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The Moody Blues - On The Threshold Of A Dream  CD (album) cover

ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.72 | 246 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While "The Lost Chord" established the MOODY BLUES sound fundamentals with more than a nod to current psychedelic trends, this was the album that solidified their individual, classic sound. Discarding the sitars and pop celebrity references, they hone their songwriting skills and conceptual focus to create a characteristic blend of lysergic love songs and lush, enveloping textures.

Even the spoken intro element works better here, pitting a bureaucratic machine against a hipster for man's search for identity on "In the Beginning". Oddly, Ray and Justin seem to have traded roles slightly on the album; Hayward's "Lovely to see You" is the simple, bouncy tune whereas Thomas' "Dear Diary" is a melancholy "Day in the Life"- themed offering- the Fab Four influence is inescapable here, with Leslie-flitered vocals and a slightly bluesy piano touch. We then get variously effective love songs: "Send Me No Wine" is almost madrigal in theme but folk-rock in flavor; the pleasant but forgettable "To Share Our Love" has a more driving 60s rock style; "So Deep Within You" is more groovy and also slightly creepy with its fumbling double-entendre lyrics; "Never Comes the Day" is the best of the four, with pretty verses and a rousing, anthemic chorus. "Lazy Day" is the other half of the "Dear Diary" bookend, its homey Ray Thomas vibe masking a bourgeois lament.

Though the preceding songs stayed comfortably in Moody Pop territory, they saved the best for last: the mighty journey of the rest of the album. "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" strikes a pastoral, Arthurian pose, and "The Dream" is full of seasonal rebirth imagery, but "The Voyage" is the intended opus of the album; a brave effort in musical exploration that pushes Pinder's Mellotron expertise to amazing levels of symphonic emulation, bookended sweetly by "Have You Heard", a lovely affirmation and conclusion to the loose tale.

In my opinion, this is the first uniquely MOODY BLUES album- "Days" is essential, of course, but is also very much a collaboration. While they would have bigger hits and explore deeper realms, "On the Threshold of a Dream" is an excellent representation of the band and a pleasant voyage to drift away on. Don't bother preparing yourself for a life-changing experience; it's neither challenging to listen to nor 'ahead of its time'. What the MOODY BLUES give us is warm, smooth soundscapes and 60s pop-rock song forms, comfortable exploration, layered simplicity and naive pretentiousness. Oh, and the first in a series of lovely gatefoldk album covers- best seen on the original vinyl, of course.

James Lee | 4/5 |

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