KeatsIn 1993, after splitting with Alan Parsons Project co-founder Eric Woolfson (who was destined for a new career in musical theater with his Freudiana project, which itself resulted in an excellent if obscure Project album), the aforementioned Mr. Parsons re-launched his group minus the Project moniker – and, for the first time, accepted songs written by members of the long-time group members. (Virtually all of the Project tunes were written by Woolfson and Parsons, with a few choice contributions by orchestral arranger Andrew Powell of Ladyhawke fame). But almost ten years before 1993’s Try Anything Once album, there was a self-titled one-off effort by the Project backing band, operating under the name of Keats.

With such legendary session players as guitar god Ian Bairnson and ex-Pilot members David Paton and Stuart Elliott, Keats isn’t short on talent – but the Keats album sounds like it’s a little short on inspiration. Parsons produces, and that’s a big part of the problem – it sounds like a lost Alan Parsons Project record, only the songs aren’t anything that leap out at the listener. “Walking On Ice” is the best song here by miles, with some excellent vocal harmonies and intriguing keyboard and synth work. Most of the other songs are the aural equivalent of blending into the wallpaper, with a distinctly 80s sound (and one of which veers dangerously close to copying Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger”).2 out of 4

This reissue by Renaissance Records – an indie label which has released CDs by such artists as Bill Mumy and The Be Five – is rounded out by two interviews and some previously unreleased tracks. The interviews are informative, if rather perfunctory, but will yield little information not already known to die-hard Alan Parsons Project fanatics.

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  1. Heaven Knows (3:56)
  2. Tragedy (5:01)
  3. Fight To Win (4:10)
  4. Walking On Ice (3:31)
  5. How Can You Walk Away (3:41)
  6. Turn Your Heart Around (3:44)
  7. Avalanche (4:06)
  8. Give It Up (4:25)
  9. Ask No Questions (3:24)
  10. Night Full Of Voices (3:56)
  11. Hollywood Heart (3:43)
  12. interviews with Alan Parsons and Ian Bairnson (26:00)

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