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Procol Harum - Something Magic CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

2.99 | 115 ratings

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2 stars "Procol's Ninth" represented a modest shift of fortune but ultimately did not reverse the declining trend. In the two years before "Something Magic", everything changed in the art rock world, but Procol Harum seemed oblivious, inexplicably opting to build a disk around a side long suite.

Picture in your mind's ear, if you will, the myriad spoken openings and interludes on MOODY BLUES albums from 1967-1970. Even they stopped with the pompous pretensions on their 1972 release "Seventh Sojourn". Now picture these brief poetic snippets expanded out to cover 17 minutes, with mostly mood setting music around them. That this excess was the product of Procol Harum and not one of the so-called dinosaurs of prog is even more unthinkable. I don't detect a trace of irony in the sophomoric rhyming either.

Luckily, there is another side to "Something Magic", and it's actually worth hearing, particularly the title cut with its circus music meets Israeli meets Native American pow wow skirmishes and delicately inserted horns. "The Mark of the Claw" is Mick Grabham's only indulgence as a now 4 year member of the group, and it's not bad if a bit AOR ish, possibly the group's concession to the success of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, and also sounding not unlike FOREIGNER who came on the scene the same year. The synthesizer makes its first appearance in the Procol Harum 10 year history, and it is quite well played by Peter Solley. Still, it is the light cosmic blues of "Strangers in Space" that reveal the group at its most creative and reflective at this late date.

Had "Worm and the Tree" been decent, this would be Procol Harum's first 3 star effort since Grand Hotel, but I am not conjurer enough to round up this overall insipid production, the group's last for 14 years.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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