The Well's on Fire - Eagle Records 2003
The sound of "The Well's on Fire" is much closer to the classical 67-78 albums than "The Prodigal Stranger", which was produced with the distinctive 1980s sound. Of the original members singer and piano player Gary Brooker and organist Matthew Fisher are still there; also the band's mysterious extra member Keith Reid is still the man behind the lyrics.
Brooker and Fisher were the key-members in creating the characteristic Procol Harum sound, and with the new line-up the two have managed to create an album which comes as a natural extension of "A Salty Dog", which was the last album Fisher played on before he first left the group.
Both Brooker’s and Fisher’s songwriting seem very inspired. Brooker's melodic opening number "An Old English Dream" is a nice number in the same vein as "As Strong as Samson" and the song waould have fitted nicely into "Exotic Birds and Fruit". Among other Brooker numbers songs that deserve emphasis is "A Robe of Silk", which stem from the very early Procol Harum days - the song actually dates from the late 1960s.
On the soulful "The Blink of an Eye", Brooker sounds almost sounds Van Morrison, and the song could easily have been written by Morrison. The moving "The Emperor's New Clothes" is another of the album's highlights. Brooker is also the man behind a handful of solid blues-rockers, of which both "Shadow Boxed" and "This World is Rich" shine.
Fishers melodic style, as he is known for from early numbers like "Repent Walpurgis" and "Pilgrim's Progress" can be experienced on fine new numbers as "Fellow Traveler's" and the instrumental "Wisselklenzelnacht".
The new members contribute solidly to the group's tight sound, and especially guitarist Geoff Whitehorn in several cases is quite reminiscent of Robin Trower. A really beautiful album.