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


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

3.35 | 460 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A few months before the end of 1981 APP released "Eye in the Sky", which in my humble opinion (and many others') is their last very good recording in their whole career. Almost instantly the opener 'Sirius' and the segued title track became APP classics: the former as incidental music for sports teams and TV programs, the latter as yet another winning single. Now, let's take into account that from their "Eve" album onwards their compositional ideas and arranging strategies had become somewhat unabashedly formulaic, and this very same thing happens in many parts of "Eye in the Sky": for instance, the intro to 'Children of the Moon' is virtually a twin brother of that of 'Snake Eyes'; the weird effects on 'Step by Step' seem to have been sampled from the 'Games People Play' interlude; and the acoustic ballad 'Gemini' is a bit reminiscent of 'The Eagle Will Fly Again'. Now, the scheme may have worn out quite a bit, but the fact is that Parsons and Woolfson are still capable of coming up with effective songs and arrange them with full grandeur and cleverness. The aforementioned 'Children of the Moon' is actually a good example of this: a mid-tempo rocker that is taken to a proggier dimension thanks to Andrew Powell's exquisite orchestral arrangements. It is a fact that the rock band's fine performance (featuring Bairnson's guitar precise riffs and exciting solos) is perfectly compatible with the academic pretensions of the orchestra - not unlike JT's partner David/Dee Palmer, Powell serves as the ultimate guardian of artistic richness for the APP material. Nowhere in this album does it become so obvious as in the ravishingly beautiful symphonic ballad 'Silence and I', a 7-minute epic well rooted in APP's vintage prog side, where Woolfson's chant for inner isolation and strict secrecy is fluidly complemented by a bombastic interlude and a climatic, dramatic final string-brass-woodwind section, whilst Bairnson's melodic solo sends shivers down the listener's spine. APP's old flame keeps on shining and burning brightly, at least for a bit longer. More conventional, but equally beautiful and moving, the grateful dying man's hymn 'Old & Wise' closes down the album in a magnificent outbreak of sheer emotion with a touch of crystalline class. Concerning the adult oriented rockers, I don't feel quite impressed by them (tracks 6 & 9), thought they might as well be enjoyed (with an ounce of guilt in the listener's heart) as mood lifters, or something to play during a friendly conversation with guests, or even having lunch with mum and dad. But, on the other hand, 'Psychobabble' goes to farther places: the sonic neurosis created by layers of sinister synths and added guitar effects works as the very nucleus of the song, making the sung parts and the guitar solo bridge revolve around it to fit into the overall structure - a fine example of APP's ability to enhance their good musical ideas via very good arrangements. 'Mammagamma' is another famous APP instrumental: the combination of Fairlight-driven Euro techno-pop and hard rock works very well, indeed. Overall balance: a good item in any good prog collection, not as brilliant as most of their previous releases, yet still comprising a lot of good stuff - my personal faves are tracks 3,4, 5 & 10.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |


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