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The Moody Blues - The Present CD (album) cover

THE PRESENT

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.02 | 115 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Daybreak

The Moodies eleventh album "The Present" was released with the wind of "Long Distance Voyager" at its back. Patrick Moraz was now settled in and the band had now successfully reinvented itself for a new fan base, a new decade, and a streamlined new 80s art pop sound. My perception back in the day was that this was a pretty weak effort but I no longer believe that. With the benefit of some hindsight I think the Moodies began the 80s with more mature and timeless material than some of their more acclaimed prog peers who shall remain nameless. Call it art rock if you need to-whatever gets you through the night. I for one am enjoying the Moodies more than I ever used to. I do take issue with some of the production choices of the time, the programmed drum sounds and the economical production choices. But the uplifting spirit of the band members and the catchy qualities of the music make The Present another very enjoyable listening experience. The arrangements are really quite lush and inviting in typical Moody fashion despite being so much more "commercial" than their early material. The mix of Hayward's velvety voice with Moraz's more fully realized contributions yield great success in presentation.

The opening selections "Blue World" and "Meet Me Halfway" tick all the boxes that were so successful on LDV while pulling in the vibe of the famous Parrish painting that is used (if modified) on the album cover. Catchy choruses with lovely harmonies and tasteful guitar parts. Ray Thomas delivers his usual beautiful contributions, if not quite as flamboyant as before, on "Going Nowhere" vocals and on this own closing piece "Sorry", which features a cool flute intro. Side two is even more succulent with some very solid Lodge/Hayward tracks. "It's Cold Outside" is so typical Hayward, very upbeat and filled with the kind of optimism he has expressed in later years. Same with "Running Water" which moves me with its lyrics of hope and love, again, very tasteful lead guitar and keyboard background to Hayward's smooth vocal. I'll be honest and admit there is that cynical streak buried in me which could give this album one star and rip it for its disposition and sweetness, but I can't do it. I'm not that person anymore. I enjoy The Present nearly as much as Long Distance Voyager and the band were on a bit of a roll again.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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