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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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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars The album starts off with a rhythmic beat that I immediately connected with the intro to Pavlov's Dog's final '70s album Third which wasn't a good sign. Loving Is Easy tries to be another one of John Lees intro rock tunes like In My Life from Time Honoured Ghosts but it's just not as good. Same goes for A Tale Of Two Sixties which is another tribute offshoot like Titles which just doesn't hit it off with me. On top of that we also have Holroyd's Turning In Circles which is just a cheap attempt at a commercial hit tune.

But it's not all bad since Les Holroyd also manages to craft an excellent ballad entitled Berlin which is my personal favorite from this album while Sip Of Wine has one of the weirdest lines that Les has ever written: "I held her breath and she was holding mine!". XII also features two Woolly Wolstenholme compositions which may not be the best that he's ever written but both In Search Of England and particularly Harbour fit well in the context of the album.

Originally I was surprised by some of the song titles which hinted at a concept album but according to the official website: "All of John's songs on this album have titles like sections in a library, although this would, perhaps, have been more effective if Les and Woolly had followed the same pattern". Which is an amusing and rather self-critical observation.

It's evident that by the end of the '70s the band was going into a new era of their career. But XII is by no means a transitional album it's just not as good as the rest of their '70s output.

***** star songs: Berlin (4:47)

**** star songs: Fantasy: Loving Is Easy (4:00) Fact: The Closed Shop (3:46) In Search Of England (4:12) Sip Of Wine (4:22) Harbour (3:42) Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera (5:45) Giving It Up (4:35) Fiction: The Streets Of San Francisco (5:41)

*** star songs: Classics: A Tale Of Two Sixties (3:34) Turning In Circles (3:30)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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