The Alan Parsons Project

Arista Records, 1987

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Gaudi is the last actual "Alan Parsons Project" CD -- and true to form, they took on one last big theme. The CD is inspired by the life and work of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, whose Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona remains unfinished despite his death in 1926. They figure they'll get it done some time this century (maybe). At any rate, it's obvious that Sagrada Familia, and Gaudi, has the making of a Big Sweeping Metaphor (tm), and Parsons doesn't fail to do it justice. If you have to end one phase of your career, might as well end it on a high note like this one.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unlike the previous two Project discs ( Stereotomy and Vulture Culture), Gaudi has an orchestra again, arranged by Andrew Powell, and it grabs the center stage of the CD early and refuses to let go. This results in a disc that really sounds like Parsons again: rich, sweeping, cinematic, and really, really well produced. (The horses' hooves on the title track alone send shivers down my spine.) That's not to say that there's nothing new on Gaudi; the CD has a straight-ahead power rock piece that's driving and upbeat ("Standing On Higher Ground") that is probably my favorite late Project track. There's also "Money Talks," which is the closest to hard rock the Project ever got, and includes at least one amusing dig at the music industry ("Billboard, Cashbox / Money talks...")

The key pieces to the puzzle, though, are the sort of wide-screen work that harken back to The Turn Of A Friendly Card or earlier. "La Sagrada Familia" is a magnum opus with powerful vocals by John Miles, "Too Late" is an oddly bittersweet song about unfinished love, and "Paseo de Gracia" is one of the best Project instrumentals ever, a lovely piece of flamenco guitar. Only on the two Requisite Eric Woolfson-Voiced Attempts At American Soft Rock Chart Success ("Closer To Heaven" and "Inside Looking Out") fall somewhat flat -- but only a little.

Gaudi would be the last heard from Alan Parsons (by name, at least; more on that later) until 1993. It was an interesting way to go out, and leaves one wondering, once again, what would have happened if Arista Records had stopped meddling. Like Gaudi's cathedral, it's a work of art that has to be experienced to be enjoyed.

Rating: A-

User Rating: C



© 2004 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.