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The Moody Blues - Seventh Sojourn CD (album) cover

SEVENTH SOJOURN

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.65 | 183 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The last album of the "classic seven", one can definitely hear that this was a band in need of some time off. For one thing, the demands of releasing seven elaborate, original albums in five years had the individual members emotionally and creatively exhausted. This led to definite problems- the album has a dense, dark feeling even in the more upbeat offerings- but also to some rare moments of ragged beauty that the previous releases had smoothed out.

"Lost in a Lost World" is not one of my favorites- the despairing vocal and bluesy embellishments combine with a rhythm that rides the line between driving and plodding. The overall feel sounds more like a culmination than an opening song, and one may be excused for thinking that they got too deep too soon. Luckily, "New Horizons" allows Justin Hayward to bring some upbeat rock into the gloom- on this song, and "Land of Make Believe" on the second side, he demonstrates a perfect 70s light rock sensibility in the style of such artists as Dan Fogelburg or America. Good ol' Ray Thomas also delivers another simple, pretty, naive tune in "For My Lady", and his "You and Me" is a pleasant, optimistic 60s pop rocker. "Isn't Life Strange" is almost reason enough to own this album as this is what the band does best- from the tender, contemplative verse to the absolutely huge chorus, with just enough raggedness to really emphasize the emotional quality. Justin's fuzzy lead guitar underscores the vast harmonies perfectly; for my money, this version has a slight rawness that works better than subsequent orchestrally-enchanced versions. "When You're a Free Man" returns to the drowning Lodge darkness of the opening track, and again a rocker has to save the day- and what a rocker! "I'm Just a Singer" is a classic, managing to make the dark themes end in an energetic, symphonic protest rather than a dirge. I'm also secretly convinced that Jeff Lynne kept this particular song in mind while developing ELO's sound (their debut album came out the same year).

There's not even a loose attempt at a concept here, but ironically the album as a whole holds together as well if not better than previous releases due to the inherent distress every song (and even the bleak album cover) revealed. It was a respectable album to go out on; although their (relative) originality was running dry, the quality of the songs themselves hadn't slipped much since "Threshold". If you like the Moody's 'light-prog' sound, this album is only a slight departure, and contains at least two essential songs.

James Lee | 3/5 |

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