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Barclay James Harvest

Entry updated 14 September 2021. Tagged: Music.

UK prog-rock band formed in the late 1960s by guitarist John Lees (1947-    ), bassist Les Holroyd (1948-    ), keyboard player Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme (1947-2010) and percussionist Mel Pritchard (1948-2004). The band's folk-influenced music, informed by a rather egregious agrarian pastoralism, occasionally reverted to a Dystopian sf. Their song "Negative Earth" (in Everyone Is Everybody Else, 1974) concerns a marooned astronaut facing his own death. "Sea of Tranquility" (in Gone to Earth, 1977) is a polemical song that sets its face against the very idea of human space exploration. Much of the band's music takes an apocalyptic perspective on man's technological interference with the environment: 1970's "Dark Now My Sky", "Kiev" (in Face to Face, 1987) – about the Chernobyl disaster – and 1993's "Who Do We Think We Are?" are three among many examples of this rather hectoring sort of songwriting. The song "Science Fiction: Nova Lepidoptera" (from the album XII, 1978) mixes various genre clichés into a baffling melange ("Take me through the laser beams / The moving sands of Mars to see"). [AR]

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