally for a Parsons tune. The lyrics could refer to a person questioning the relevance of a substance abuse counselor, or a person struggling with an inner-demon, or just someone having a fight with their partner, so they don’t do anything to help reveal the point of the album.

I think “Since The Last Goodbye” is probably the most controversial track on the album. Some people I knew back in the 80s thought this was a really classic art rock ballad, and others found it to be schmaltzy pop in the vein of Eric Carmen or Barry Manilow. I kind of like it’s plain and understated charm, although Chris Rainbow’s vocals are a bit distracting since he’s about a half-register above his comfort zone.

“Don’t Answer Me” starts off sounding all the world like a Jeff Lynne tune ala ELO’s ‘Time’. In fact back in the 80s I thought this was ELO until I actually bought the tape myself. Anyway, it’s mellow, well-constructed, and endearing. Again, not progressive – just pop, but a very nice tune for its time. As an aside, I believe this was one of the very last 8-track tapes I ever purchased. Selah.

The goofy, 70s throwback drums and bass on “Dancing On A Highwire” combined with Colin Blunstone’s vocals make this sound like an old Neil Young or Quicksilver Messenger Service song. I would say that’s a compliment, but it is also a bit odd for a Parsons tune.

“You Don’t Believe Me” is the other Zakatek song, and it’s indistinct pop-rock just like “Let Me Go Home”. Nothing much more to say about this one.

The only instrumental on the album is “Pipeline”, very much in the same style as “Mammagamma” from ‘Eye in the Sky’, and one of the few places where the orchestra is rather prominent. The liner notes credit the Philharmonia Orchestra of London with orchestral arrangements but I can’t really hear them as much as the strings on previous albums.

The closing title track is perhaps one of the strongest Project songs since its debut, and again is sung by Woolfson, and the lyrics make the strongest case for ‘Ammonia Avenue’ as a pseudonym for ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, although again I have nothing to base that on beyond scurrilous rumors, so take it for that if you will. Woolfson’s voice is a bit strained, and he actually sound more like Chris Rainbow here. The mild tempo and slightly gloomy acoustic guitar and piano accentuate the mood and make for a peaceful ending to the album.

Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t quite as good as the two previous Project albums, but it’s not as bad as Eve or Pyramid either. The first and last tracks are solid if poppish; “Don’t Answer Me” is an artistic number that still pops up on FM radio occasionally even today; and the instrumental “Pipeline” is at least serviceable in Parsons’ terms. So overall this is probably a 3.25 album, so three stars it is.


Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's dancing on a highwire...

A good effort by Alan Parsons Project that finds the band in a quite 'poppy' direction with some easy listening songs and melodic rocking tracks. The album starts off where 'Eye in the Sky' ended, and maybe in a more commercial path. And it's dancing on a highwire - as one of the best songs of the album states - because it's ranging from weak, uninteresting tracks (One Good Reason) to some of the best songs in Alan Parsons history (title track).

I would quite agree with most of the arguments set by fellow reviewers and would rate the album somewhere in the middle of the ladder... It starts off with two 'soft rocking' tracks that don't impress but keep up the usual AP songwriting level. Unfortunately, two rather weak tracks follow (One Good Reason and Since the Last Goodbye). 'Don't Answer Me' continues in the same 'pleasant' rhythm of the album with melodic saxophone intervals.

For me, this is the point where the interesting part of the album begins... The rest 4 tracks present a more 'mature' approach to songwriting and this was one of the issues I spotted from the first time I listened to this album. More effort seems to have been given to this section of the album, and I can't understand why...

'Dancing on a Highwire' continues on the same motif but the melodies sound a bit more 'sophisticated' compared to previous songs. 'You Don't Believe' reminds of 'Eye in the sky' and follows on the same tempo; not something impressive, but flows well with the rest of the album. The last two tracks of the record really blew me off... The instrumental PIPELINE starts with a relaxing mid-tempo that puts you in the mood, and when the saxophone comes can't describe the feelings... So simple and so amazing at the same time! The album ends with AMMONIA AVENUE that brings again this melancholic feeing of 'Turn of a Friendly Card'. The song starts as a typical AP ballad with great piano and vocal melodies, with an emotional refrain, evolving to a prog track that reveals AP's true capabilities in songwriting.

