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Barclay James  Harvest - Victims Of Circumstance CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.27 | 84 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars VICTIMS OF THE 80s!

VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES is s difficult album for me to review and rate because, frankly it comes with personal sentimental values. See, I went this year (1984) at one of their concerts in Toulouse when BJH toured to promote this album. The concert was great! Sure, they performed a few new tracks, but most of the time they pleased us with all the good old classics. They played with a lot of energy, the performance was flawless.

It was also a very good period of my life with my then-wife who happened to like this album, especially I'VE GOT A FEELING, the last track of this album. And as we've got a lot of feelings for each other back then, VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES was a record synonym of good times and happiness. Thus it might be difficult for me to look at it with an objective eye!

Now listening to VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES makes me well aware that this was not the record of the century, not even a BJH classic.It was a wonderfully produced record, one of the first using new digital technology. VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES is more of a savvy marketing musical product than a plain rock n roll album. Everything on it is so clean, the instruments, the vocals, the production. You have music to satisfy every corner of the globe: syrupy ballads, reggae, rockers, synth-pop.But there is one thing you won't find here: the traditional old sound of BJH!

VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES would be their best selling album to date as this album charted almost everywhere in Europe. The kids who bought it back then had no idea the same band produced great music in the 70s and were definitely not interested in listening to CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE or MOONLIGHT.I guess for them the album EYES OF THE UNIVERSE was the first BJH album.

As usual, there are already 2 bands playing on this album, or better BJH can be considered as 2 solo projects working under the same roof. A bad sign is that LES HOLROYD wrote 5 out of the 9 songs featured on this record. Knowing how his songwriting has go down badly on their last albums, there is enough to be scared and with just reason. Meaning more synth-pop on your way with the ''graces''of HOLD ON or SAY YOU'LL STAY , great elevator or waiting room muzak the same kind everybody else was producing for radios and 'top of the pops' back then. Holroyd gets even very ''adventurous'' with WATCHING YOU , a synthetized reggae sure to please the new crowd. The same man that composed MOONLIGHT 10 years earlier!How lower can you go!

JOHN LEES sadly was not in great form either in 1984, only 4 songs and i would say only the opener SIDESHOW is really good with a very nice melody in the good old LEES tradition; But sadly we have also the return of LEES the rocker with REBEL WOMAN and if you have read about old reviews, you know what people think about the guitarist wanting to play ''rock''.Not for him! INSIDE MY NIGHTMARE and FOR YOUR LOVE are not bad tracks, but you already have forgotten about them when it's over.

Of course for me the most memorable track of this album is the closer, the ballad I'VE GOT A FEELING for the personal reasons i indicated above; That's nice, that's cute, a lot of syrup perfect for those romantic moments; reminds me the the big hit single ( i don't remember the name)from a band named BERLIN which was featured in the movie TOP GUN.

Beside my sentimental attachment to some parts of this album, i still shoud try to be honest and as such, i cannot give it more than 2 stars. VICTIMS OF CIRCUMSTANCES is not an album for prog aficionados, but you still can offer it as a gift to your little sister. She will love you for that!


febus | 2/5 |


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