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Barclay James  Harvest - XII CD (album) cover

XII

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.56 | 107 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy

My personal favourite BJH album (I think!). They packed the tracks in on this one, making for an unusually long vinyl album (LP). "XII" flows well from start to finish, and includes some of BJH's best music. In some ways the diversity of the tracks takes us right back to their first album, but whereas that album reflected a band still seeking their direction, here it demonstrates the maturity and confidence at their creative peak.

"Science fiction, Nova Lepidoptera" is a majestic piece with a stately pace, reminiscent of their Harvest label days and of Woolly Wolstenhome's magnificent, but all too infrequent compositions for the band.

In all, there are eleven quality tracks here, other highlights being: "Fantasy, Loving is easy", a solid upbeat opener, and "Classics, A tale of two cities", a successor of sorts to "Titles" on "Time Honoured Ghosts. "In Search of England" is instantly recognisable as another high quality Woolly Wolstenholme contribution, and "Fiction, The streets of San Francisco", is a cross between "Suicide" ("Octoberon") and "one night" ("Time honoured ghosts").

This was to be BJH's last great album, with the following "Eyes of the universe" showing the first clear signs that their momentum was starting to dwindle. The remastered CD brings out the true quality of the music, which was slightly suppressed on the LP due to the audio constraints which come with fitting such a long album onto a single disc. ("Selling England by the pound" suffered a similar problem)

The LP came with a poster size lyric sheet, and an embossed sleeve. BJH really were riding high.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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