This is Pagan Harvest’s first appearance (September 2016) in a UK national print publication. Thanks to R2 magazine and journalist Oz Hardwick for a friendly 3 Star review. The review is preposterously great (to echo R2’s words) and in the opinion of the guys themselves captures the spirit of the band!
Over to Oz Hardwick.
When I started attending gigs in the early/mid-70s, more were in church or school halls than ‘proper’ venues. At least one band would be a bunch of local schoolboys, studiously trying to coax folk tinged prog from inadequate gear while intoning portentous lyrics that combined school hymns with Dennis Wheatley, sixth form poetry, and Tolkien. A few such also-rans and didn’t-run-at-alls were gathered onto last year’s essential Dust on the Nettles compilation and, frankly, I love them.
Enter Pagan Harvest – even the name’s preposterously great, a trio who, by the look of them, are around my age and, by the sound of them, also hanker for those simpler times. Old enough to know better, and sensible enough not to give a damn, they’re the oldest school band ever. Freed from the strictures of percussion, Steve Daymond’s bass gamely flirts with melodies that sometimes make sense and sometimes don’t; Lawrence Reed multi-tracks guitars, keyboards and orchestral arrangements more-or-less in sync; and Jon Bickley makes the most of lyrics like ‘The wind will blow and sand will shift and cover over the graves of kings and belly dancers, of sultans and slaves.’ If this had been released in 1973, copies would now fetch hundreds from acid folk obsessives. As it is, it’s a nice exercise in nostalgia for chaps of a certain age.