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Barclay James  Harvest - BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.33 | 48 ratings

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Theo Verstrael
3 stars Les Holroyd has always been the mellow part of Barclay James Harvest. His ballads are the most wellknown, with 'Life is for living' and 'Berlin' as long time live favourites of both the band and the fans. So what to expect of his first 'solo' album? To be honest, I was quite scared that Les would have taken the opportunity to exploit his mellow soft rock side further and further on such an album. He most certainly has not and that was probably the biggest surprise for me. It makes 'Revolution days' sounds modern, varied and moody at times.

The album starts off with a synth chord reminiscent of their 'Victims of circumstance' days. But 'It's my life' develops into a nice sounding, medium paced song which is most certainly not prog at all but it isn't AOR either. 'Missing you' is the weakest song, with a simple verse and even more simple chorus without any creativity, solo or musical surprise. Shame on the artists and producers, this is actually nothing more than a mediocre demo. 'This is now, that was then... ' sounds quite fresh, has a good pace and is a surprisingly nice song to listen to. It may be too repetitive at times but it never falls over the edge. The next two songs prove his origin. 'Prelude' is somewhat of an orchestral piece that BJH used to include on their albums in their early days and which was often atributed to Woolly Wolstenholme. Yet Les Holroyd shows now that at least he learnt quite enough in those days,,, or that we may have underrated him in this respect. During the piece the band joins in smoothly from where on the piece becomes heavier and poppier. Good stuff, leading into 'January morning', a good and atmospheric song, with good guitar playing. Yet this song also proves that Les' voice has definitely grown weaker over the years, unfortunately. The next song 'Love on the line' is one of the two remakes of old BJH songs on the album. Whereas John Lees' and Woolly Wolstenholme succeed in adding new ideas to their remakes, Les' attempts do not do anything special to me. They are not very good, they are certainly not bad either. And he has every right to remake his own songs! Of the remaining songs 'Sleepy sunday' and 'Marlene' are good crafted, nice melodies and sometimes quite heavy guitars.

All in all, 'Revolution days' requires an open mind and some attempts to get into the album but it is absolutely worth the effort, and actually a necessity for BJH fans. I had my doubts and they were quite serious but for me the album turned out to be a nice surprise. And as it is the last studio album on which the late Mel Pritchard can be heard as well as the fact that the album is dedicated to Les' far too young deceased wife Christine makes it even more special.

Theo Verstrael | 3/5 |


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