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Barclay James  Harvest - Turn Of The Tide CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.58 | 106 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The 1980's had arrived, Woolly had left, kaftan in tow, obviously rather peeved at the direction being taken by the band, and, indeed, with the two replacements on keyboards there is an indisputable eighties feel to proceedings, not that I think there is anything inherently wrong with that, and it certainly did absolutely no harm to record sales in continental Europe, Germany especially on the back of the Berlin concerts, whilst being virtually completely ignored back in dear old Blighty.

Of this series of albums, I prefer the successor, Ring of Changes, but there is still enough to keep fans of the band interested here, although this album marked, for me, the beginning of the end between the two main writers, Lees and Holroyd, who, a la Davies and Hodgson, were now writing completely separately, giving rise to the feel of two acts making one album. Who you prefer is obviously a matter of individual taste. Actually, both can stray into blandness too often for comfort, Back to the Wall being perhaps the stick out example for Holroyd, whilst Death of a City is a rather feeble attempt at a Lees rocking track.

Holroyd does, though, fully redeem himself with the gorgeous ballad Echoes and Shadows, which has a full, rich vocal, amply supported by lush keys. It is, perhaps, this type of track which many find objectionable, but I find just a lovely listening experience. In addition, Life is for Living was a big hit single in Europe, and is a very decent BJH pop track.

As regards Lees, his best are saved until the last two, with the quirky Doctor, Doctor, which has some very intricate grooves and ideas at its heart, and In Memory of the Martyrs, dedicated to those who perished attempting to cross from East to West Berlin. Rich, with lush guitars and symphonic backing keys, full of feeling and sympathy for its subject, and lavishly produced, this is my favourite track of the album, and certainly the closest it came to rather more "traditional" prog. As a fan of the band, this track made it worth the price of the album on its own.

It is difficult to rate an album such as this. I like BJH, and I have never objected to commercial prog rock, and, in fairness, this lot were always master exponents of the "lighter" end of the prog spectrum. There are some very good highlights, but, unfortunately, too much of it is rather forgettable. Pleasant, but unremarkable, and, therefore, in terms of this band's long history, it is not amongst their best, and I would suggest that only completists who have to own all of their work would be recommended to shell out their hard earned cash to own it. Two stars, therefore, but an extra half in reality.

lazland | 2/5 |


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