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25 Apr 2017

Procol Harum “Novum” 2017 UK Prog Rock,Classic Rock







Procol Harum “Novum”  2017 UK Prog Rock,Classic Rock  new album…..
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Novum is Procol Harum’s thirteenth studio album, their first since The Well’s On Fire in 2003, and is released in the band’s fiftieth anniversary year. Kicking things off with the huge and ongoing success of their debut single A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum went on to help define the progressive rock genre in the early seventies whilst at the same time embracing their roots in blues and soul. Novum sees a new lyrical direction for Procol Harum with the songs all featuring words by Pete Brown, most famous for his song writing collaboration with the members of Cream. This has given a different feel to the songs, retaining the thought provoking content for which the band has always been known but with a different slant and elements of humor. As ever, the music and musicianship within the band is of the highest level and this long-awaited collection of brand new songs is sure to be devoured greedily by Procol Harum’s devoted fan base……………..

Half a century ago, PROCOL HARUM, who achieved tremendous success with their debut single “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, made a significant contribution to the genre of progressive rock, while preserving their roots, which lie in blues and soul. “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is still one of the best-selling singles of all time. The cover of “Novum”, which was painted by Julia Brown (Julia Brown) contains references to the design of the debut disc of the group of 1967, which includes this single. 

Since their first appearance in 1967, PROCOL HARUM has not ceased to evolve, but their lead remains the vocalist, pianist and composer Gary Brooker. The current line-up consisted mainly of the early ‘90s and includes bassist Matt Pegg, JETHRO TULL, and Jan Brown’s band, drummer Geoff Dunn, accompanying compositions by Jimmy Page, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison), Guitarist Geoff Whitehorn, Roger Chapman, Paul Rogers and Roger Daltrey, and organist John Phillips, solo projects of Pete Townsend and Midge Ur. 

“Our last studio album is released in 2003, and as PROCOL HARUM turns 50 in 2017, we needed something special, and as a result we got a new album with new songs from the band that have been together for 10 years. And producer Dennis Weinreich (Dennis Weinreich) contributed to the album, which I think is the best in PROCOL HARUM history. "Just listen!” - says Gary Brooker. 

“Novum” marks a new direction PROCOL HARUM - all the songs were composed by all members of the group, and the texts to most of them were composed by the poet Pete Brown (Pete Brown), best known for co-authorship of CREAM songs. Thanks to this, the atmosphere of the songs has changed - they still make you think, but now they have elements of humor. 

“Novum” is not only a souvenir for the 50th anniversary of the amazing group, but also a new step in its evolution. This long-awaited selection of new songs is sure to please the dedicated fans of PROCOL HARUM……….

Every once in a great while, a band with some history and, usually, no small pedigree, will reignite the chemistry that begat its sound and do so without over-obvious replication of its essential style. Neil Young and Crazy Horse found themselves in such a rarefied space with Ragged Glory (Reprise, 1990) as did the Allman Brothers Band in the early 2000’s. 

With Novum, Procol Harum is similarly positioned. Cognizance of the fiftieth anniversary of the band’s breakthrough with “Whiter Shade of Pale” has led perennial vocalist and keyboardist Gary Brooker to marshal the resources of a lineup that’s been stable for some two decades and, as a further catalyst, utilize the distinctive lyric-writing skill of Pete Brown, who collaborated in that role with Cream. 

A group more glib than this one might contrive the title of this record—literally defined as “new thing"—into an updated moniker. But it’s a healthy detachment from what they do that allows Procol circa 2017 to create in such a way they’re free of any self-consciousness on tracks like "I Told On You.” Fronting this stable a lineup, Brooker and Co. has the advantage of playing for their audience without playing down to them with this, their first album in fourteen years. The cover art hearkening to, but also modernizing, graphics from their early days is not just symbolic. 

In fact, it’s a metaphor for music that, at its best on tracks like a stately, uplifting “The Only One,” has all the earthy grandeur of its past plus the bond of the current lineup. The quintet’s solidarity in the studio is altogether remarkable and it’s no coincidence that a fretboard image is almost as prominent on the cover as that of a keyboard: the heavy guitar of Geoff Whitehorn favorably reminds that Robin Trower was an original member of Procol Harum. 

But Brooker’s piano is even further to the forefront there and on “Last Chance Motel,” giving this track a lilt accentuated by group vocal harmonies. The arrangement of “Image of the Beast,” in contrast, emphasizes Josh Phillips on Hammond organ, the somewhat ominous tones of which rest easily with brighter chord changes. The following track, “Soldier,” has slightly more colorful lyric images, suggesting just how crucial is wordsmith Pete Brown’s contributions to the pieces on which he’s participates. 

The lyrics, however, might not matter so much without the distinctive tones of Gary Brooker’s voice. There’s a regal bearing to his singing, to be sure, but it also accommodates the whimsy of songs like “Don’t Get Caught” (almost) as easily as the wistful tones of “Sunday Morning.” Needless to say, the keyboardist/composer excels on “Can’t Say That” as well, the cut on Novum that hews most closely to the blues and soul influences at the heart of Procol Harum. 

It may be the most literal reference to this storied band’s roots, but it’s hardly the only one here, which is what makes the record so worthy of attention, as an extension of a worthy legacy as well as a laudable work on its own terms….by Doug Collete…all about jazz………..

