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The Moody Blues - The Present CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.03 | 127 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars After a disastrous experience with the most recent post-Pinder album, Strange Times, I was wary of trying another album outside the "Classic Seven". However, The Present proved to be a treasure in disguise. If you are only used to the Classic Seven, or typically dislike 80s music, you may have a hard time making the adjustment, but with effort, The Present becomes very likeable indeed.

Nothing about The Present is as it appears. Particularly difficult to get used to are the keyboards of the 80s--at the beginning of most songs, you may even be appalled by the strange sounds that were once at the cutting edge of synth technology, but as the songs get going, you start to appreciate that like Mike Pinder working with the cranky Mellotron, PAT MORAZ is doing the best he can with what he has. To his credit, he creates an ethereal sound that fits the futuristic space motif in the album's artwork. His senses of melody and placement are wonderful, and once past the initial adjustment, you'll hardly want each song to end.

Vocally, the MOODY BLUES are in fine form, even if some of their styles seem atypical of them. Still, there are instances of the old, beautiful harmonies. Also, "Blue World" has the type of JUSTIN HAYWARD singing found on the excellent "English Sunset", one of the few superb tracks from Strange Times. RAY THOMAS in particular is in fine form, and participates on three of ten tracks (writing two, singing on GRAEME EDGE's contribution), and the short track "I Am" is particularly stunning--something I could play over and over and never get sick of. His magnificent, Broadwayesque vocals are amazing, even if much louder than usual.

As on the Classic Seven albums, some of the songs flow directly into each other, creating the true MOODY BLUES sonic experience. Some of the titles even indicate it. The two most notable sets are JOHN LODGE's "Hole in the World"/"Under My Feet" (even musically unified), and RAY THOMAS' "I Am"/"Sorry". In terms of guitar, this actually seems to be one of HAYWARD's best efforts. Overall, although the album doesn't make the smoothest transition to the 21st century, it is still a solid effort that should be in every MOODY BLUES fan's collection. I would not, however, recommend it for the more casual fan.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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