Overall, it's not Alan Parsons best album, but it's worth a good listen... Especially the second half of the record. The music can be described as pop-rock-prog-related with some touches of blues, funk and classic rock. Not impressive but enjoyable!!!

Note: Even if you don't get the chance to listen to the full album, do yourself a favour and listen to 'Pipeline' and the title track. Recommended for any music fan!

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars Ammonia Avenue was the Alan Parsons Project's follow-up to their highly successful Eye in the Sky album. This time APP leaned even more towards the more commercial side of their music. Again, like with every APP album, a concept or theme was present. This time the concept seemed to deal with the misunderstandings between the science/industrial world and the general public. At least that's what I think is going on here. The songs themselves are based loosely around this theme, but the entire album is much less cohesive than prior APP albums. The album has a fascinating cover of numerous pipes at a chemical plant. The back side featured scientists wearing white lab coats with their heads buried in boxes of soil in a laboratory classroom layout. Kind of similar to some of Pink Floyd's interesting cover art.

The usual host of regular vocal contributors appears on this album, with Woolfson playing a more primary role. However, musically this album is almost entirely a pop rock affair, showing very little in the progressive tendencies that earlier APP albums featured. Ammonia Avenue continues is, again, another finely produced and engineered album by the masterful Alan Parsons, but the music and lyrics seem less inspired this time.

Overall, an interesting and somewhat enjoyable listen, but its lack of anything close to progressive rock (even pop prog), can only deserve a two star rating from me. Definitely recommended for APP fans. All others should avoid. Two stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars By the time The Alan Parsons Project released Ammonia Avenue they were perceived by critics and most people as an AOR act (their prog roots long forgotten), and after 1984 AOR was not fashionable anymore. So the enormous chart success of their previous record, Eye In The Sky, was not only not repeated, but the band (or project) was seeing by the general public as `has beens`. The time now was for the techno pop of the likes of Cindy Lauper, Duran Duran, Flock Of Seagulls and the `hair´ metal bands (Motley crüe, Poison and son on). It is only ironic that Ammonia Avenue was their first album to have what people call ´an 80´s production´status. Not that they changed their style much. But the inclusion of some eletronic drums and a few typical synths of that time did not bring anything better to their overall sound.

So in the end you have pretty much of the the same sophisticated, very well arranged and played prog pop APP was famous for after Pyromania (1978). As the other works Ammonia Avenue is a concept album this time with the theme of endangered enviroment issues (somethong that would became so dearly from the next decade on). There are some very strong cuts here like the singles Prime Time and Don´t Answer Me (great Spector-esque kind of arrangement), plus the very good instrumental Pipeline and, of course, one of APP´s best songs ever with the Title Track: this beautiful epic ballad is one of the true forgotten gems of the 80´s with its gorgeous progressive arrangement, quite unique orchestration, intelligent lyrics and a emotional vocal performance by Eric Woolfson. It is true that the third track, One Good Reason, spoils the overall effect of the album with its dated 80´s synth sound, but fortunatly it just one real drawback. And it is good to see that the songwriting duo opf Woolfson and Parsons never lost their knack for the perfect melodic tune.

Conclusion: another fine prog pop album by APP, a bit superior to Eye In The Sky. If you´re a fan of that melodic and very well crafted music, don´t hesitate. 3 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Just another Alan Parsons Project album

The Alan Parsons Project is possibly the most formulaic band in our beloved archives. It seems as if they established a list of essential ingredients that they just had to follow with each album. You can just imagine what the creative process was like.

Alan: "Ok Eric, its time to make a new album again. We need to have (1) a theme or concept, (2) a couple of guest vocalists and (3) one or two instrumentals. Anything else?"

Eric: "Well, we need a handful of catchy Pop tunes."

Alan: "Oh, that's right! You write those then and I'll work on an instrumental."

Eric: "Alright, and give Chris Rainbow and Colin Bluntstone a call will you?"

Alan: Sure do. Any ideas on the theme?

Eric: "I think we should do something on ammonia"

Alan: "Ammonia!?"


The end result is, not surprisingly, similar to Eye In The Sky which used the same basic formula. Overall, it feels like we have heard it all before. However, there are some strong moments here like the title track which is surprisingly effective and also the most progressive song on the album. Pipeline is the instrumental of the album and it works rather well, but it is not anything really memorable about it.

