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The Moody Blues - The Present CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.02 | 115 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I hadn't listened to this in many years, an album which, I think, stands up quite well and is certainly better than many of the more disparaging reviews it has received.

What you will not get is pure prog from this album. Instead this is The Moodies, a band who always crossed the boundary between pop and prog anyway, in full blown 1980's mode. If you hated all things musical in that decade, this one will not persuade you otherwise. If, however, you appreciate well written and well performed pop/rock/prog crossover music, this one has plenty to please you.

The opening track, Blue World, is a rollicking track in the finest tradition of the band, and a great way to open proceedings.

Going Nowhere is a marvellous track, featuring Ray Thomas on lead vocal. Patrick Moraz, who was to leave the band under a massive cloud, shines on this.

For pure prog fans, the most bitter disappointment is that the wonderful instrumental, Hole In The World, only lasts just short of two minutes. The band could have done so much more with this track, and maybe providing the following sequed track Under My Feet with more flesh to beef up what is undoubtedly a brilliantly performed piece of music, but ultimately a little shallow.

The star vocally, as throughout the band's lengthy career, is the gold tonsiled Justin Hayward, and he shines on Running Water, a wonderfully melancholic track which moves the band to their earlier work, with modern production values and a superb keyboard backdrop by Moraz to augment.

My favourite track, though, is another Thomas piece, the woefully short I Am, full of wondering flute, eastern promise, and symphonic vocals, and, again, a track which really should have been developed far more in terms of length and execution. Instead, to follow, we get Sorry, which, to these ears, returns Thomas to the worse of the 1970's music of his which has, in my opinion, dated so terribly in the intervening years.

Elsewhere, what we have is decent pop/rock, the highlight of which is Sitting At The Wheel, an enjoyable romp.

By 1983, this band really didn't give two hoots what critics threw at them. They had made a fortune (the stockbroker's rock band being the official custard pie to chuck at them), and were still selling out relatively large venues. However, with The Present, as with preceding albums post-Pinter, this was the sound of a band still striving to create new, and relevant, music.

Regrettably, it was often as much miss as hit. Three stars for this. A good album which really could, and should, have been much better.

lazland | 3/5 |


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