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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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Theo Verstrael
3 stars As for me, Woolly had deserved a better album to memorate his being one of the founding fathers of Barclay james Harvest. because XII is in my opinion not doing any justice to the many symphonic moments the band has delivered in the former years. The album is more a collection of rather straightforward pop/rock songs, with very little highlights in the progressive/symphonic vein. And Woolly certainly does not add anything really good because both tracks he wrote are rather mediocre. In fact I reckon 'Harbour' as one of the weakest tracks the band has ever recorded. The album starts very strong, with 'Loving is easy' and 'Berlin' as two very different yet very good songs. It was a surprise to first hear the lyrics in 'Loving' back then, now it sounds almost childish. The ode to the now again German capital is very, very beautiful and still ranks amongst the best tracks ever recorded by BJH. But then things start to deteriorate rapidly. 'A tale of to\wo sixties' is nice and okay but John Lees can write better melodies than in this song. 'Turning in circles' is one of those terrible, slow ballads that Les Holroyd would write for many years to come. Nothing happens, it is so dull and simple, realy awkward. 'The closed shop' is again one of my favourites, with original instruments, beautiful melody, good lyrics and excellent playing. Too bad that songs has not bene played more often. As said, Woolly's songs to this album are not very special. 'In search of' is nice and listenable but it ranks weakly amongst songs like 'Ra' or 'The poet'. And then it's time again for another horrible ballad 'Sip of wine', followed by another weak Woolly song 'Harbour'. 'Nova Lepidoptera' on the contrary is so beautiful, so full of Lees' craftmanschip, it gives the whole album an enormous lift in the right direction. 'Giving it up' puts the album downwards again as it is another simple, vocally driven song in which hardly if anything happens. And those lyrics..., horrible. Fortunately the album closer is worth waiting for, it has a dark, almost haunting atmosphere and great lyrics. This album is one of the weaker ones by this great band. Quite a few weak albums were to follow, interspersed with very strong ones.
Theo Verstrael | 3/5 |

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