Album review: PROCOL HARUM – Novum


Eagle Records [Release date 21.04.17]

What do you think of when you hear the words “Procol Harum”?  “Whiter Shade Of Pale”?  Symphonic rock, maybe?  Robin Trower was in an early incarnation?  Perhaps this demonstrates the band’s eclectism over 50 years and perhaps even the reason for their longevity.

Unfortunately that eclecticism continues on the album ‘Novum’ which may split any potential new recruits to the fanbase.  Some may think there are not enough soft rockers like ‘I Told On You’, ‘Businessman’, ‘Can’t Say That’ or the Steely Dan-ish ‘Image Of The Beast’.

Of course Gary Brooker’s vocals are as distinctive as ever rooted in the jazz rock/blues fusion that the band have also touched upon, whilst Geoff Whitehorn provides tasty guitar figures throughout.

Overall, it’s an album of solid songs (with lyrics by Pete Brown – who worked with Cream).  It does justice to the band’s long heritage if not as revelatory (or rocky)  as the predecessor (14 years ago!) This Well’s On Fire.  Moreover, it underlines why they might still alienate as many listeners as they will now attract.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Procol Harum UK Tour dates

6 May EDINBURGH Queen’s Hall
8 May MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
10 May LIVERPOOL Philharmonic Hall
11 May BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
13 May LONDON Shepherd’s Bush Empire
14 May NOTTINGHAM Concert Hall
16 May BRISTOL Colston Hall

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Power Plays w/c 2 April 2018

TAX THE HEAT Taking The Hit (Nuclear Blast)
BLACKBERRY SMOKE Nobody Gives A Damn (Earache)
CATTAIL BREW Fool’s Gold (Capital City Music Factory/Cargo Records)

Featured Albums w/c 2 April (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FRONTLINE State Of Rock + 2 (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 GUS G Fearless (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TRACK DOGS Kansas City Out Groove (Mondegreen Records)

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