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Barclay James  Harvest - Eyes Of The Universe CD (album) cover

EYES OF THE UNIVERSE

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

2.94 | 77 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Where's Woolly?

A fairly average offering from BJH, saved by a couple of classic tracks. "The song (they love to sing)" and "Play to the world" are similar sounding Les Holroyd penned songs. They both come from the BJH ballad stable, with swirling keyboards, and excellent vocals by Holroyd.

During initial sessions for the album, Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme, whose symphonic influences had always given the band an extra dimension, left the group. He cited the usual "musical differences" as the reason, apparently dissatisfied with the direction in which the band was going. This was the first change in the BJH line up since they had formed in the late 1960's. Rather than replace him, the remaining three members decided to carry on as a trio. Kevin McAlea was however brought in during the recording of this album to add some keyboard parts, and Alan Fawkes adds some wonderful sax to "Play to the world".

"Eyes of the Universe" was recorded 1979 and released 1980. With Woolstenholme gone, the songwriting credits and indeed vocals, are split down the middle. Holroyd and Lees write four each, and each sing his own songs. In true democratic fashion, their songs are presented alternately on the album, but was all this overt democracy perhaps the first sign the of unrest between the two which would ultimately lead to their acrimonious split?

Other than the two tracks mentioned above, the rest are among the most commercial the bands had made to date. Tracks like "Love on the line" and "Rock'n'roll lady" are lightweight pop rock. "Sperratus" appears to be Lees' attempt to keep the Woolstenholme style going, and is largely successful, with soaring guitars, and walls of sound.

While all but ignored in their homeland, "Eyes of the Universe" found great success in Germany leading to the massive "Berlin" concert the band performed there.

A decent if unremarkable BJH album, largely devoid of their early inspiration, but with a couple of notable tracks.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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