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Barclay James  Harvest - Caught In The Light CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.57 | 73 ratings

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2 stars From all I have read, BJH was a group in name only by this point. The two co-stars, John Lees and Les Holroyd, traded off songs and barely met in the studio. It was like a marriage that had business ties to complicate any attempted divorce proceedings. Strange, then, that it's harder than ever to distinguish the contributions of one from those of the other. Perhaps this is a case of looking in the mirror and not liking what one sees.

This is an almost uniformly mellow album with a slick post ENYA feel. Very few contrasts can be found and virtually no succinctness of expression. The extended track lengths give one hope in progressive terms, but they are simply beyond languid electronic pieces that require a half dozen minutes or more just to reach the end of their 2 or 3 verses, middle 8 and obligatory diffuse solo.

The only two tunes that stand out for good reasons are the opener "Who do you think we are", and "Cold War", both Holroyd offerings, but they would have been more impressive on a more mixed tempo disk. At least there is that sense of mystery that we remember from the old BJH. Otherwise, "Spud-u-Like" is the only rocker and it isn't at all memorable, while "Once More" is a sad tribute to the early Harvest period when the group was far more inspired, even down to quotes from "Mockingbird". The rest is pretty, forgettable and pretty forgettable.

While BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST is best known as a more mellow crossover group, most of their earlier and even later material had some edge to it, some venom, mixed with healthy resignation. Here we find only acceptance of the inevitable. There is still a sense of beauty about many of the tunes, but a passive beauty it is, one that neither engages nor feels engaged. For fans and completists, but don't expect to be caught in this BJH-lite for too long.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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