Personnel: Roger Hodgson (vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion); Ken Allardyce (vocals, harmonica); Clair Diament (vocals); Scott Page (saxophone); Jimmy Johnson (fretless bass); Michael Shrieve (drums).
Vocalist/guitarist Roger Hodgson must have really felt stifled toward the end of his tenure in Supertramp in the early '80s -- despite co-writing and singing many of the band's biggest hits -- because his solo debut, 1984's In the Eye of the Storm, is a remarkable work of explosive creativity. Hodgson wrote, sang, arranged, and produced In the Eye of the Storm, but the real kicker is the fact that he played every instrument himself, with a few exceptions such as drums and fretless bass guitar on a few cuts. As a result, In the Eye of the Storm is easily the best synthesis of pop and progressive rock since, well, prime Supertramp. The spirit of traditional progressive rock experimentation is alive on this album; five of the seven songs exceed six minutes. The brilliant leadoff track, "Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)," is nine minutes long. An edited single just missed the Top 40, but every second of the sound effects, driving piano, tasteful guitar, and Hodgson's aggressive singing of this cynical song must be heard to be fully appreciated. "In Jeopardy" has a cha-cha, shuffle-like flavor and Hodgson's monotone vocals provide a faintly creepy effect. The gentle ballad "Lovers in the Wind" is sweetly arranged. "Give Me Love, Give Me Life" is exuberantly optimistic and hyperactively bouncy. "I'm Not Afraid" fearlessly flows back and forth between darker sounding melodies and upbeat pop. The creamy "Only Because of You" can be favorably compared to the floating instrumental passages on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. Without question, In the Eye of the Storm is an exceptional piece of highly listenable craftsmanship. ~ Bret Adams