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Barclay James  Harvest - Octoberon CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.77 | 253 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Barclay James Harvest, sometimes referred to as a 'poor man's Moody Blues' thanks to their similar sounding (often) mellotron driven symphonic rock - BJH never attained the mass popularity as many of their contemporaries of the classic '70's period had garnered (who am I to say?....) but I have listened to many of their albums in detail, ( most of the 70's releases,) and I only hold onto my Octoberon LP (being a hot-headed vinyl junkie) copy mainly for the superb tracks 'Ra' and 'Rock & Roll Star', also the lovely embossed cover art is inspired. To me, those 2 tracks are worth the price of admission alone. Whilst technical virtuosity isn't this band's strong-point, the guys can occasionally compose a seriously 'knock-out' track. Opening with a rather pretty, orchestrated ballad, 'The World Goes On', (Alan Parsons does as good, if not better in this field), hopes of a truly adventurous listen may quickly diminish, courtesy of the rather syrupy arrangement, but things pick up a little when 'May Day' kicks in. Not a bad track by any means, just a little overdone - a lot of work has gone into it, particularly with the complex chorale during the end section. 'Ra' is a majestic prog epic ; superbly crafted and without the shallow pomposity (if that word is in the dictionary) that many epics can be - keyboardist Woolley Wolstenholm really shines here, and the rest of the band are no slouches either, really showing off their talent to the fullest - not complicated, but tasteful and correct. The softer parts of this track are on par with any 'head music' sections of the mighty Floyd, and the track also finishes in grand fashion. Woolley's Mellotron is noticeable almost throughout this track. Side 2 starts out with 'Rock and Roll Star', which has a little of 'The Eagles' flavour in it, with Woolley's Mellotron and synth work playing a large part in the rather 'floating' sound the track generates, particularly during the chorus. 'Polk Street Rag' is a rather standard rock song, 'Believe in Me' is a pleasant track, a little commercial perhaps, but highly melodic and enjoyable. 'Suicide' reminds me of the first track, and at 7min 56secs, outstays its welcome a tad, even if it has quite a majestic melody, I suppose it's the dark nature of the track. Not a bad album, but I'm not their biggest fan, either. 3.5 stars
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |


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