The Alan Parsons Project

Arista Records, 1979


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


As I've mentioned before, I'm on the Alan Parsons mailing list. And as with all mailing lists, there are certain subjects you just don't discuss unless you want to start a flamethrower duel at ten paces. Now, the AP list is well behaved, so there's only a couple… but the biggest one, by far, is Eve.

One camp believes that it's the worst thing that Parsons ever put together. Interestingly enough, this includes Parsons himself. Another camp believes it's a misunderstood masterpiece. Fascinatingly enough, this may be one of those rare situations where both are half-true.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Eve isn't bad, by anyone's standards, but it certainly isn't the Project at their best form. The subject -- women -- is loaded to begin with, and the beginning of the creative differences Parsons and Woolfson had with Arista Records may have begun by this time. The deck was stacked against the Project on this CD in many ways, and it shows.

Eve is perhaps the worst engineered Project CD, for starters, its sound muddy and shallow in places. (Tracks from the CD that were remastered for the Definitive Collection release show the most improvement; even more than tracks from I, Robot). The drums lack punch in most cases, a sad undermixing of talented drummer Stuart Elliot, and David Paton's bass work is little more than average.

What saves Eve -- and what brings in that 'misunderstood masterpiece' half-truth -- is the writing. "Lucifer,", the instrumental that opens the CD, may be the best instrumental Parsons recorded in the seventies, if not all time; its driving keyboard line and eerie Morse code intro is hypnotic. "Secret Garden" is another wonderful instrumental (with what I think is an electric piano lead line), and "You Won't Be There" is a sweet, lyrical ballad, plainly illustrating Parsons' connection with more single-oriented bands like Ambrosia. "If Only I Could Change Your Mind" is wistful, elegant, and spare, a brilliant ballad with a rare female lead vocalist, and "Winding Me Up" may be the most underrated song in the Parsons catalog, funny and catchy.

Even the songs have some misses, though. Not even Clare Torry, the ethereal yodeler on Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, can save "Don't Hold Back," and the less said about "I'd Rather Be A Man" and "You Lie Down With Dogs" the better.

Eve isn't a great CD. It's not even a good one in places. But it is neither as great as some claim, or as bad as some others insist. Alan Parsons, with or without Eric Woolfson, is one of the most underrated and original voices in progressive rock history, but even he has some misses. Eve has to be counted as one, recommended for only the completist and the fan.

Rating: C

User Rating: D



© 2001 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Arista Records, and is used for informational purposes only.