The Alan Parsons Project, Eve

If you looked at the cover, where women in Victorian veils and merciful shadows obscure their half-ulcerated faces, you might condemn this album as misogynistic on its very face (which I suppose would be true in a literal sense). Songs like "You Lie Down With Dogs" only complete the initial impression; a cynical interpretation might find the song's fleas a metaphor for other venereal arthropods, and then David Paton piles on as he'd rather be a man "'cuz a man don't crawl like you do," while "You Won't Be There" and "Winding Me Up" repeatedly decry the feminine manipulation of the fragile male ego. However, a careful listening demonstrates just about every line on side 1 was truly subtle satire, evidenced by the sharp contrast with the second side (led by the album's low point, "Damned If I Do") as it morphs into a portrait of the courageous ("Don't Hold Back"), virtuous ("If I Could Change Your Mind", with the wonderful Leslie Duncan on lead vocals), and, I guess, mysterious ("Secret Garden"). The album's chief problem is that the concept is far more adventurous than the music: in almost every artistic dimension this album is absolutely typical of APP's formulaic 1970s output, with a couple semi-heavy tracks, a couple meditative tracks, a couple instrumentals and a saccharine closer. That doesn't make it bad, but it does take the punch out of what could have been an interesting musical commentary on the state of human relationships and gender, leaving only the syphilitic sores on the front cover as a conversation piece. The reissue adds the usual tiresome early mixes and demos, but does have one noteworthy gem, the lovely "Elsie's Theme" from The Sicilian Defence, their infamous contractual obligation album that "never was." (Content: mild innuendo.)