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An Eye Opener,
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This review is from: Eye In The Sky: 25th Anniversary Edition (Remastered/Expanded) (Audio CD)
Funny how you get into some bands. I bought an album in 1982 in my local record shop and on the counter was a pile of flexi discs for this album entitled 'An Eye Opener'. I must have played the wretched piece of floppy plastic over and over again as the quality of the music (Sirius/Eye in the sky/Psychobabble/Old and Wise) which was edited together in teasing segments was so good. Needless to say a full purchase of the album soon followed, as it did I suspect for many other music lovers lured in by this very effective marketing ploy. The remaining APP albums soon found their way into my collection too.
Now, 27 years later the music needs no such ploys to music afficiandos. 'Eye in the Sky' along with its predecssor 'The Turn of a Friendly Card' are probably the creative peak of Alan Parsons and his equal partner, the late Eric Woolfson. The album scarely has a duff track on it with the possible exception of 'Step by Step' which Alan Parsons has been quoted as being not too keen on himself. The opening 'Sirius/Eye in the Sky' is as good a song of this genre that you're ever going to hear with its dramatic keyboard opening, Ian Bairnson's perfect guitar solo before merging into the wonderful title track sung so well by Eric Woolfson. The singles record buying public of the UK missed out on a treat with this song unlike in the US where in the summer of 1982 it peaked at number 3 behind two other songs that also missed out in the UK and followed another 'Eye' song up the charts! ('Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor). 'Children of the Moon' is a bit of an anticlimax after such a quality opening but it's a bouncy song ably sung by Pilot's David Paton before the soothing fade to 'Gemini' sung by Chris Rainbow who contributes a lot of the backing vocals throughout the album (checkout his 'looking at you' echoes on the title track). 'Silence and I' is a mega seven minute track full of great instrumentals, time changes and a wonderful orchestral score by Andrew Powell. Eric Woolfson once again sings lead vocals. Ian Bairson's guitar is much to the fore in the fade out. Lenny Zakatek features on virtually all APP albums and on this one he has two tracks. 'You're gonna get your fingers burned' is ideally suited to his rougher edge voice and it's the album's sole rocker. 'Psychobabble' is sung by Elmer Gantry and it's an oddball type song with an unusual intro featuring some wonderful bass lines from David Paton and the English Chorale feature in the middle section. A great live track this one. Each APP album features some sort of instrumental and the second one on here is a perfect piece of infectious synth pop called 'Mammagamma'. The aforementioned 'Step by Step' (the second Lenny Zakatek song)is the penultimate track and it's...well OK; not one I'd select to play on it's own. Last, but definitely not least is 'Old and Wise' and I don't mind saying (if you pardon the pun) that it's brilliantly sung by Colin Blunstone. A big hit in the UK this one (one week at number 74) the song features lush orchestration and a brilliant sax solo played by Mel Collins in the fade out.
So what else can this reissue offer to enhance what is already a fantastic album? Some demo outtakes and snippets of the songs that either are buried in the original mix or recorded but not used. An Eric Woolfson song 'Any other Day' that didn't make the album in the end but was recorded some years later. It's great to also hear Eric singing 'Old and Wise' with a different backing track arrangement (minus the orchestra and sax). Not as good as Colin's rendition, but a great version nonetheless. The extensive sleeve notes provide insight and background to the album although this issue is minus the song lyrics included previously.
In summary, a great album highly recommended.