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The Moody Blues - Long Distance Voyager CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.32 | 215 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars And so THE MOODY BLUES return with this epic album, having spent three years licking their wounds after the disaster that was 'Octave'. MIKE PINDER, spare part that he had become, had walked the plank, and PATRICK MORAZ hired in his place. Great choice.

His impact on THE MOODY BLUES cannot be overstated. Their sound is simply different: so lush, so polished, so finely wrought, that many critics dismiss this phase of the MOODIES' career as AOR baby food. Maybe it is, but it is so gorgeous I find myself eating can after can of it. Multilayered synths burbling, rising, sighing, soaring and falling behind some of the prettiest, strongest pop you're likely to hear.

Oddly, the album can be summed up by the cover. Such detail, with a little surprise for those who examine it closely. Rich, strongly coloured, an organic whole.

Stop right now if you're a prog purist. Don't buy this record, please, you'll be wasting your money and you'll give it one star. It doesn't sound progressive, and I'm not going to insult your intelligence by arguing that it belongs on this site. Were this the only album this band issued, you'd not find them listed here. But if you've a broader mind, if you're a collector and lover of beautiful things, carry on reading.

'The Voice' is a HAYWARD song and begins wth a MORAZ introduction that tells us something new is on the MOODIES' horizon. Yes, it did well in the charts, but this is not, and has never been, a negative thing. 'Talking Out Of Turn' is simply the best thing JOHN LODGE ever did, a thousand layers of music stengthening the man's reedy voice, HAYWARD'S guitar finally sparkling like we all knew it could. A splendid orchestral finale so slick you slip over listening to it. Yeah, I know 'Gemini Dream' is disco a la eighties, but it's so much better than the half-hearted LODGE rockers of the 1970s. So you don't like the sound of eighties pop? Take the prejudice out of your ears; you'll hear better. And what a beauty 'In My World' is: a four-minute HAYWARD ballad with a three- minute building outro of the very highest quality. Oh boy, don't I love it when a band I thought dead and buried climb out of their grave and do something better than before. I have tears in my eyes just remembering how I felt when I first listened to this.

Side Two doesn't quite measure up to Side One. Still, there's not a single duff track here, the first time in twelve years one could say that about a MOODY BLUES album. Three more than competent songs follow, and it's only when the last three tracks begin that you realise you've heard nothing from RAY THOMAS. PINDER is gone, and HAYWARD and LODGE do all the work - until the superb suite that closes the album. Incisive, deep and self-revelatory, these songs are the definitive statement of this talented man's musical life.

I'd love to give this album five stars, but in all conscience I can't do that on a progressive rock site. It's an album that divides the fans, bemuses onlookers and angers the critics, but it represents to me some of the best output from this band. You'll love it or loathe it, depending on your tolerance for music from this period. Reading reviews from albums released during the eighties, I'd guess that most of you will loathe it. Me, I'll just shrug my shoulders and get on with listening to it again.

russellk | 4/5 |


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