Procol Harum

Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2017

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


“We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor, I was feeling kinda seasick, but the crowd call out for more.” So begins “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” which propelled Procol Harum into the rock and roll limelight in 1967. They will now release their 13my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 th studio album Novum in celebration of their 50th anniversary.

Beginning with their self-titled debut in 1967, Procol Harum issued a series of albums including Shine On Brightly, A Salty Dog, and Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which combined elements of classical music with what would be shortly become recognized as progressive music.

While musicians such as Robin Trower, Keith Reid, and Matthew Fisher have passed through the band over the years, the one constant has been vocalist/songwriter/pianist Gary Brooker. The band now includes long-term members Geoff Whiteman, Matt Pegg, and Geoff Dunn, plus lyricist Pete Brown of Cream fame.

The band has wisely chosen not to reinvent themselves or their sound on their new release. In many ways, the music is less complex but more melodic than in the past. Their ability to create a sound that allows the listener to just drift in the music remains intact.

Brooker’s voice shows some wear after 50 years, but he is still capable of providing a smooth listening experience. He has wisely surrounded himself with a group of veteran musicians who have coalesced into a tight band. Brown adds some new dimensions and sophistication to the lyrics, which is welcome. His presence puts the emphasis more on the lyrics than the music, which is a new direction for the band.

Novum shows that Procol Harum is still relevant as a band after a half-century on the road and in the studio.

Rating: B

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