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Barclay James  Harvest - Time Honoured Ghosts CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

3.62 | 146 ratings

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3 stars Hooking up with veteran producer Elliot Mazer (Neil Young, etc.), BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST continues their homage to The BEATLES by way of CROSBY, STILLS & NASH with "Time Honoured Ghosts". The album's most noteworthy (or is it notorious?) track is "Titles", which takes as an ingratiating melody as the band has committed to vinyl and blows it on lyrics comprised almost entirely of titles from BEATLES' songs. It's a cute gimmick, but still a gimmick, and the melody deserves better. There remain shades of The MOODY BLUES, mostly when Woolly's mellotron is in attendance, as on "Jonathan," and an obvious nod to KING CRIMSON on the not-so-cleverly disguised "Moongirl." While the material is generally enjoyable, BJH's willingness to subvert their own identity in favor of established acts sells their own skills remarkably short. When the band steps away from idolatry to follow their own muse, there are moments when they can hold their own with the best of them - take the introduction to "Beyond the Grave" as exhibit A.

Aside from the aforementioned Wolstenholme song, the album alternates between tracks from Lees and Holroyd. When Holroyd gets some vocal support he does a pretty fair job, especially for The Who-like first half of "Song for You," but his voice sounds weak much of the time. Although the harmonies are fewer, the arrangements less cluttered, and the mellotron often absent, this streamlined approach better suits the simple love songs that have always been at the core of their music. It's unclear if that was the rationale behind hiring Mazer to produce, or if it was another case of the band's starstruck nature, but the result is pleasant if not exactly ambitious.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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