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Barclay James  Harvest - BJH Featuring Les Holroyd: Revolution Days CD (album) cover


Barclay James Harvest


Crossover Prog

2.34 | 48 ratings

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2 stars This is Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd, one of two bands now using the old band's name and the least interesting to Proggers, formed by BJH founder and bassist Les Holroyd with a couple of ex- Sad Cafe persons Mike Byron-Hehir and Ian Wilson to continue the AOR road pursued by later BJH. Forget about Prog - though a couple songs display a form of 'progression', there are not many who would claim this band has any connection with Prog. Byron-Hehir, an excellent guitarist, brings a gutsier, harder edge to Holroyd's songs, aided by an expansive production with a modern powerful sound, much more punchy and dramatic than most BJH albums.

So far so good, but what of the music? Well, Les's songwriting has long given over to clichés, both musically and lyrically, but here the changed environment has perhaps rejuvenated him, at least in part. A powerful rock arrangement of It's My Life starts us off in belligerant mood ["it's my life / and I'll do what I want / be what I want to be / it's my life"] but our optimism is soon dispelled by the insipid Missing You, one of several slow ballads. The rest of the album proceeds in a similar vein - some fine rocking moments from an excellent tight band and scintillating licks from Mike B-H are accompanied by a number of slow ballads, sung in Les's increasingly strained impassioned manner mostly backed by lush synthesized strings.

A preponderance of those slow ballads in Les's work, past and present, must mean there are people out there who like them. To me they are too numerous and too similar and here they ruin what might otherwise have been a strong album. If you like Les's work with BJH, particularly the later material, you might go for this, but there is precious little connection left with the old band. Taken on its own merit, a couple of good rockers and one reasonable ballad isn't enough to make it interesting to anyone other than a fan.

Joolz | 2/5 |


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