Ammonia Avenue is not a bad album, but I fail to be excited about it. Recommended to fans and collectors.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This is yet another pop album from the gang.

Nothing fancy really. Crafted melodies for sure, nice arrangements (how could it be different) but weak compositions overall.

Even if it is the popish of the whole, and also the best known one, I have a special kindness for "Don't Answer Me" and it's irresistible ELO sound. It is a wonderful rock ballad, with a superb melody. The work from Mel Collins on the sax is also a highlight. But to have released one great song here doesn't mean that the rest of the album is good.

Prog is absent (but by now, this is no big news), there are several very average tracks ("Dancing On A High Wire" for example) and some truly painful disco-oriented or electro-beat (it's up to you) like "You Don't Believe". For sure, I couldn't believe what I heard. Press next of course.

Mellow tracks, thin instrumental ("Pipeline"): there is little inspiration on this work. As most of my fellow prog reviewers have mentioned. But if this is the conclusion, there is hardly one single reason to rate this work with three stars. Two is the best I can do, honestly. Only a good mention to Mel for his (too brief) interventions on sax.

The closing number is more complex (it is also the longest track) and features some nice acoustic guitar and cellos. The other highlight IMO. Actually spectacular and the best song from this work.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Following in the footsteps of the tremendously successful "Eye In The Sky" album and heading for yet another moment of success with "Ammonia Avenue", if truth is to be told, the APP compositions and arrangements had become too formulaic at the time, so we can say that even if thsi album turns out to be a fine effort at art-rock with a reasonable touch of pop sensibilities, this album marks the decline of the initial APP's progressive-friendly trend. Gone is the majestic splendor of "Tales" and "Friendly Card", and so is the clever dynamics that had made "I Robot" and "Pyramid" so effective in their respective frameworks. basically, this is a facsimile of "Eye" with a slightly more pronounced focus on the energetically rocking aspect of APP's nuclear sound. The opener 'Prime Time' is a catchy tune that is so concentrated on reiterating the 'Eye In The Sky' model that eventually it aborts its potentia drive in spite of its undeniable catchiness. Later on, 'Dancing On A Highwire' repeats the same promising pattern and the same mistake: good, it could have been very good, therefore, it feels less good than it actually may be. On the opposite side, 'Let Me Go Home' is a solid rocker that would have made Foreigner, Journey or early 80s-Kansas quite proud (even enhancing the musical value of the albums that they released at the time). 'One Good Reason' could have been a funny well-crafted instrumental, but bearing lyrics that happen to not be so deep it is limited to a hybrid of early Depeche Mode and Thompson Twins. A much better use of pop-oriented technology is 'You Don't Believe', a song firstly appeared on "The Best Of" - 'You Don't Believe' has a robust melodic development, a rocking attitude, a clever interaction between the synth ornaments and the overdubbed rhythm guitars, plus Zakatek's polished singing delivered with an extra touch of controlled aggressiveness. This has to be the best APP pop song ever! The ballads 'Since The Last Goodbye' and 'Don't Answer Me' inspired melodies, but the fact remains that the single-oriented mentality behind them (and 'Don't Answer Me' was, in fact, a single, a lovely one may I admit) keeps them from developing a greater sensibility (I'm thinking of 'Don't Let It Show' and 'Old & Wise' as examples of thsi greater sensibility I'm referring to). IMHO; the best of "Ammonia Avenue" is in the last 3 pieces. I have already described 'You Don't Believe', so I'll move on now to 'Pipeline', a beautiful composition that manages to develop a simplistic basic idea and bring it up toward a masterful utilization of texturial and orchestral embellishments. All in all, the most impressive embellishments come from Mel Collins' soprano sax, who manages to convey some of the melnacholy he used in KC's 'Starless' to the APP pattern (perhaps his best solo sax on an APP album ever?). The title track is a mini-epic that somehow retakes the magnificence of 'Silence And I' (from the "Eye" album), and even if it doesn't get to match it, it certainly brings in a good vibe of stylish melancholy, in this way closing down the album with a moving effect. So, "Ammonia Avenue" doesn't state APP's finest hour, but it still can be regarded as a fine album.

