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Procol Harum - Exotic Birds And Fruit CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

3.43 | 143 ratings

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2 stars After the grand indulgence of "Grand Hotel", Procol Harum decided to go gritty with "Exotic Birds and Fruit". The sound is pared down yet ironically more cluttered. My copy is the original vinyl so I'm not sure if recent remasters remedied the problem, but it does seem like a production hatchet job that does nothing to accentuate the group's strengths. Granted the material was substantially weaker than on the prior release and might not have been saved anyway.

The only two bona fide highlights occur back to back, first the re-application of Gypsy influences on the captivating "Beyond the Pale", and then the powerful "As Strong as Samson", which would have fit well on the first and best Procol effort. Copping's organ and BJ Cole's pedal steel guitar accentuate the sumptuous melody. Elsewhere, a series of inferior rehashes of earlier work in the form of "The Idol", "Monsieur R Monde", and "Butterfly Boys" disgrace the grooves. Even "Thin Edge of the Wedge", arguably the most progressive song here, degenerates into a lifeless recitation in the chorus. "Fresh Fruit" reminds us of earlier novelty work like "Good Captain Clack", a style in which Procol Harum excels better than most, but it is not destined for a lot of revolutions.

This album is stone cold for most of its duration, beyond burned out, and was their first US release not to chart; even if the successor stirred up fleeting interest, the Procol Harum saga was over by now. Exotic maybe, but hardly fresh.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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