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Barclay James  Harvest - Eyes Of The Universe CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.93 | 105 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars BJH's first post-Wostenholme album, "Eyes of the Universe" finds the band undeterred, determined to continue on the same path of melodic art rock with a prog twist that they had been nurturing for years. The final result is very good, despite the fact that such a crucial member was gone (to Earth?). 'Love on the Line' kicks off the album with a sense of splendour instilled by the massive synth layers and guitar riffs: the basic melody is catchy, fitting writer Holroyd's timber quite rightly. Also from his pen came 'The Song (They Love to Sing)', which in my opinion is the most outstanding track in the album - starting with a theme of eerie synth used in a percussive manner, the song turns into a mid tempo chant in honor of the warmth and devotion provided by the fans. The same subject is treated with equally grateful candor in the closing track 'Play to the World', which assumes a more anthem-like mood, and with a more distant attitude in 'Sperratus' assuming the adored performer's point of view. The latter is Lee's most prominent contribution to this album, creating a perfect convergence between the orchestral drive of symphonic prog and the distinct energy of pomp rock: endless fiery guitar solos, fluid links between the various sections - a great rocker, indeed! 'Capricorn' and 'Skin Flicks' are the most melodic-driven tracks in the album, both designed to show BJH's sensitive side: the former is a pretty tune whose lyrics present a reflection on humankind's capability for violence an destruction, while the latter is a Moody Blues' 'Question'-inspired portrait of the life and times of a centerfold babe. The remaining two tracks that I haven't mentioned so far are not really that impressive. 'Rock 'n' Roll Lady' is just an average rocker, not energetic enough to be catchy, fine to a certain degree, but mostly vulgar as its title may suggest. But sometimes it's better to have a vulgar title than a ridiculous one: 'Alright Down Get Boogie (Muala Rusic)' it is (you see, I felt ashamed just to write it down in this review). This Lee-penned kind of mockery toward the ambience and music of disco-age fails to transcend beyond the laughable aspect of parody and make something genius out of it (you know, like Procol Harum's 'In Held 'Twas in I', Genesis' 'Supper's Ready', or Jethro Tull's 'Fat Man'): it is just laughable, and its wildest aspirations must conform to achieving guilty pleasure status, nothing more. Well, all in all, the impact caused by the strong points surpasses the letdowns caused by tracks 2 and 6, so my general balance is basically positive - good, not essential, enjoyable, pleasant, and really great at times.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |


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