(Eric, I've listened to many APP albums in your memory during the last few weeks. In the context of the present review, let me thank you for the craftily eerie beauty of 'Pipeline', one of the best APP instrumentals ever, and while I'm at that, let me thank you for all the music - Rest in peace!!)

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For the first time I have listened this album at the year of release (still on vinyl). I liked it's melodies, great musical quality, but it sounded a bit old-fashioned and pop-oriented then. But it was quite a popular listening for some years. After I just forgot about it.

It was interesting for me now just to re-fresh my old memories, playing this CD. To be honest, my impression isn't too much different, even if 26 years are gone. Strong Alan Parsons Project work. Excellent melodies, not too complex musicianship, but perfectly played and balanced. Good sound and pleasant "old school" feeling. Never too proggy, as usual more art-pop, than prog rock, it is a music showing it's true face. If too many musicians all around tried to be something they never were, Alan Parsons just doing what he knows best. And doing it good.

Without big advances, this album contains good portion of good music. Almost all songs have their own faces ( yes, it was time when it was important!), no experiments, but very pleasant music. Possibly , too much mid tempo, too safe in many places, but still never boring. And looking from now, I see that album dated good. One more confirmation that this music wasn't just some pretty sounds on the borderline of prog.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars For me APP ended their artistic vein after the wonderful "Eye in the Sky". It just seems the band was drifting toward an inevitable conclusion.

Unfortunately, I cannot find in "Ammonia Avenue" any progressive power, despite only in the title track. The main problem is that we have to wait until the very end of the record before we get to hear the album's highlight. It never happened before! The title track is similar to "Silence and I", perhaps with an even more nice melody and excellent vocals by Eric Woolfson.

So I have to notice that it is basically a collection of pop songs that float without infamy and without praise. Extremely well produced (it is no new) but nothing more than the most "commercially" successful of all the Project's records.

It is certainly a decent acquisition for fans, especially those who prefer their less progressive side, but I suggest that everyone else stick with "I Robot", "Pyramid" or "Eye in the Sky".

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Even after the mass commercial success of "Eye in the Sky" and the clarity of the APP formula going forward, Parsons and Eric Woolfson possessed enough integrity to produce a more than competent followup. It is true that the main theme of one of the best tracks, that for which the album was named, is musical retread from "Turn of friendly Card", but the inner segment confirms the project's knack for morphing its genetic material in an aurally pleasing fashion. The focus on human foibles in the lyrical concepts finds its messengers sounding increasingly like jaded 35 year olds. But compared to what else was transpiring in the 1980s, even a hackneyed Parsons is better than no Parsons at all.

Having bought in on all of ex CAMEL keyboardist PETE BARDENS' early solo material at the time of release, I recognized his debt to the APP, but it turns out to be particularly true of this era of the Project. "You Don't Believe" and "Pipeline" respectively sum up two facets of this sound: the melodic prog-tinged pop tune and the rollicking electronic instrumental, which are almost merging one into the other. "Dancing on a High Wire" is of similar high quality, every facet of the arrangement calculated to precision yet impossible to dislike, while "Prime Time" is similar to early 80s offshoot with Bardens et al called KEATS, only better. APP has a knack for beseeching us with predictability and succeeding. This quality irritates many, especially more adventurous prog fans who have forsaken their pop roots. But, while I acknowledge the many blemishes herein and even the ample flawed tracks like "let me go Home" and "Since the Last Goodbye", I still enjoy a well crafted and not over exposed AOR tune, especially one with provocative lyrics.

Here the bonus material is more disposable, the exception being a superb instrumental rendition of "You Don't Believe" that pays homage to THE SHADOWS, where we expect the protagonists to challenge each other to an old fashioned duel.

While this bouquet may not be market fresh, it's levels of noxious ammonia are well below commonly accepted limits.

