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Barclay James  Harvest - Everyone Is Everybody Else CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.85 | 209 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I guess Polydor records saw something in BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST potential their former label Harvest hadn't. We don't know the name of the luminary brain who decided to sign the band...and take over the -huge- debts BJH accumulated through the years by using a symphonic orchestra on their 4 albums and on.....tour, but he will be proved right as the band will enter a successful commercial period starting with EVERYONE I EVERYBODY ELSE.

Listening to this album, one can notice quite a few changes in their musical directions from their Harvest days. Beside the fact the orchestra is now a thing of the past, the sound has been straighten out ,the format of songs have been shortened to the length of a potential single. You won't find any epics here, no fancy arrangements. Everybody is shooting in the same direction -almost- as the lone composition WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME brought to the table ''Maestoso'' would be rejected by the rest of the band and the producing staff from POLYDOR as ''too much out of place'' with the other songs. When you listen to ''Maestoso'' which is featured as a bonus track on this album , you can only agree with the decision as it sounds like going back to the former Harvest years.

However, 4-5 mns songs doesn't mean BJH is looking for the juke-box and mass commercialism. JOHN LEES and LES HOLROYD have high musical standarts and would prove it with EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE. They would become the kings at crafting beautiful symphonic rock songs,always looking for the perfect melody and lush romantic arrangements, occasionaly indulging in some more rockish tunes which wpuld be hits or misses.

Take some Beatles-like melodies, add a zest of west-coast a la Eagles sauce, coat it with some nice first period Crimsonian symphonic arrangements, cover with a quaint old english country athmosphere, make sure you're singing as nice as Justin Hayward and you're having the new BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST for dinner.

EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE is an almost perfect album in its own category. I wish the PA ratings would go to 10 as i would give this album a 9 out of 10. 10 would be to fanboy and it deserves more than the 4 PA rating. Why? Because if someone would tell me, he/she thinks there is no beautiful music to be found in rock or prog, this is the album i would use to counter the argument. This one or the next one TIME HONOURED GHOSTS or GONE TO EARTH.

In some of other reviews, i used the word MAGIC to describe some unbelievable music that seem to come right out of heaven. I know it's often a personal perception as everybody find its own magic in their own personal musical world. However, half of the songs qualify from this album as magical and the rest are still great songs. There ares no dudes on EVERYONE IS EVRYBODY ELSE. The best of the best is of course the strong opener CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE another J. LEES anthem that will become a staple on any BJH concert night after night. Strong lyrics about the lives of kids in war torn countries, a beautiful melody, a lot of mellotron, just a beautiful masterpiece.Goosebumps still guaranteed 33 years later!

The same will apply to other magnificent symphonic songs such as the majestic FOR NO ONE or THE GREAT MINING 1974 DISASTER, other JOHN LEES tunes who has found his stride and confidence in his vocal and compositional abilities. LES HOLROYD is not far behind coming with a few great tunes as well as the melodic NEGATIVE EARTH or the haunting PAPER WINGS with its drums attack at the end.

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST will deliver one rocker on this album, the single CRAZY CITY which will get some -albeit small- success, but that's only the beginning. By the way, CRAZY CITY is one of the good rocker they created as they came up sometimes with sorry ones. Nothing mind blogging, but pleasant to listen to ! And a'' rocker'' performed by BJH will never endanger your sanity or make your grand parents run the other way!

If WOOLY WOLSTENHOLME has no writing credit on this album ,it doesn't mean he is absent; on the contrary, due to the dismissal of the orchestra, the symphonic sound now rests totally on his shoulders, better with his keyboards! He provides the goods, not in a Wakeman style with exhuberant demonstrations of his skills, but simply by creating a gorgeous soundscape mostly with the mellotron to embellish the songs. Never forget BJH music is not about instrumental prowess, but rather creating the perfect melody with a simple , but tasty arrangement. The same goes for the guitar of JOHN LEES; there are no 10000 notes played in a minute, no! just a few ones, but the ones that count, the ones that beautify the song harmoniously!

The South California influence can be heard on the two bridged tracks POOR BOY BLUES/MILL BOYS reminding me of some Eagles songs with steel guitar and CSN-like harmonies; a bit odd after all those so-English songs, but they are good songs anyway as good as the ones from the masters. But this is this discrepancy that will prevent this album the 5 star treatment.

EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE is an album for all those who like melodic songs with rich musical textures.There is nothing challenging here for your ears, just well crafted beautiful gems to enjoy peacefully with more great albums to come.


febus | 4/5 |


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