Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1984)

- Ian Bairnson -- guitar

- Pete Bardens (RIP 2002) -- keyboards

- Colin Blunstone -- vocals

- Sam Elliott -- drums, percussion

- David Paton -- bass, synthesizers, backing vocals




- Pete Bardens (solo efforts)

- Colin Blunstone (solo efforts)

- Camel (Pete Bardens)

- The Cheynes (Pete Bardens)

- Richard Cottle 

- Neil McArthur (aka Colin Blunstone)

- The Alan Parsons Project

- Pilot (Ian Bairnson, Sam Elliott, and David Paton)

- Shotrgun Express (Pete Bardens)

- The Village (Pete Bardens)

- Eric Woolfson

- The Zombies (Colin Blunstone)




Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Keats

Company: EMI America

Catalog: ST-17136

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1535

Price: $15.00


At least on paper a band like Keats seemed to have everything needed to ensure commercial success.  The line-up was certainly impressive featuring:


- Former Them and Camel keyboardist Pete Bardens

- Pilot members Ian Bairnson and David Paton

- Cockney Rebel drummer Sam Elliott

- Ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone


The five members had actually come together working on various Alan Parsons Project collections and longtime  Parson's collaborator Eric Woolfson was seemingly the driving force behind the band.  Woolfson apparently saw an opportunity for these APP sidemen to record on their own.  Unfortunately, in spite of it's musical pedigree, the Parsons produced "Keats" was easily one of the biggest disappointments I've stumbled across.  I'm a big fan of all of the bands listed above and as hard as I've tried to learn to like this album, it just isn't in me.  With the exception of Barden's pretty Alan Parsons Project-styled  'Avalanche', tracks like 'Heaven Knows', 'How Can You Walk Away', and the single 'Turn Your Heart Around' came off as faceless and soulless mid-'80s corporate AOR.  This was music as a product, rather than music as an art form.  Slick, calculate, technically proficient, and boring as all get-on. you had to wonder how it was possible for such a collection of talent to come off sounding so rote and uninspired.  Perhaps because they'd all played on Alan Parsons Project  albums, the set sounded a bit like a second rate APP release.  What a waste.  By the way, James Marsh's horrendous cover art certainly didn't do the band any favors.   


"Keats" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Heaven Knows   (Pete Bardens) - 3:56  rating: ** stars

One of four Peter Bardens compositions, 'Heaven Knows'  served to showcase the band's AOR sound.  That's not to say it was bad, rather it was kind of faceless in a corporate fashion - imagine something mildly progressive, but crafted with the an ear for FM radio - something  along the lines of The Alan Parsons Project, Asia, or perhaps Toto. 

2.) Tragedy   (Colin Blunstone - Stuart Elliott) - 5:01  rating: ** stars

Complete bland and forgettable slice of AOR.  Seriously, five minutes after hearing it you won't be able to remember anything about the tune, other than The Bee Gees had a hit with a similarly titled song. 

3.) Fight To Win   (Pete Bardens) - 4:10

With a lyric that I guess was supposed to be inspirational, 'Fight To Win' sounded like it had been lifted from a second-rate Alan Parsons Project album.  I like APP so that wasn't necessarily a slam.  Catchy in the same way a toothpaste commercial might be.   rating: *** stars

4.) Walking On Ice   (David Paton) - 3:31  rating: ** stars

If only because it dropped some of the horribly dated '80s AOR moves, the Paton-penned and sung ballad 'Walking On Ice' made for a nice change of pace.  It wasn't a great tune, but the harmony vocals were kind of nice.    

5.) How Can You Walk Away   (David Paton) - 3:41  rating: ** stars

'How Can You Walk Away' found the band returning to faceless AOR territory.  The less said about it, the better.  


(side 2)
1.) Turn Your Heart Around 
   (Pete Bardens) - 3;44   rating: ** stars

The album's lone single, 'Turn Your Heart Around'  simply wasn't particularly attractive having a "stitched together" feel.   For anyone interested, YouTube has the promotional video released in support of the 45:

- 1984's 'Turn Your Heart Around' b/w urn Your Heart Around'' (EMI America catalog number P-B-8234)

2.) Avalanche   (Pete Bardens) - 4:06    rating: **** stars

Bardens wrote it, but Blunstone handled the lead vocals.  The most Alan Parsons Project sounding track, to my ears this was also the collection's standout performance.  Beautiful ballad with a bit of oriental flavor in the synthesizers.  This is the one I would have tapped as the single.  

3.) Give It Up  (Ian Bairnson) - 4:45  rating: *** stars

I've always been a big Bairnson fan and the poppy 'Give It Up' was a nice change of pace, moving towards Pilot-styled pop at the expense of the band's AOR catalog.  

4.) Ask No Questions  (Ian Bairnson) - 3:25  rating: *** stars

Probably the album's most overtly commercial tune, it had a decent title hook and some nice harmony vocals, but sounded suspiciously like a rental car commercial.   Barden's cheesy synthesizer solo didn;t help.   

5.) Night Full of Voices  (Colin Blunstone - Stuart Elliott) - 3:57  rating: *** stars

Perhaps because Blunstone handled the lead vocal, this was another track with an APP flavor.  Middling at best.


One album and one single and that was the end of their recording career.