Review by stefro
4 stars Even during their pop-sized early-eighties guise the Alan Parsons Project(essentially the duo of producer Alan Parsons and songwriter Eric Woolfson) were still more than capable of reeling off expertly crafted albums that carefully skimmed the gap between their commercial aspirations and artistic ambitions. Following on from the excellent 'Eye In The Sky' was always going to be a tough proposition, yet 'Ammonia Avenue', an album named after a real-life road leading up to a petro-chemical plant in Northern England, perfectly compliments it's predecessor. The opening three tracks are some of the best latter-period material the duo has produced, with the funky 'One Good Reason' showcasing the best of the outfit's eighties rock sound and prog-pop splicing within what is essentially a simple pop-rock number. Maybe the latter half of the album panders to a broader audience - the 1960s Christmas song-tinged 'Don't Answer Me' treads dangerously close to novelty confection territory - yet for the most 'Ammonia Avenue' stays true to the classic Alan Parsons Project sound. Certainly up there with 'Tales Of Mystery & Imagination', 'I Robot' and 'Eye In The Sky', this is another emotive dose of slickly-crafted progressive pop from the undisputed masters of the admittedly rather small sub-genre. In a word: excellent. STEFAN TURNER, ISLINGTON, 2012
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Ammonia Avenue" is a real slog to get through now that The Alan Parsons Project have settled into commercial AOR territory. By the time this album reared its head the band had already tasted its greatest success with "Eye in the Sky" and the formula was set in stone. While their previous album had some killer tunes, a single that rocketed up the charts and continues to enjoy airplay, and some mesmirising orchestra and a wonderful instrumental, "Ammonia Avenue" has very little that makes it memorable or worth attention. Let's start off with the good, and it is a difficult thing given the albums mediocre contents. The album cover is dynamic and memorable in itself, as most APP covers have been over the years ("I, Robot", "Pyramid" and "Eye in the Sky" are unforgettable). It depicts an chemo power plant reflected in a lake and it is a striking image perfectly capturing the concept on the album of chemical pollution. The album does feature another excellent instrumental driven by the talents of Eric Woolfson, namely Pipeline. It may not have the power to captivate me like other instrumentals over the years from APP but it is a great instalment on an otherwise dull dull album. Mel Collins is always a delight on saxophone but is underused on the album. Finally the album finishes with some prog on the 6 and a half minute title track, but it is too little too late.

Now we move onto the bad and there is unfortunately a lot of it. The album reaks of sugar coated vocals and pop, such as the nauseating Since the Last Goodbye that channels The Bee Gees, except is worse. The opening tracks are usually high points of any APP album but this time round we are inundated with AOR drivel such as Prime Time, and Let Me Go Home. The problem is although musically they can play and the production is squeaky clean, there is little to no innovation, the melodies are forgettable and the songs just go by the numbers sticking to formula.

Don't Answer Me is the song I remember on TV during the 80s as the video clip was played ad infinitum with a Casablanca detective theme and very sweet animation, including the protagonist winning the girl, after punching the thug into the moon, and then he wipes away the moon's tears and the stars say twinkle twinkle as the detective drives off with the broad in the jalopy. The melody is nice, the visuals were nice and that's the problem really; it is all so nice it has me reaching for the skip button almost by default. Funnily enough this song jolted me as I actually remember sitting down as a teen and actually being entertained by the visuals on the clip. It is very gimmicky though in hindsight and does not stand the test of time. Mel Collins is wonderful though on 50s style saxophone. That saccharine coated Phil Spector production is sterile though and just drips like golden syrup down the speakers. It really is dated, but this rocketed up the charts and is the last huge single from the group. Perhaps the album is simply too lightweight for serious consumption these days, but this is one that continues to play on the radio; it really is sentimental pap but done well, sounding strikingly like ELO.

Dancing On A Highwire boasts a cool bassline, but again the sound is mellow, light, airy and devoid of any power, unlike some APP on previous albums. On You Don't Believe we get some disco electro, which makes a nice break from the sappy mellowpop. I don't think the track though will win any fans back to the album as it is so dated it is laughable. The band have just shed their progressiveness like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon, except the butterfly has become a moth; nothing on the album moves beyond pedestrian pop and there is no inventiveness at this stage.

Then we get to the last two tracks.

Suddenly the lights go on and the band become great again, though it would take some patience to get to this point of the album after all the mush. Pipeline is an instrumental and definitively shows what the band are really capable of. Woolfson is a master of keyboards and shows it here. Collins is brilliant on sax lifting the musicscape to the stratosphere. It almost makes me cry to hear this track after enduring the ordinary material previous on the album; why couldn't the rest of the album be more like this?

