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THE GOLDEN HARP

SBB

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars Firstly, it pays to note that this is an EP of five tunes, released as bonus material on SBB's 22 Disc Anthology, few of you would ever hear. So, why do I bother with a review then? Simply, because I don't expect many others to do it and that I have a soft spot for their works in general, something I've been familiar with for decades.

Breaking with my habit of writing in general terms, here I'll touch on each tune - especially that there are only five in this release.

The title track "Golden Harp" struck me as a surprise as this is not really typical of the band. It's closer to an average Pop ballad, predictable, average piano plonk-plonk, but something that could grow on one over repeated listening on your local AM Station. Some tasteful guitar fills relieve the boredom, but frankly, not enough to make this piece memorable.

"Bar Wah-Wah" is a really groovy, guitar driven, instrumental Rock piece. Tight and compact - another uncharacteristic approach by the band. Pretty good - I'd say. Indeed it's excellent in Prog terms, too!

"Least it's sunny" starts with harmonica, reminiscent of SBB's earlier live performances where they'd often do a Boogie piece just for fun. Here, it doesn't come off that well and the tune soon mutates into mediocre Funk. Not really bad, but wouldn't be missed.

"Strawberry Jam" is a short piece that doesn't get much beyond than a soundscape and as such - filler material. A bit of fooling around on the guitar whilst the rest are not quite asleep at the rehearsal.

"Golden Harp - Instrumental" is the closing track. Without the vocals it's less Poppy and more reminiscent of the lesser works of FOCUS.

If you know and like SBB, you'll find this EP somewhat amusing and of some interest. If you don't, it's not a good place to start with exploring the band.

I am very tempted to rate it as a 2, but "Bar Wah-Wah" alone lifts it closer to 3 stars. (That tune should have been released on one of their main albums.)

Altogether it's good, but essential it isn't. Not by SBB standards.

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Posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 | Review Permalink

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