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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Barclay James Harvest

Caught in the Light

Review by Gary Hill

This is a remastered and expanded version of a Barclay James Harvest album. The first disc is the original album with a bonus track. The second disc is a live album. I think I like the studio album more than I like the live recording on this set. That said, both are solid. This is more of an AOR prog sound than pure progressive rock. It’s still quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One

                              
Who Do We Think We Are?

Keys open the album. It works out from there to a cool jam that’s more guitar based. Symphonic elements add to the mix. This has a bit of a space rock vibe, but it also makes me think of something like Supertramp a bit. This is fairly complex but still manages to feel mainstream. I love the multilayered vocal arrangement in the closing section of the number.

Knoydart
Although this is more along the lines of pop rock than prog rock, it’s a particularly effective and catchy song. There is still some prog in the mix, too. This is a lot of fun.
Copii Romania
This is a ballad. It’s built on a lot of keyboards. It has a real adult contemporary vibe to it. It seems packed with emotion. The instrumental section brings some prog and symphonic elements.
Back to Earth
A strong tune, this again makes me think of Supertramp quite a bit. Add in some Alan Parsons, too, and you’ll be in the right direction. This is more in line with the AOR end of the prog genre, but prog does apply.
Cold War
In a lot of ways this feels like a proggy Bee Gees to me. The keyboard elements and general structure land this more in the prog vein than the previous song was. It’s a great tune, too. The acoustic guitar work later in the piece is particularly effective.
Forever Yesterday (Long Version)
I love the proggy introduction on this cut. It has a bit of a space rock vibe. Piano takes control after that as the only accompaniment for the first vocals. That section feels a bit like Supertramp blended with Elton John. It never rises to the level of a real rocker, but other sounds do get added to the mix as it continues.
The Great Unknown
Another balladic cut in the beginning, this gets powered up a bit more at times later. It’s more of a prog power ballad. There are definitely elements of this that make me think of The Bee Gees, too. There are times when it’s full powered up later that it makes me think of modern Yes a bit.
Spud-U-Like
Here we get an energetic rocker. While there are some rather space like bits, particularly on the bridge, this isn’t the proggiest thing here. It’s a fun number, though.
Silver Wings
Imagine the Bee Gees and Supertramp working together on a ballad. It might sound quite a bit like this. I dig the melodic guitar solo on the tune.
Once More
A bit proggier, this is a mellow number, but still manages to rock somewhat. The extended instrumental segment later is full on prog rock. It has symphonic elements and some killer guitar soloing. .
A Matter of Time
As the more rocking sound starts this, it makes me think of Genesis a bit. The vocals join, bringing a bit of a Chicago element to the table. The instrumental section on this has some great guitar soloing. The keyboards in that part really call to mind Genesis’ Tony Banks.
Ballad of Denshaw Mill
This is a great prog ballad. It’s quite pretty and evocative. It moves out to some cool world music meets space rock sound later.
Bonus Track
                     
Who Do We Think We Are? (German Promotional Single Edit)

As the title and parenthetical suggest, this is a single edit of the album’s opening song.  I almost think that it works better in this format.

Disc Two
                 
Life Is for Living

I like this live rendition. It’s got some definite solid prog in the mix. That said, it still manages to land in the territory of energetic catchy pop rock.

John Lennon's Guitar
I love this song. It makes me think of Klaatu and Queen mixed together. This is a proggy number that’s just plain classy. I dig the rocking jam later in the cut, and particularly the melodic guitar soloing over the top of it.
Crazy City
The opening jam on this is powered up prog rock. It drops to a mellower motif for the first vocals, but get more intense and energized on the chorus. The vocal arrangement on this is great.
Suicide?
This starts with a full on prog flourish and then drops to a balladic movement for the vocals. The verses call to mind Queen a bit. The powered up sections, though, are more full progressive rock in style.
Rock N' Roll Lady
As this comes into being it makes me think of “All Along the Watchtower.” This is a cool rocker.  While this is overall a straightahead rocker, it has a decent amount of prog built into it. It’s also a particularly effective piece.
Berlin
Chiming sounds with an ominous tone start this. There is a real space rock vibe as it moves forward.  It eventually works out to a more melodic prog rock jam. This is a classy tune that really has a good vibe and flow to it. I can make out some hints of Elton John at times here.
Poor Man's Moody Blues
This definitely has ties to the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” This is a good folk prog tune.
Stand Up
More of a rocker, I dig this song. It’s a big proggy, a bit world music oriented and all cool.
Shadows on the Sky
Speaking of world music, this starts with a major world music based arrangement. It works out to sort of a folk prog tune. This is classy stuff with some hints of reggae in the mix.
Hymn
This is a killer folk prog tune. It’s very soaring and powerful.

 

 
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