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The Moody Blues - Octave CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

2.74 | 169 ratings

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4 stars Please note that this review is for the 2009 remastered edition of "Octave".

I just stepped in a what? A steaming pile of slide zone you say? Here I go again, defending the indefensible...taking those crappy pseudo prog albums that most prog heads hate and speaking of them in glowing terms. What this entails is taking them in context of the artists' bodies of work and the times in which they were recorded, as well as how they have withstood the test of time. Picture if you will: the year was 1978, progressive rock was on life support, and the Moody Blues had been broken up for more than five have just entered the twi-slide zone.

So just what is up with "Octave", the Moody Blues' supposed "comeback" album? