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Barclay James  Harvest - Once Again CD (album) cover

ONCE AGAIN

Barclay James Harvest

 

Crossover Prog

3.78 | 179 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars A classic and often hailed as BJH's best work to date, "Once Again" was remastered in 2002 and this is the version that caught my attention as I looked to familiarise myself with them.

Originally released in 1971, it is no surprise that this album is covered by a general veil of psychedelia, even if this expressed through the softest of approaches, quite often pop. The closest act that comes to mind is certainly The Moody Blues, where this album shares the "nostalgic" late 60's feeling to the nth degree.

Eight compositions and another five (although three are simply different takes/versions) comprise this release, the majority based on very slow tempos - actually many of them can be simply described as sophisticated pop-rock (and possibly proto-prog) ballads. The one element that stands out is Holroyd's work on the bass lines, easily the proggiest aspect of "Once Again", that otherwise does not show any sign of outright innovation. The orchestral work of Robert Godfrey on 'Galadriel' and 'Mocking Bird' is certainly worth of mention, giving these two tracks a more pompous, grandiose atmosphere with beautiful arrangements. If it wasn't for the latter I pretty much doubt that they would be remembered and hailed as fan favourites.

'She Said' is possibly the best number here (with the best guitar work), with 'Happy Old World' being possibly the weakest. Although the vocal melodies are pleasant, I get the impression that the tracks tend to drag much longer than they should have, and the experimentation/diversity is not there to sustain the duration, often leading to repetition towards the end.

All and all, a good album with its own character but not in my top list of the early 70's; nevertheless, this psych/blues feeling of nostalgia I get from "Once Again" will make me spin this a few more times in the future.

aapatsos | 3/5 |

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