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The Moody Blues - Octave CD (album) cover

OCTAVE

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

2.69 | 103 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I'm not entirely sure why THE MOODY BLUES thought they ought to make this album. The late seventies were dominated by punk and disco, and the AOR of the 1980s, which they exploited with a vengeance, had not yet arrived. I do know they were not happy with the result, and neither am I.

The problem with this record is simple. After six years apart, coming together led inevitably to recapture the indefinable magic they once shared, to rewrite 'Seventh Sojourn' with modern instruments and production techniques. The result, inevitably, was failure. Far better to assess what they had in 1978 and work around that.

So we bein where we left off six years earlier, with a JOHN LODGE rocker. I really don't think it was advisable to have 'slide' in the first song's title, lads. This is actually one of LODGE'S stronger efforts: to my mind he became the mainstay of the band in the 1980s, and his development is easy to see here. Still don't like it much though. RAY THOMAS gets two songs, the interesting 'Under Moonshine' and the poor 'I'm Your Man': the latter is dispensable. Wisely, MIKE PINDER gets only one, the excrable 'One Step Into The Light', a New Age manual set to music. Preach it, Mike, just not at me.

But what drags this album down is JUSTIN HAYWARD'S substandard efforts. Normally he could be relied on for two or three shining gems per album: here we get one, the glorious, understated 'Driftwood'. 'Had To Fall In Love' is acceptable, but 'Top Rank Suite' is appalling. Which one of them thought this was a good idea? 'The Day We Meet Again' is actually quite progressive, but it's simply overwrought. Four JH songs, and at least two too many. Time waits for no one, Justin, not even you. Fortunately, he would redeem himself on the delicious 'Long Distance Voyager', which followed this album.

The rest of the songs are forgettable. I'd be hard pressed to hum them even though I've listened to the album dozens of times. And, in many respects, the same can be said of the album as a whole. Apart from a couple of tracks - well, actually only 'Driftwood' - this adds nothing to the MOODIES' canon. Buy the Classic Seven if you're a lover of great tunes leavened with progressive sensibilities, but give this album a miss. Only for collectors and fans like me.

russellk | 2/5 |

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