“A comprehensive celebration of a band central to the rebirth of prog… impressively extensive”: Pallas’ Eyes In The Night – The Recordings 1981-1986

Must-have seven-disc set documents the Scottish neo-proggers’ struggle for survival and excellence

Pallas - Eyes In The Night 1981-86
(Image: © Cherry Red)

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Given their mixed fortunes – including being unceremoniously cut off by EMI at the height of touring in support of 1986’s The Wedge – it’s a minor miracle that Pallas managed to survive their first few years of existence.

This generous seven-disc collection brings together their first three full albums, recordings from both the Reading Festival in 1983 and an Aberdeen gig from 1985, tracks from a 1983 BBC Friday Rock Show session, along with The Knightmoves EP, B-sides and bonus tracks.

With most of the music here being remastered especially for this release and the inclusion of the Blu-ray of a concert filmed in London in 1985, alongside a lengthy booklet detailing the band’s early years, it’s hard to think of a more comprehensive celebration of one of the bands central to the rebirth of prog in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s.

Pallas - Eyes In The Night 1981-86

(Image credit: Cherry Red)

Entirely self-financed and initially released only on cassette, Arrive Alive was an enterprising gamble. Capturing the band – including original frontman Euan Lowson – in full flow at the Bungalow Bar in Paisley in early 1981, and including the contentious minor epic The Ripper, it’s a muddily-recorded yet exciting document of a young band performing ambitious material with skill and energy.

While the occasional electronic drums and synth sounds haven’t aged well, the production is decidedly cleaner

Pallas’ first release with EMI gets two discs here. Envisaged as a double album consisting of their The Sentinel concept suite plus additional material, the label baulked at the idea and talked them into a much reduced tracklisting. Add the fact that the band weren’t involved in the mixing, and the US arm of EMI insisting on a separate mix, and it became a somewhat convoluted picture.

Running the gamut from the spiky new-wave-inflected Eyes In The Night (Arrive Alive) to the grandiose symphonic prog strains of Atlantis, it’s rightfully considered a neo-prog classic. Here, both UK and US mixes are presented for a compare and contrast, and most of the additional tracks Pallas wanted to include have been tacked on for good measure.

The Wedge, from 1986, demonstrates a more mature and sophisticated band, with Alan Reed replacing Lowson. While the occasional electronic drums and synth sounds haven’t aged well, the production is decidedly cleaner. The band explore more pop-prog and even AOR approaches, with Ratracing and Nightmare among the more distinctly neo-prog highlights.

With the live material fleshing out a picture of an ever-developing seminal neo-prog band, this whole package is impressively extensive and highly recommended.

Eyes In The Night: The Recordings 1981 – 1986 is on sale now via Cherry Red.