Eye In The Sky

The Alan Parsons Project

Arista Records, 1982


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Repeat after me: if you've seen a Chicago Bulls basketball game, you've heard part of this CD. The opening track, "Sirius", is known more colloquially as the 'Bulls Intro Theme' back in the days when the Bulls actually won more than twelve games a season and Michael Jordan didn't wear blue. This is the last time I'm mentioning that, dammit. Because I have a very soft spot in my heart for the 1982 release from Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson, and their usual cast of crazies; it was, I think, the third rock album I ever bought, and I've gone through multiple copies since then. (My current one is autographed. I'm such a geek.) my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Eye In The Sky is, quite simply, the Project's finest hour, and the best thing Alan Parsons would record until Try Anything Once.

In many ways, Eye is the transition between the seventies' Project art rock sound and the more clinical, Fairlight-laden eighties sound. Perhaps the transition zone was the best place to be; it resulted in a CD almost breathtaking at times in its complexity and beauty. As always, the musicianship and production is exemplary. Alan Parsons is the best progressive rock producer in history, and the sound here is crisp, shatteringly so, and textured. The core band of musicians -- guitarist Ian Bairnson, drummer Stuart Elliot, orchestra conductor and arranger Andrew Powell, and vocalists Chris Rainbow, Colin Blunstone, and Lenny Zakatek -- are supplemented by on again/off again Project bassist David Paton and saxophone player Mel Collins, who all do excellent jobs.

The strength here is the music, though. From the eerie harmonics of "Eye In The Sky" (a bonus gummi shoggoth to whoever can name the single(s) that kept this song from being an American Number One hit) to the soft, sad paean of "Old And Wise" (which will be played at my wake), there's no weakness at all. "Gemini" is an astonishing piece of vocal harmony, "Silence And I" is a rich, multi-layered vocal and orchestral piece, and "You're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned" is a surprisingly straight-ahead rock number that could, with a bit of imagination, be envisioned on a REO Speedwagon CD. (Live version's better, but that's a review for another day.) For me, though, the centerpiece is the triple threat of "Psychobabble" (the best weird rock song in history), "Mammagamma" (the best instrumental Parsons has ever done), and "Step By Step" (overlooked even by Parsons fans, this is one of the best pop songs in Project history).

Add in "Children Of The Moon" and what you have here is a seriously tasty piece of symphonic pop/rock, music for grownups, and one of the classic albums of the eighties. No serious music aficionado's collection should be without it. If yours is, rectify the oversight today.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-



© 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.