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Barclay James  Harvest - Gone To Earth CD (album) cover

GONE TO EARTH

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.33 | 129 ratings

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febus
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars BJH THE WAY WE LIKE THEM!

Following the rather uneven OCTOBERON shooting in every direction, BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST comes back one year later with GONE TO EARTH, an album showcasing the band at its artistic best. GONE TO EARTH can be compared favorably with their 2 best albums EVERYONE IS EVERYBODY ELSE and TIME HONOURED GHOSTS. The cover was once again gorgeous reflecting perfectly the athmosphere of the music the band was playing back then: melodic light prog/symphonic songs.

As usual, LES HOLROYD and guitarist JOHN LEES share right in the middle the writing credits with the exception of one track left to the talent of Stuart WOLSTENHOLME.It reminds me of the BEATLES where LENNON and MCCARTNEY allowed HARRISON to bring one track for each album if they liked it!

There are a lot of goodies on GONE TO EARTH which would become big classics in the BJH repertoire like the anthemic HYMN, a JOHN LEES song at his best: Powerful melody, great instrumentall build-up. Yes the lyrics might turn off some people because of its religious contents but i never really cared for lyrics and their meanings anyway! I am more interested by the melodic side and the musical arrangements than by the ''message''! HYMN is the perfect title for this song as it can be considered as one.This is one of the biggest song of the band, still playing in concert these days, the same way MCCARTNEY performs YESTERDAY.

JOHN LEES is in great form again with LOVE IS LIKE A VIOLIN, a beautiful ethereal melody being broken by a more rockish chorus before returning to the beautifully sung verses. We all know about the harsh critics BJH got some music ''specialized'' writers comparing the band with a poor version of the MOODY BLUES. JOHN LEES, i guess fed up by these never-endingl comments, took care of the problem by writing a song on this subject simply named: POOR MAN'S MOODY BLUES. Lees got his inspiration using the well-known KNIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN from the Moodies, undressed the song to its bones just keeping the structure and then reconstructed it with his own version . A protest song that will become one of the band's biggest hit! Of course, it's reminiscent to the JUSTIN HAYWARD masterpiece, but that's a JOHN LEES nonetheless.

LES HOLROYD can be heard in better form than he was on OCTOBERON. There are no attempts at dull overlong syrupy orchestral ballads this time, but there are a few melodic songs to enjoy like TAKING ME HIGHER or SPIRIT ON THE WATER. They are not as strong as the JOHN LEES compositions , but they flow well with the rest of the album: nice melodies, delicate singing, fine harmonies...all what you're askinf for in a BJH album. LES tries his hand once again at writing a potential commercial hit with HARD HEARTED WOMAN, but why not as long it's a good tune.

HOLROYD is still responsible for writing the least interesting track on GONE TO EARTH with FRIEND OF MINE which sounds like an attempt to apply for a position to be part of the EAGLES! Not bad, but this song is all surrounded by the LEES goodies, so you notice the difference. Knowing WOLSTENHOLME wrote a song named SEA OF TRANQUILITY , you can be certain that you are in for a wonderful trip as usual . I don't think i need to go into details as the title says it all: This is very tranquil indeed, a smooth spacey journey with the usual serene beautiful vocals from WOOLY! Another great gem on this album.

GONE TO EARTH would be a successful album and deserved it.Everybody in the band was on their best feet; No one tried to be a hard rocker or a singer of a syrupy bland ballad.All is well in the BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST kingdom!

4 STARS.

febus | 4/5 |

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