RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Procol Harum – Novum
Eagle  Records

Rating: B

Procol Harum is celebrating their 50th anniversary.  Man… that seems odd to type.  That’s a freaking long time!  What is even cooler than that kind of longevity is the fact that this band is still interested and capable of making a solid rock record while pushing their creative boundaries.  On April 21st, Eagle Records will release Novum, an album that drips with rock, blues and soul.  This is the bands first studio album in 14 years, and this time around, there are many more guitar tracks than perhaps in literally decades for Procol Harum.  One cannot survive on just a Hammond organ alone, you see...

Fifty years ago the band was riding high on the massive and classic hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”  This is one of ‘those’ songs that will live on -even longer than the band entering its sixth decade.  “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is simply timeless.  While Gary Brooker, the band’s founder, is the only original member still in the lineup since 2004, this band has some darn good musicians joining him including bassist Matt Pegg (JETHRO TULL, Ian Brown), drummer Geoff Dunn (Jimmy Page, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison), guitarist Geoff Whitehorn (Roger Chapman, Paul Rodgers, Roger Daltrey) and Hammond organ player Josh Phillips (Pete Townsend and Midge Ure).  Together, they are a true band and a musical force that will continue to give it their all until they have no more to give.  Pete Brown (collaborated with CREAM) takes over most of the lyric writing from long-time lyricist Keith Reid on this latest studio release, while the music was composed by the entire band, giving the compositions a new attitude.

“I Told On You,” “Last Chance Motel” and “Image Of The Beast” are the first three tracks that begin the album (and yes, this latest effort will be released on vinyl), each song more polished and clever than the one before.  The single “Sunday Morning” (released April 7) may be more of what long-term fans want to hear and expect from the symphonic / progressive band... but trust me on this one, the band as a unit makes this release one of the most complete albums by any lineup under this name.  It is a mature, solid, and, for lack of a better word, groovy sort of listening experience.  In other words, it is music made for music’s sake and nothing more.  There is no one left to impress after 50 years.  There is no chance of getting on FM radio in the USA.  There is only the art and the craft of making music and that is what Brooker & Company are concerned about here. 

Track Listing
  1. I Told On You
  2. Last Chance Motel
  3. Image Of The Beast
  4. Soldier
  5. Don't Get Caught
  6. Neighbour
  7. Sunday Morning
  8. Businessman
  9. Can't Say That
  10. The Only One
  11. Somewhen

By Jeb “One of sixteen vestal virgins” Wright