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


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.38 | 194 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars A poor man's Moody Blues, indeed!

What a drop in quality from their previous album Octoberon! Calling this band a poor man's Moody Blues might have been (at least slightly) unfair earlier in their career, but in 1977 it was pretty accurate (judging from this album)! Even the band themselves seemed to admit this since they named one of the songs on this album just that - Poor Man's Moody Blues - and this song really sounds like the Moodies' Nights In White Satin too! You could see it as a rip off, but charitably we should (I think) see it more as a kind of tribute to the Moodies.

The album opens with one of it's better tracks, Hymn. This is a song about Jesus, but it is not religious in any obvious way since it really just tells you the story without telling you what to believe. It is clearly a song about religion but not so much a song in religion, if you know what I mean. They sing people say it was a virgin birth, they don't sing that it actually was a virgin birth. Likewise, they sing that Jesus said he was the saviour of us all, they don't sing that he actually was. You can make up your own mind about what to believe. Being a convinced atheist myself, I can still enjoy this song. However, it is certainly not progressive music.

The following three tracks; Love Is Like a Violin, Friend of Mine and the aforementioned Poor Man's Moody Blues are musically boring and lyrically really bad! The lyrics to the chorus of Love Is Like a Violin is extremely cheesy; not really fit for a rock band! In these songs the very same verses and choruses are repeated several times through the song; not fit for professional song writers. Friend of Mine sounds very much like American AOR music. Bands like Boston and Journey come to mind! This song therefore fails completely in impressing this reviewer in any way. I just keep getting the feeling that I've heard it all before. And this is certainly not progressive music!

The second side of the album is clearly better than the first. But even if Hard Hearted Woman rocks harder than any of the tracks on side one, it still doesn't contain anything exciting enough to really grab the listeners attention. The following three tracks, however, made this album worth having for me. Sea of Tranquillity sounds very much like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, and this is clearly one of the better tracks of this album. Sprit of the Water reminds me a bit of The Beach Boys, with a good melody. And Leper's Song, the hardest rocking track on this album, is also among the most interesting ones (still, not progressive, though). The closer, Taking Me Higher, however, is again back at the boring style of Poor Man's Moody Blues.

A few good tracks here, but overall not very impressive. In my opinion this is one of the least good of all Barclay James Harvest albums (that I've heard so far).

NOTE: the CD release from 2003 have bonus tracks including a 12 min long live version of Medicine Man. This song is really good, and shows that BJH used to be capable of good things before they had "gone To Earth".

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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