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The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.85 | 394 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album really is a treasure. To my mind it is much more of a transformation than was the previous album. What in 'Days of Future Passed' hinted at this?

'In Search of the Lost Chord' isn't quite a concept album. It isn't quite progressive either. Given it came out a year before KING CRIMSON'S debut, there was no template to follow. So THE MOODY BLUES simply made one of their own.

Here's how the album works. It is introduced by a spoken-word track, 'Departure', which almost disappears up its own pretentiousness - except for the laughter which makes you aware that despite the sedulous message - be nice to each other - they're not taking themselves completely seriously. There's another spoken-word track 'The Word' near the end to remind us the album has a point. And in between there is a continuous flow of music - one of the earlierst bands to adopt a seamless segue from one track to the next - written and sung by the various members of the group. The strength of this band is the variation they offer within their ethos. If JUSTIN HAYWARD, the clear outstanding vocalist, sung every track, the album would be far too cloying. They have taken a lead from THE BEATLES' mode of operating, with HAYWARD and LODGE the gentler, slightly less talented equivalents of LENNON and MCCARTNEY. Every album is a whole-group effort.

The wonder of THE MOODY BLUES is how they combined pop music that clearly appealed to the masses with thoughtful and challenging progressive music into a seamless whole, evoking many different emotions and moods. It's sometimes necessary to suspend one's cringe faculty when listening to them, especially with regard to their overly evangelistic message of love, but it's worth it.

HAYWARD'S ballads are generally the most commercial, and on this album 'Voices In The Sky' is the most well known single. He combines an exceptional pop sensibility with his beautiful, plaintive voice and lyrics that reach for the ineffable mystery of life. It's a formula, yes, but (in the 1970s at least) it is not overdone, as he is given at most two or three songs per album. 'The Actor' is simply glorious, very nearly as good as 'Nights of White Satin' from the previous album, and 'Vision of Paradise' is almost of the same quality. JOHN LODGE also writes commercial material, and he provides the single 'Ride My See-Saw' for this album, as well as the slightly annoying 'House of Four Doors', split into two parts, separated by another track (another MOODIES trick). His vocals are generally multi-tracked, and his tracks are closer to rock than HAYWARD'S ballads. RAY THOMAS provides whimsical material in the main (such as 'Dr Livingstone I Presume'), but outdoes himself on this album with 'Legend Of A Mind', a wonderful progressive track. Finally, MIKE PINDER, with his mellotron at the heart of THE MOODY BLUES sound, generally gets at least one chance to combine his classically-influenced brand of progressive music with his overly trite lyrics. 'The Best Way To Travel' is the first of these.

This is a pattern they repeated over the next few years, building up an enviable catalogue of eminently listenable and beautiful music with progressive sensibilities. To many a modern ear they now sound dated, but they were ahead of their time. This is the second of seven high-quality albums which should sit firmly in the collection of anyone interested in the music of the seventies.

russellk | 4/5 |


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