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4 stars Harvest's "Underground Community" is a very nice album.

It consists of 13 tunes, none longer than 6:18 - no long epics or suites.

The female vocalist in places reminds me of the singer for The Cranberries (edit: or 10,000 Maniacs).

This is very "accessible" music, unlikely to elicit any funny looks from one's date.

It is still quite "proggy" in the instrumental passages, with strong guitar-work and keys and solid bass-support. The synth and electronic effects contribute dreamy atmospheres without being overwhelming.

The sound wanders fluidly from deceptively simple to hard-rocking to floaty-ambient to... all without any jarring transitions. In several spots I had to restart a track because I found myself asking "how did we get from the simple piano intro to this jamming section?"

I give this a solid 4 stars - not a must-have eternal masterpiece, but very nice to have in the collection, and safe to share with non-prog-fans.

(This is my first review, so... apologies as necessary )

Report this review (#264313)
Posted Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am the first one to admit that female fronted fusion of AOR and Neo-Prog is not my cup of tea.

Harvest is a Spanish band they have offered a free download of this album on their homepage in addition to selling normal CDs. See my interview with the band. Their music is very much a type of commercial Neo-Prog meets rock meets AOR meets prog metal. The music is based on tangents and some guitars. The sound is very much like 2009 with a contemporary feel. References are Magenta and "insert any British female fronted prog band here". In short; the type of band Classic Rock Presents Prog focus on too much for my liking. The music is not particular hard, although it has some prog metal elements. It also have some electronica elements too, but thankfully not many of them.

The music here is kind of proggy, but the orthodox prog heads here (no names mentioned.....) would probably get into a fit if confronted with this album. But the music is pretty good thoughout. There is no real killer tracks and no signature tracks here which would make Harvest stand out from the crowd. But their music is commercial and it is my understanding they have got quite a big fanbase. It is also their debut album and a good one too. My stars reflects the fact that with the exception of Magenta; I am not that fond of this type of music. But fans of Magenta should really check out this free download and then send the band some euros for the CD if they like what they hear.

3 stars

Report this review (#398336)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Released in 2009, this is a nice album available as a free download on the band's website, although I for one will be sending off for a copy of the CD. Classified as neo-prog on the site, it probably, in my opinion, sits better in crossover prog, but wherever we argue about where it should be placed, this is an accomplished and very good debut work.

As a piece of trivia, this band have supported Marillion on Spanish dates, and it is this wonderful band to whom Harvest clearly owe much in loyalty and influences, certainly in their very knowing way of writing and performing catchy and instantly accessible pieces of music. The second track, Beyond The Desert, is one of the best pieces of pop/prog I have heard in quite a long time, and on this, as, indeed, everywhere, lead vocalist Monique Van Der Kolk absolutely shines. Hers is a beautiful voice which adds so much atmosphere and flavour.

There is one cover, and that is of the marvellous Marillion track Waiting To Happen, from Holidays In Eden. This track was a highlight of a relatively ordinary Marillion album for me, and to hear it reinterpreted in a far less "in your face" way by this band is an enjoyable experience. In addition, there is a piano sequence on She Tries lifted straight from that all time classic, Brave, and is no less enjoyable for showing its influence.

All of the band perform extremely well. The guitar solo on No Return by Jordi Prats is particularly evocative, lifting a track that sits deep in melancholy.

There is a foray into prog folk territory, with clear knowing nods to post indie sensibilities, on The Story Of Tim Ballas. Indeed, as I mentioned at the top, it really is very hard to classify this album, aside from stating that it is a collection of extremely well written, well performed, emotional, and enjoyable songs. Perhaps my only criticism is that the forays into harder material, such as Mara, are not as effective as much else here. Harvest are, I think, a band who should stick to the tuneful, because it is clearly what they are best at.

Definitely one for those who, like me, are a sucker for killer female vocals, this will also strongly appeal to those who don't have to have epics on their prog albums, and also to Marillion fans curious to explore a little more the bands associated with them.

As for a rating, 3.5, but rounded up to four simply by virtue of the exceptional maturity displayed on a debut work. This is a band that is definitely one to watch in the future.

