Barclay James Harvest

XII

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Based very loosely around the motif of literary genres (science fiction, fantasy, classics, etc.), XII shows Barclay James Harvest following many other progressive bands in the late '70s with slicker production and simplified song structures. This attempt at the mainstream doesn't always succeed; the album begins inauspiciously with "Loving Is Easy," a generic rock track with embarrassing "shoot my love into you" lyrics. But the simple yet effective arrangement of the keyboard ballad, "Berlin," shows that the band is capable of stripping down their compositions without having to sink to the lowest common denominator. Still, most fans won't find much to love here, except perhaps for "In Search of England," which briefly resurrects Wolstenholme's epic keyboard-driven orchestration.

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