(All Album Reviews by Constable Hogweed)
Gaudi was to prove to be the last album that would feature the talents of Parsons himself and his cohort of many years, Eric Woolfson. It was a fine way to end the partnership (sadly). The grand opener "La Sagrada Familia" was a dramatic orchestra and choral inspired rock number with John Miles handling the vocals and with Ian Bairnsons (by now) unique guitar style adding an important backdrop to the theme of a story of how Antonio Gaudi started work on a spectacular cathedral in Barcelona but never finished the job. The proof still stands in Barcelona today and if you want to get away from the tacky candy floss holiday resort of Benidorm...take a look at this breathtaking monument. I am not afraid to say I was moved to tears when I saw it in 1994.
Next track up is "Too late now" a Foreigner like track with plenty of emotion from the crying guitar of Bairnson and the almost Lou Gramm vocals of Lenny Zakatek..a gem. "Closer to heaven" closes the first side (hey, I have it on tape) and is an exquisite number of chiming acoustic instruments before giving way to Bairnson on form again. The key to this song is emotion, not tricky time signatures...and it fits perfectly.
Side 2 (it’s the constables tape again) starts off with a track that I swear blind has Alison Moyet on lead vocals, But is in fact one Geoff Barringdale. This is a mid-paced rocker that builds up to a euphoric ending leaving the listener in summertime mood. Bairnson yet again shines. The penultimate track is a pure Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" rocker with John Miles showing his depth of vocals....a much underrated man I reckon. Before you know it we are back into familiar Alan Parsons territory with melancholic vocals from Woolfson and a dreamy musical section that grabs you in a heyyy lets lay back and close my eyes here....and then the punchline. The musical reprise of "La sagrada familia" is upon us..reminding us of the start of the album. Gaudi closes out with more orchestra and great guitar playing from Ian Bairnson.
An inventive and in my view an important progressive rock album, coming as it did hot on the heels of the thrash metal movement. Some notable progressive bands thumbed their noses at punk in the 70s and good on them for that. In the 80s it was Alan Parsons and his project who thumbed their noses at thrash metal in a world that was becoming seriously alienated towards prog rock....as long as we have bands like this who will stick by what they believe in, prog will never die.