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Barclay James  Harvest - River Of Dreams CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.22 | 56 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars Back in the game? Well, not at all actually!

After a handful of albums ranging from merely decent to downright poor, Barclay James Harvest claims to be "back in the game" here with River Of Dreams. Sadly, this is every bit as dire as previous albums, if not more so. The previous Caught In The Light, Welcome To The Show and Face To Face albums all had at least one or two good songs each, but River Of Dreams falls short even of that. What we get here is ten nondescript, slow Soft Rock songs with a sound that could be considered "adult contemporary". The progressive elements of the early years were long since considerably watered down and on this album they seem to have evaporated entirely. The songs here are very long, but this is not an indicator for interesting arrangements of which there are none.

On a "positive" note, River Of Dreams is a more even album than of late with no awful songs as such (like Spud-U-Like from the previous album, for example); instead, the album remains firmly in the mediocre throughout with no standouts in any direction. The band have finally learned that every time they try to "Rock out" they fail miserably. Thus they stick to a very slow tempo on this album, effectively making it sound the same from beginning till end. This results in a listenable but oh so dull album, worthy of consideration only by the most staunchly dedicated fans (if such people exist at all!?).

At this point in time even the band themselves realized (?) that this could not go on any further and the two principle songwriters of the band, John Lees and Les Holroyd, finally parted company for good. Holroyd took drummer Mel Pritchard with him and continued to make music under the name 'Barclay James Harvest featuring Les Holroyd' while John Lees reunited with Woolly Wolstenholme (who had left the band in the late 70's) under the (somewhat pretentious) name 'Barclay James Harvest Through The Eyes Of John Lees'. The latter group would finally "get back in the game" and they concentrate on playing songs from the 70's live as can be seen on a very good recent live DVD.

To sum up. River Of Dreams is a wholly forgettable album, recommended only for completionists.

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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