Parlephone Odeon, 1990
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/26/2004
Depending on who you talk to, 1990's Freudiana either was supposed to be the 11th Alan Parsons Project CD or actually was the final breaking point between Alan Parsons and longtime collaborator Eric Woolfson. I wasn't even sure whether or not to actually put it in our Alan Parsons Artist Of The Month feature, as it ended up being credited to Woolfson and not Parsons -- but the fact is, it's an interesting little CD, even with a few blemishes, and it deserves to get noticed.
The band on Freudiana is, effectively, the Alan Parsons Project. Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Elliott on drums, Laurence "Laurie" Cottle on bass, Richard Cottle on saxophone, and Andrew Powell arranging and recording the orchestra back up Parsons and Woolfson on keyboards. The reason that it's not listed as a Project album is more complicated than this poor music critic understands, but to make a long story short it ended up being the soundtrack for Woolfson's first musical (he has since done several more) and Parsons took a few years off after this disc before going solo. If you understand that, you must write soap opera scripts.
At any rate, the CD itself is in question here. The production and engineering are, as always, great. Where Freudiana falls short is in two places: 1) Maybe it's just me, but I can't really get into the concept of Sigmund Freud as the subject of a rock opera, which is what, in effect, this is; and 2) There are about ten too many songs.
No, really. Freudiana is eighteen long tracks, and really I could have done without about six or seven of them. I really don't quite understand what, for example, Leo Sayer or Frankie Howerd is doing here, and the a cappella vocal group The Flying Pickets is lovely but really doesn't fit with the rest of the album. In effect, the first half of the CD is somewhat of a waste, with only Kiki Dee ("You're On Your Own") really cutting loose and driving her track home. (And you thought Kiki Dee was just an answer to a trivia question.)
The second half, though…ah. Starting with "Beyond The Pleasure Principle," there are a set of seriously powerful tracks that are worthy of the name Alan Parsons Project. "The Ring," "No One Can Love You Better Than Me," "Don't Let The Moment Pass," the spiritual and seeking "Upper Me" -- these are some great tracks, and when it's capped off with the goose-bump-inducing "There But For The Grace Of God" you get some idea of what this might have been. Only "Sects Therapy" jars, and I'm sure all of you know how to program your track selection on your CD player.
Do I recommend Freudiana? Yes, but. Make sure you know that there's some junk, and be selective -- but there's also some tracks it would be a shame to miss.