The Alan Parsons Project, Gaudi

Near the end of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson (r.i.p.)'s partnership the creative wheels were obviously falling off, which led to such unbearable dreck as Stereotomy (and I like APP — imagine the response of someone not already favourably disposed to them). The album after that, then, when they were well on their way on their downward spiral, must truly be hideous and unfortunately it is. First, the idea: a album about an architect? Most listeners won't get past the interminable first track which starts off as a museum docent tour and turns into an reject Andrew Lloyd Webber overture, and if you do, you then get to sit through another Lenny Zakatek "rocker" that sounds like everything else they'd churned out on the last several albums. And, oh my goodness, "Money Talks" — I hear Roger Waters took Parsons' name off Dark Side Of The Moon for ripping them off so inexpertly. There are exactly two highlights, the not-bad quasi-new-wave-hangover "Standing On Higher Ground," though this is a relative judgment, and "Inside Looking Out" which really deserves to be on a better album. The reissue takes the CD to new lows with seven, count 'em, seven, rough mixes and early versions of those songs you already suffered through, but worse because now the production is bad too! No Alan Parsons Project album should ever get one star, and in that sense, they've outdone themselves: that eccentricity you've noticed in Earth's orbit is in fact Antoni Gaudi spinning in his grave. (Content: no concerns.)