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Barclay James  Harvest - BJH Through The Eyes Of John Lees: Nexus CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.01 | 43 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Theo Verstrael
4 stars Well, they´re back again. And the future looked bright, listening to their first combined achievement in more than 20 years. Too bad that this album has not been followed by another and another and another good and inspired studio album. Because that is exactly what we as fans expected when Nexus came out: an outburst of renewed creativity, based on working together again. But until now, no new material.

What good did Nexus bring us? First of all there are six 'new' songs. Some of those appeared not be very new actually as John Lees had already recorded a demo of 'Star bright' decades before this release. But especially that song is almost worth the purchase: a mellow melody, good lyrics, haunting keyboards by Woolly, a mysterious end and all in all a very calm atmosphere. A really gem, this 'Starbright' and it should have lasted longer. Classic Lees!! But before you listen to that great song more beautiful music has struck your ears. Listen to 'Float' or 'Brave new world' and you'll hear again how these tow musicians inspire each other. The classic BJH sound is back and proves that it is not outdated at all. Good guitar work and, expecially, good singing. The latter is somewhat lacking in the remaining two new songs, 'The devils that I keep' and "Sitting upon a shelf', both sung by Woolly. The melodies don't seem to fit with his voice and therefore the vocals are not great at all. Quite pleasant, not more. Oh, and the opening track is not meant very seriously. It showed me that John and Woolly are not taken themselves too seriously and that leaves the unknowing listener puzzled at first, but grinning at last.

The other six songs are remakes of classic BJH-songs. Well, 'Mocking bird' can hardly be called a surprise and this new version is nice, with a new intro as a bonus but not spectacular at all. 'The iron maiden' is very good in the new version and a very nice choice, as are 'Hymn' (it is quite courageous to redo your biggest selling song...) and 'Titles'. The song that profits most from its newly acquired arrangement is 'Loving is easy' that gets a deep bluesy feeling. Given the rather explicit lyrics you'll get a real blues played by BJH. Well, that's a surprise. And even more because it works well. The vocals are more harsh, the guitar playing more adventurous and Woolly's organ sounds like the marshes of Mississippi.

Nexus has become a very nice album and a big promise for more beautiful music to come. Unfortunately the guys have let us waiting ever since. Maybe in 2008?

Theo Verstrael | 4/5 |


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