Report this review (#449151)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It happened that I downloaded this album after finding the link in the "Official Review Our Music" forum. It happened that I put it on my Mp3 reader and it happened that I totally forgot it. Then it happened that after "Harmonium", my reader started playing "Harvest" and I started wondering who they were, trying to identify them without looking on the display, also because that display is very badly lighted, very small and I had no glasses....

My first impression of the album, listened just once when I downloaded it was of good neo- prog but what remained in my mind after that listen was just a Marillion cover, and that cover was what helped me to remember the band, but it means that I have listened to the 9 previious songs with enough concentration and I have discovered an excellent band with very good songs well played and with an excellent singer.

In the end the Marillion cover (Waiting to Happen) is just a cover and the voice of Monique van der Kolk sounds too sweet respect to the powerful high pitches of Steve Hogarth, but that voice sounds excellent in the rest of the album.

Monique's voice is remarkable. It's probably the word "Autumn" in the opener that seems inspired to Prevert's poetry, but she makes me think to Heather Findlay but also to Megan Wheatley of Dan Britton's project "All Over Everywhere". Voice apart, the song is good. I have left the neo-prog subgenre since some years but I can still recognize the good neo-prog when I hear it. This is very good.

"Beyond The Desert" is colored of Magenta while the "cold electronics" of "No Return" make me think to an artist that I suggested and was rejected from PA a couple of years ago, Kate Havnevik.

"The Story Of Tim Ballas" is opened by a 12 strings guitar very similar to Bowie's Space Oddity. It's just for few seconds then they are back to their genre with a song still in Marillion's chords even if I hear a connection to Mostly Autumn also on this song.

"Mara" is different. It's a song on which one can guess that this band is Spanish (or better, Catalan). There's also more rock respect to the previous tracks. Surely is one of the less commercial.

After a short instrumental, that's the title track, that would have deserved to be exploited better, a piano introduces a mellow song that's too mellow for my tastes. Nice as background during a travel by car but nothing more.

"Post Disaster" opens with keyboard and drum machine for about one minute of progressive electronic, then when Monique starts singing she trasnforms it into an excellent song made of many different elements. Maybe Magenta is the best reference for this song

"The Horizon" sounds as a Marillion song of the Hogarth era but the chorus gives me an idea of Mostly Autumn again. It's one of the best album's songs. However it introduces quite well the cover mentioned before. "Waiting to Happen" is an excellent song and I have to admint that I prefer the original version even if this is everything but bad.

"She Tries" is another good song. We have bass and keyboards reminding to Marillion while guitar and vocals are closer to Mostly Autumn.

A short acoustic song follows: "Night Comes Down" must be mentioned mainly because of it's position in the album: I think it comes exactly in the best moment. A few of chill-out before the closure that's darker. "Interrupted Broadcast" is the heaviest track. After a piano that is able to give an idea of what will follow we have drums and distorted guitar, then piano and vocals again. Here I think to Porcupine Tree.

This is a very promising debut album. They still sound too much like their bigger influencer but have good original ideas, too. Some songs may appear too commercial but again, when the music is good being commercial or not does mean nothing to me. The impression is that the band hasn't still found its original sound, but when they will they'll have the potentiality to become big. Also this album is already better than some Marillion albums.

3.5 stars that I want to round up to 4. They have been a pleasant surprise in my mp3 playlist and I hope they will be a more pleasant surprise with their following releases.

Report this review (#451242)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Barcelona is well known for producing some great Catalan Prog in the 70's, but it was time to give a shot to a ferw more modern-sounding groups during the millenium.So this is Harvest, formed in 2008 under female singer Monique van der Kolk, keyboardist Jordi Amela and guitarist Jordi Prats.After a 6-track demo drummer Alex Ojea and bassist Roger Vilageliu joined the project and in 2009 Harvest begun performing live (even supporting Marillion) as well as writing material for their debut.It was eventually a self-produced work on their own Red Phone Records under the title ''Underground Community'' with the cover artwork made by Antonio Seijas.

