With vocalists consisting of Christopher Cross, Neil Lockwood, and Steve Overland, On Air's sound is smooth and gentle but has difficulty in holding interest, and an even harder time localizing the theme. This time, Alan Parsons' concept deals with the fascination of flight and the yearning people have to become one with the sky. As beautiful and imagery-filled as this idea is, its potential never seems to get off the ground. Most of the songs on the album lack the intensity or the clout that is necessary to establish any concern for the main idea. Instead, they consist of metaphorical lyrics that go off on strange tangents, misconstrued and long-drawn-out stanzas that seem empty, and a slight pretentiousness that is usually absent from this band's material. The only association between the concept and the music is the light, breezy feel that carries each song, simulating an effortless flight through the clouds. Both instrumentals, "Apollo" and "Cloudbreak," are appealing, and capture the essence of the album more so than any of the vocally inhabited songs. "Too Close to the Sun" and "So Far Away" are the album's finer points, but even these songs fall short of the domineering style that once surrounded the Alan Parsons Project. Most of the songs contain well-established harmonies and a fair amount of guitar and keyboard mingling, but it's the lack of depth and assertiveness that holds this album back.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne