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Procol Harum - Something Magic CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

2.99 | 115 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars There seems to be a major disagreement concerning this album's status between the reviews of collaborators/experts and regular members. Allow me to, once and for all, set the record straight here! Granted that I've never considered myself a huge Procol Harum fan I still have to give credit where credit is deserved and this is definitely the case with Something Magic.

In preparation for my two previous Procol Harum reviews I became interested in hearing how the band developed after their tremendous success in the '60s. So I logged into my Spotify account and began going through some of their albums from 'the 70s. I commenced my journey by listening through Broken Barricades followed by the highly regarded Grand Hotel. To tell you the truth those albums left me completely cold and I was just about to quit my little experiment when I noticed that Southsideofthesky just posted a highly relevant review of Something Magic. The review intrigued me tremendously when I read that the album featured a suite titled The Worm & The Tree which was modelled after the classic In Held 'Twas In I from the wonderful album called Shine On Brightly. Since the choice of streaming this album was only one click away I didn't even have to hesitate before the first seconds of the title track came pouring out of my speakers.

This opening composition was miles ahead of the two featured on Broken Barricades and Grand Hotel. What a pleasant playfulness combined with superb melody and the Art-Rock undertones. All these distinct features elevate this title-track to the level that I haven't experienced since A Salty Dog!

The rest of the album might not be as up-beat and energetic but it features a solid set of symphonic ballads like Skating On Thin Ice and Strangers In Space. All these symphonic compositions give the album highly appropriate moody undertones which remind me of the album XII by Barclay James Harvest which coincidentally also was a transition album for that band with the departure of Woolly Wolstenholme. Procol Harum might have gone even further by disbanding completely after this release due to stagnation of their popularity in the late '70s but this album serves as a wonderful swan song after a series of incomplete releases.

The only slight miss for me here comes in the form of the cheerful Wizard Man which would probably have worked better as a stand alone single since it just sounds completely out of place when compared to the rest of this great material.

The 19 minute long centerpiece titled The Worm And The Tree might not be as spectacular as the band's previous effort in the category, with the narration passages that make the composition lose all the flow. Still the instrumental passages make it a worth a while effort and just like Supertramp's 16 minute title track off Brother Where You Bound the band gives the last really great performance which works great when it's put in that context.

Something Magic is a strong final album that should be enjoyed even by the less indulged Procol Harum followers although I strongly recommend hearing the marvelous Shine On Brightly before approaching it. As for the rating I feel that anything less than good but non-essential should be considered a crime and I will actually stretch it to an excellent addition due to the wide appreciation factor that this release entails.

***** star songs: Something Magic (3:37)

**** star songs: Skating On Thin Ice (4:49) The Mark Of The Claw (4:40) Strangers In Space (6:07) The Worm And The Tree (18:47)

*** star songs: Wizard Man (2:41)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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