Finally we have Ammonia Avenue, a progressive, yes, I said progressive, track at last. It opens with melancholy piano, soft airy vocals, almost Pink Floyd in style. It moves into a quirky time sig, a glorious lead solo, jumpy heavy guitar strikes, then blossoms out into full orchestra. It is delightful when the strings and horns chime in, so stirring to the emotions, similarly to Silence and I from the previous album. Again, the whole album could have been like this and at least these last two tracks save this album from complete disaster.

This is how the band used to sound when they were awesome; it seems so long ago since their debut now. They have gone the direction of ELP that fizzled out with "Love Beach" after the brilliance of "Brain Salad Surgery". We can all say that APP are justified in their lapse into commercialism because they were victims of chart success, or we could try to justify that they were just interested in commercial sounds, but then why the heck were they so inventive back in the glory days of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination", "I, Robot" and "Pyramid"? Instead we are left pondering on what might have been; so much talent, so much wasted on mediocrity like "Ammonia Avenue".

Review by Warthur
3 stars From their debut to The Turn of a Friendly Card, the Alan Parsons Project was producing pop-friendly prog rock; on Eye In the Sky, they crossed the border into rock-tinged prog pop. Ammonia Avenue finds their sound leaning harder on their poppier tunes, and with less in the way of progressive flourishes than ever before.

Whether this is a disaster or merely a further musical evolution is a matter of perspective. If you slide Ammonia Avenue in alongside the art pop produced by prog veterans in the 1980s, like post-Abacab Genesis or 90125-era Yes, it's a more than acceptable album in that style. But if you're only interested in the prog side of the Project, and wish their musical evolution had gone in exactly the opposite direction, you're not going to keen on this.

For my part, I fall into the former camp, but I would say that the album is pleasant, enjoyable, nice, entertaining... all those lukewarm second-tier praise words. It's not gripping in the way a really excellent album, whether prog or pop, can be.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Ammonia Avenue is a pleasant pop album with enough compositional quality from Alan Parson and Eric Woolfson. However, there is hardly any progressive element left even though the studio quality remains top. Some tracks rock harder than in the 70's and keyboards are not always prominent as they ... (read more)

Report this review (#2119075) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I continue my journey through the universe of Alan Parsons Project and have come to 1984 and another bright sounding record of the band. "Ammonia Avenue" is their seventh studio album and a good one. The cover is very industrial and interesting in its own way. It took me two listenings to get ... (read more)

Report this review (#1283392) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, it WAS the 80's! This is not an excuse for this albnum, just a preliminary fact before I review Ammonia Avenue. This is a typical mid -80's Parsons work similar to Vulture Culture and Stereotemy, very poppy with excellent vocals, as always, and a few instrumentals thrown into the mix. Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#288495) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, June 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ammonia Avenue is surely one of the best albums from the Parsons pop period and it features some hits like "Don't Answer Me" and "Prime Time". Excellent production, the album is quite easy listening anyway it doesn't disappoint people who like Alan Parsons Project style: one of its points of forc ... (read more)

Report this review (#264932) | Posted by Malve87 | Monday, February 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've always thoroughly enjoyed this album, and I can't put my finger on why. It's not strictly prog in the traditional sense, however, the songwriting and musicianship still show the class of all the musicians involved. Prime Time is an excellent opening track, very atmospheric and cool-soundi ... (read more)

Report this review (#76131) | Posted by Wasp | Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Here Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson attempt to follow up their 'Eye in the Sky' album with limited success. By this time, the Project had become a vehicle for singles and hits, probably at the behest of their recording company - Arista, who was increasingly busy with R&B acts. It's difficult to u ... (read more)

Report this review (#67744) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is the album where they went downhill in my opinion. Not in my collection anymore, had one Great/OUTSTANDING instrumental track... 'Pipeline'. I love the saxophone, and this one shows it off. Need to do my research, but think the player 'Mel Collins' also played some brilliant sax on Rick W ... (read more)

Report this review (#53759) | Posted by | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First off, remember that this is 1984 and it's the Alan Parsons Project. Musically, they are getting into electronic drums and synths more than ever. If you can't get past that, your listening experience will be tainted, and you probably won't enjoy at least half of this album. If you can , however, ... (read more)

Report this review (#5645) | Posted by | Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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