Barclay James  Harvest - BJH And Other Short Stories CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.21 | 96 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Yes, we have been charmed by the first BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST albums. Would BJH AND OTHER SHORT STORIES do the trick as well? not really as some old magic has been repalced by a more ''earhty'' sometimes more aggressive songwriting. Not that this is a bad album, on the contrary there are a few great songs as usual, but a few of them don't do anything for me.

The orchestra is not the culprit here as it is performing discreetly like on the nice MEDICINE MAN adding a lush soundscape to a good song or is bringing some majesty to the closer AFTER THE DAY. It's just that some songs are kind of weak like the west-coast sounding LITTLE LAPWING with its poor bland symphonic arrangement at the end. This is not LES HOLROYD at his best.

The same goes for JOHN LEES whos starts to find his voice on this album. HARRY'S SONG or BLUE JOHN BLUES are attempts at sounding more ''rock'' with LEES vocals sounding sometimes kind of harsh, not in the BJH style we know! We are a world away from SHE SAID or MOCKINGBIRD. Not that BLUE JOHN BLUES in a bad song, it has its character and charm , but it's quite dragging a little bit and doesn't fit at all with the rest of the album.

The highlights are the beautiful delicate ballad SONG WITH NO MEANING, one of those BJH trademark songs where everything is perfect in a perfect world, sweet melody and lush arrangements and the last 2 tracks THE POET and AFTER THE DAY which have been bridged together and can been heard as a mini-epic. THE POET is sung wonderfully by WOOLY WOLSTENHOME only accompanied by the orchestra. This song is the perfect example when i meant you are viewing romantic old country England when you listen to this tune, very pastoral indeed! AFTER THE DAY is BJH as its most symphonic reminding us of the orchestral goodies of the first 2 albums. The band has joined the orchestra and a beautiful sounding harpsichord leads the music to heaven again . John LEES guitar just sounds perfect , delivering simple but beautiful melodic lines to the song. The only bad thing is that it ends up quite abruptly and we are back on earth.

BJH AND OTHER SHORT STORIES is definitely not an essential purchase, not even to the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST fan,but it is still a good album, but kind of raw compared to the first 2 LPs. BJH did better in the past and will do better in the future.


febus | 3/5 |


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