The first question that has to be asked about this most recent album lead by Gary Brooker is, “Can this really be called a ‘Procol Harum’ album if the lyrics are not done by Keith Reid?” Brooker, along with Geoff Dunn/dr, Matt Pegg/b, Josh Phillips/B3 and Geoff Whitehorn/g seem to think so, and even without the sophisticated rhymes included with the patented mix of blues, rock and classical, the album still retains the vintage Procol Harum touch. 

Brooker is in great vocal form on the lonely and spartan pieces such as “The Only One” and “Somewhen,” while he gets Whitehorn to sound like Trower on the Whiskey Train on the waililng “Businessman.” Vintage blues rock is delivered on “Can’t Say That” and the old trick of throwing in some classical licks is felt when Pachelbel’s “Canon” is used as wallpaper for “Sunday Morning.” Lyrical rhythms akin to their 9th and Exotic Birds era makes things enjoyable on “I Told You So” and “Image of The Beast,” showing the band still has muscle in their melodies. Quite impressive at this stage of the game, but please, give Mr. Reid a call to get back into the lyric sheets. Nothing but the truth!….by George W. Harris…………

Procol Harum have announced that they’ll release their 13th studio album later this year. 

Titled Novum, it’ll launch on April 21 via Eagle Records on CD and 2LP. It will be the band’s 13th album and their first since 2003’s The Well’s On Fire. 

This year also marks Procol Harum’s 50th anniversary, with the group heading out on the road for seven dates across the UK in the coming months. 

Vocalist and pianist Gary Brooker says: “Our last studio album was in 2003 and with 2017 being 50 years of Procol Harum, something special was needed, which has resulted in a new album of new songs with the band as we’ve stood for the past decade, all contributing with producer Dennis Weinreich to make what I believe to be one of the finest Procol Harum albums ever.” 

Brooker is joined in the lineup by bassist Matt Pegg, drummer Geoff Dunn, guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and Hammond organ player Josh Phillips……………

Fifty years after “Whiter Shade of Pale” introduced the concept of progressive rock, Procol Harum roll on, even with singer and pianist Gary Brooker as the only remaining original member. Novum is their first new studio album in 14 years. Their last, 2003’s The Well’s on Fire, marked the end of the decades-long writing partnership between Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. Organist Matthew Fisher and drummer Mark Brzezicki left shortly thereafter. Brooker still had guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and bassist Matt Pegg. They recruited organist Josh Phillips and drummer Greg Dunn. This version has been together for a decade. 
Novum is a worthy 50th anniversary offering (though it’s not, as Brooker claims, Procol’s finest). This is the sound of a working band, not a tired reunion project. Brooker enlisted lyricist Pete Brown – known for his work with Cream and Graham Bond – and in an unusual move, brought the entire band into the songwriting process. What’s on offer here is the most rocking sound Procol Harum have delivered since Broken Barricades. There is only one overtly “classical” moment here, and it’s a send up – there’s a direct quote from Pachelbel’s Canon as a brief intro to the wonderful “Sunday Morning.” Some truly perverse lyric moments are expertly crafted into well-composed songs (would we expect anything less?). Opener “I Told on You” is a forceful prog rocker about professional jealousy, bitterness, and retribution. Its bridge and chorus are classic Brooker (think Home and Grand Hotel). “Last Chance Motel” is a strange and ironic take on the murder ballad that recalls the musical structure of early Elton John and Bernie Taupin tunes. It’s among the many vehicles here for Brooker’s voice, which remains as resonant and expressive as ever – there’s the hint of graininess in it, but his power remains undiminished by time. There are also some atypical, straight-on political swipes at hyper-capitalism, too, as on the bluesy “Soldier” and the meld of mean rock and Baroque pop in “Businessman.” “Don’t Get Caught” commences as a ballad with Brooker’s trademark nearly sepulchral singing, but becomes an anthem offering sage advice for guilt-free living atop blazing guitars and swelling strings. One might hear traces of Queen’s extended sense of vocal harmony in the rowdy chorus of the loopy "Neighbor,” but Brian May himself would admit that Queen snagged it from Procol Harum in the first place. “Can’t Say That” is an angry number and it rocks hard: Brooker’s signature piano style runs up hard against Whitehorn’s electric blues guitar vamps (think the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”) with a killer Pegg bassline. “The Only One” offers Brooker at his most confessional and melancholy, as he builds himself up and lets himself glide down the poignant lyric. Novum is far better than anyone had any right to expect: It’s energetic, hungry, and swaggering. That said, it retains the trademark class and musical sophistication that makes Procol Harum iconic. ….by Thom Jurek…………………

Tracklist: 
01. I Told On You 
02. Last Chance Motel 
03. Image Of The Beast 
04. Soldier 
05. Don’t Get Caught 
06. Neighbour 
07. Sunday Morning 
08. Businessman 
09. Can’t Say That 
10. The Only One 
11. Somewhen 


Line Up: 
Gary Brooker - piano, accordion, vocals 
Josh Phillips - organ, vocals 
Geoff Whitehorn - guitar 
Matt Pegg - bass guitar 
Geoff Dunn - drums 

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