'Ammonia Avenue' was the first APP album I heard. I bought it soon after release, having heard the single 'Don't Answer Me' several times on the radio. You can listen to this alongside 'Eye In The Sky' as if the pair were a double album, so similarly are they produced. While 'Eye In The Sky' seems to be far more popular, I much prefer this album. It contains catchy melodies from beginning to end. It doesn't have the gravitas of previous releases, but musically, the material is stronger, whereas 'Eye In The Sky' contains some pretty bland stuff. Even the much-praised 'Old And Wise' is eclipsed by 'Don't Answer Me' which I believe gave APP their highest single-placing, albeit outside the top 30.
'Prime Time' and 'One Good Reason' are gentle rockers sung by Eric Woolfson, whereas Lenny Zakatek's abrasive style helps to rough up 'Let Me Go Home' and the galloping 'You Don't Believe Me'. The single and the watery 'Since The Last Goodbye' are pop items, again sung by Woolfson and 'Dancing On A Highwire' a more questioning, reserved track. After the 'Pipeline' instrumental, the lengthy title track, complete with orchestra, provides a slightly overblown touch of pomp to the conclusion of the album. While I have always liked this recording, it suffers from the same drawback as the other APP albums, namely a lack of passion. This is probably down to it being the vision of the producer and his part-time vocalist Woolfson rather than the other musicians, who Parsons moulds to his own technical standards. Barclay James Harvest, another band I like, were famously saddled with a 'poor man's Moody Blues' tag and APP's music invites the same kind of remark. That's probably why I prefer 'Ammonia Avenue' to the other albums: it moves further away from the slipstream of more successful prog giants. This is entertaining, technically first-rate rock, though it doesn't threaten to push back boundaries.