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Barclay James  Harvest - Victims Of Circumstance CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.26 | 63 ratings

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2 stars If music be the food of love ..... then this is an over-dressed and under-cooked turkey! While most of BJH's 1980s/1990s output is high quality soft rock AOR, like it or leave it, Victims Of Circumstance is an unfortunate diversion, a failed attempt at modernising their sound. There are some good songs trying to get out but they really struggle to make any headway against a relentless tide of new-age production, clichéd keyboards and [shock-horror] actual female backing vocals! Guitars are almost an endangered species, even bass is mostly synthetic. The effect is verging more on 80s new-wave than soft rock.

Opener Sideshow is typical of the album's malaise, a jaunty little rocker failing to make any impression against a gutless production, unsympathetic orchestral arrangement and of course those alien female voices. And, Rebel Woman is awash with Those Synths so beloved of 80s pop bands. Fine if you are The Human League or OMD, but this is supposed to be BJH, creators of such masterpieces as She Said and For No-One. And, Les-does-reggae pop song Watching You should have been entered for Eurovision! And, I've Got A Feeling is another Les-by-numbers slow ballad that we've heard so many times before [and since!]. And .... so it goes on.

None of it is bad, you understand. Taken individually, there is much to enjoy if approached with an open mind, though a million miles from Progland so it has to be rated low here. In general Victims Of Circumstance comes near the bottom of the BJH pile.

Joolz | 2/5 |


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