Top positive review
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The enigma and genius that is Eve......
on 28 October 2008
Ah, the controversial one..... The Project reissue series has reached 'Eve', a controversial album ever since its release in 1979.
Let's not duck the controversy, misplaced though much of it is. The cover - more muted now in CD format than in twelve-inch vinyl - shows three veiled women who, on closer inspection, are disfigured on the shadow sides of their faces. The track titles - 'You Lie Down With Dogs', 'I'd Rather Be A Man', 'Damned If I Do', and so on - seem to underscore the controversial slant. 'Lucifer' - and references to the apple tree - hint that the Eve of the title is Adam's partner (though it now emerges that this may not have been the intention after all).
The album was never 'anti' women as such, but does give an ascerbic take on the power that women can sometimes exercise over men. It's an album about women's strengths, not weaknesses, but the lyrics are undeniably uncomfortable in places.
However, if we assess the album on its musical merits - as surely we should - it's a tour de force. Every track is superb. 'Lucifer' is a stunning, dark and haunting instrumental. Regular vocalist Lenny Zakatek puts real grit and bite into 'You Lie Down With Dogs'. 'I'd Rather Be A Man', sung by bassist David Paton, is another gem. Dave Townsend injects exquisite pathos into 'You Won't Be There', and Chris Rainbow's great vocals perfectly complement the ELO-style orchestral flare of 'Winding Me Up'. Zakatek returns for the ascerbic 'Damned If I Do', which benefits from marvellous orchestration (and was later memorably performed in classical format by Project orchestrator Andrew Powell).
Thankfully, a much softer take on women emerges in the last three tracks on the original album which, unusually for the Project, feature two female lead vocalists. 'Don't Hold Back' is beautifully performed by Clare Torry (of 'Dark Side Of The Moon' fame), 'Secret Garden' is a beautiful piece, and we conclude with another great vocal performance from Lesley Duncan on 'If I Could Change Your Mind'.
As well as being controversial, 'Eve' is sometimes disliked even by those who otherwise like the Project. As far as I'm concerned, it's a superbly crafted and innovative album which fuses great melodies, crisp lyrics, great vocal and instrumental performances and some exquisite orchestrations.
The nicely-remastered reissue contains some great bonus material, and these additional tracks are amply demonstrative of the perfectionism that went into the original production. Forget the controversy, admire and enjoy the music. A great album from a class rock act.