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The Move - Message From The Country CD (album) cover


The Move



3.52 | 52 ratings

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4 stars Message from the Country is no doubt The Move's best studio project considering that the material wasnt mostly cut from live recordings like Shazam or a collection of a year and a half's work like their debut. Its an album that showcases them at the peak of their musical creativity as they draw influence from a wide range of styles and genres. It also sees them moving in the direction of the ELO sound that the band would later morph into. On this album newcomer Jeff Lynne begins to showcase his progressive tendencies, however the band has yet to jettison Roy Wood who keeps the band grounded in the Psych/Pop Beatlesish melodies that were the band's mainstay for years.

The album opens with the title track, a mildly psychedelic hippie anthem thats get a bit of radio play these days. Guitar and bass feature prominently on this track along with some great Beach Boy type vocal harmonies from the group. I dont have a clue what the words mean but you could put this one on Pet Sounds and not find much difference. Ella James, the next track, is a pretty straight forward rocker, the most conventional on the album, nothing special. No Time, which comes next, is a lovely psych/pop ballad complete with more high (almost falsetto), perfect vocal harmonies acompanied by acoustic guitar and a lilting flute, a real highlight. Dont Mess Me Up is a 50's rock-a-billy tune with a great Elvis vocal impersonation. Side One closes with the fantastic blues-rocker Until Your Mama's Gone featuring the best guitar riffs on the album and a driving bass propelling the song along. So far nothing too progressive.

Side Two opens with the first proggy number, It Wasnt My Idea To Dance, a slow lumbering song that never sheds it rock sensibilities. This song has a very Middle Eastern fell to it as it begins with a turkish or gypsie sounding horn section. Once again the bass features prominently throughout with the horns returning between verses. You could easily find this type of song on the first ELO album. After 5 1/2 minutes the song's over after an extended fade out. Next is The Minister, a song that many accurately compare with Paperback Writer. Another driving rock track with some great vocal harmonies and the middle eastern horns making an apperence towards the end interacting with the main refrain. You can tell from the title that Ben Crawley Steel Company is more of a country track which, in truth it is. Here the band sound just like Johnny Cash. Im not a big fan, although it is well done. Words of Aaron is another prog/ELO track where the bass is again at the forefront along the piano. A long extension closes the song with nice interplay between horns, piano and bass. It fades before the drums return to finally close the song. The album closes with My Marge, a cute 30's pop tune that you could find on a Kinks album of the time.

So there you have it, these guys have covered alot of ground in +30 min, everything from Rock to Country, Blues and Prog. Personally, I think the album's weakness lies in the fact that they tried too much at once. As it stands Message From The Country has quite a bit of filler, good filler, but filler none the less. While not concentraing on playing one style to perfection, they made an album with alot of good but not perfect songs. Prog devotees may not cozy up to this one but if you have a wide musical palette you'll defiantly enjoy it as all told its a very entertaining record.

cohen34 | 4/5 |


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