Armoured with a fantastic vocalist and an array of emotional melodies Harvest offered no less than 13 laid-back short tracks full of dreamy soundscapes, ethereal atmospheres and harmonic passages, strongly influenced by Hogarth-era MARILLION as well as the straighter tunes of female-fronted bands like MAGENTA, PAATOS, IONA or MOSTLY AUTUMN.Words can't describe Monique van der Kolk's sensitive, romantic and super-emotional chords and she is definitely the biggest weapon in Harvest'a array with her ethereal vibe and crystalline choirs.The music on the other hand is far from adventurous, this contains simple arrangements full of melodic/psychedelic guitars and very light background synthesizers (and occasionally organs), as it was seemingly written around Van Der Kolk's style of singing.The result is a mixture of light-weight Neo Prog with strong Post Rock passages and a few touches of Electronica, thus resembling the approach of PAATOS.The melodies are quite strong and the tracks rather memorable, always highlghted by one of the best female singers around, however the album faces a real problem in the abscence of any kind of diversity, as all tracks sound extremely similar, yet ''Underground Community'' hardly becomes boring along the way.There is also a nice cover version of MARILLION's ''Waiting to Happen'' from the ''Holidays in Eden'' album included.

Soft female-fronted Neo Prog/Post rock of decent inspiration, featuring a fantastic singer and above average atmospheres.Still I insist this band should make their sound more flexible in the future.Recommended.

Report this review (#812615)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a Spanish five piece band featuring a female Dutch singer who sings in English. The keyboard player Jordi Amela and guitarist Jordi Prats are known names, because they were members of Spanish progrock formation Drackma. Between 2009 and 2014 Harvest released 3 studio-albums (their latest entitled Northern Wind is from 2014), this review is about their acclaimed debut CD Underground Community.

This debut CD contains 13 tracks (running time 55 minutes), including the cover Waiting To Happen from Marillion. This is no coincidence because Harvest was the support-act of Marillion during a gig in Barcelona. And just like Marillion on their album Holidays In Eden, Harvest delivers song-oriented music with an almost cinematic atmosphere and pleasant vocal lines. Most of the songs have a laidback climate or slow rhythms with the focus on singer Monique Van Der Kolk. She is a Dutch woman who went to Barcelona on her 20th and started this musical project. With her pure voice Monique colours the music in a very pleasant and emotional way. The guitar work is pretty functional but we can enjoy some moving and compelling solos, like in Beyond The Desert (sensitive with hints from Neil Young), No Return (with the use of slide and sustain) and She Tries (between Rothery and Latimer). The guitar sounds more powerful in Mara (intense riffs and in the end a heavy solo with fiery runs) and the mid-tempo song The Horizon (fat rock guitar). The keyboards sound subdued, from soaring keyboards and tender piano to soft synthesizer flights. But I like the way these keyboards are blended into the music.

I would like to describe Harvest their wonderful sound as 'wonderful Mediterrenean sunset prog'.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Other interesting, lesser known Spanish prog from the last two decades:

PI2, Bijou, Dr. No, Senogul, Taifa, Arabiga, Albatros, Neverness, Kotebel and Estygya.

Report this review (#1951794)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Melodic Neo-Prog rock much anchoured on the (excellent) gentle female English vocals of Monique Kolk and the synth soundscapes of Jordi Amela, who also is responsible for the mixing. None of this intended to diminish the contribution of the guitarist and the rhythm section which complete the quintet, all of them proving consistent musicianship at their respective instruments.

The music, arrangements and production is credited to the band (the lyrics are mostly by Monique) and that results in a musical cohesion that can be felt throughout the album. Incidentally they also play a cover of a Marillion song "Waiting To Happen", with whom the band has a particular relationship, having opened for them in Barcelona back in 2009 and also later played at the Marillion Weekend 2013.

Expect no Mellotron or Strings, only an ocasional acoustic guitar or piano besides the usual standard rock electric instrumentation, and a cello on one track. The production is modern and tasteful, effects abound but never too flashy. The comparison that comes to mind is Mostly Autumn, partly also because of the vocal style (without the harmonies).

All in all I can say it's a very pleasant first album by competent musicians who, although always sailing in the calmer waters of rock, know how to avoid being monotonous.

Report this review (#2167349)
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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