The notional smooth-prog ‘band’ were on a roll by the time they released this concept album about chance and gambling in 1980. Inspired by a night in a Monte Carlo casino – the Project were never ones for spit and sawdust – it stands up well.
The lush nonchalance and sweet melodies sound more timeless than things that chased the punk/new wave movement, and Alan Parsons’ production is a masterclass in making calm moderation go a long way. It’s like Jeff Lynne in the process of nodding off – in a good way.
Late co-writer Eric Woolfson’s archives have been raided for formative home demos, and over two discs there’s a plethora of alternative studio versions, mixes and edits. This all rather dilutes and distracts from the main event: an unapologetic concept album (complete with a whole suite on side two) should create its own closed universe. It’s fine to stick, not twist.