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

IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.82 | 279 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The next fundamental step in their evolution, the MOODY BLUES replaced the orchestra with the Mellotron. It may seem like a step backwards after the rich triumph of "Days", but the emphasis on the songs is greater without the homogenous symphonic soundtrack, which didn't quite capture the character of the band. So you could very well call this the first real MOODY BLUES album!

"The Lost Chord" is an ancient legend concerning a musician who finds a combination of tones that produces a sublime, transcendant effect, and then spends the rest of his life trying to recapture the sound. Oddly, a song version by Jimmy Durante was the initial inspiration for the band, and using OM for the answer revealed the trendy mystic hippie influence.

"Departure" starts the journey with spacy sounds and a spoken invocation; a bit less hellenic and more psychedelic than the previous album's "Lament", but still quite similar and serving the same purpose. These recitations are an inherent trademark of the band, so I guess we'll let it slide- it's over quickly, anyway. "Ride my See-Saw" is an essential acid rocker, similar to such 60s classics as THE BYRDS' "8 Miles High". The characteristic harmonies and mellotron background make this a classic MOODYs song, and there's also some tasty Hayward guitar work. "Dr. Livingston" is a quintessential Ray Thomas song, which means lighthearted, simple, naive, british, and fun. "House of Four Doors" is a gateway piece, providing medieval, baroque, romantic, and rock "doors". The various mysterious atmospheres throughout are evocative (though the individual passages are far too short), and the vocal harmonies on the surging chorus are beautiful. I could have done without the creaking sound effect, though. The final door leads to "Legend of a Mind" , which balances a pretty, simple melody with lyrics extolling the Guru of Acid. You may be sick of ol' Tim's name by the time this is over, but it's a nice period tune and full of excellent variations. Wakeman may beat Pinder on the virtuoso scale, but nobody can make the Mellotron work harder- check out those bends! "Voices in the Sky" is also quite pleasant, simple and laidback but with some of the same trademark Hayward vocal crests as "Nights in White Satin". "The Best Way to Travel" steps over the line into psychedelic pastiche, but "Visions of Paradise" sweeps you away with soft, flowing grace, and "The Actor" contrasts light bouncy verses with yearning, dramatic choruses, recalling "Tuesday Afternoon". To wrap up the album, we're given another spoken segment, "The Word" , which leads into the most blatant psychedelic indulgence on the album, "OM". Only if you've never heard "Within You, Without You" would you not make the comparison, and it fails to provide a satisfying closure to the album.

Ultimately, this is THE MOODY BLUES exploring their options and honing their skills by making an effort to 'do' psychedelia- rather than simply being their mind-expanding selves as on following albums. It's a good historical piece, a must have for fans of both the psychedelic genre and the band, and there are several moments of impressive beauty and light experimentation. Less devoted folks may want to look elsewhere, however, as this can easily sound facile, silly and pretentious if you're not in the mood. If you aren't interested by the album the first time you hear it, it's probably not going to grow on you; as with any of the band's releases, the naive yet grandiose psychedelic pop sound places it in its own territory on the progressive map.

James Lee | 3/5 |

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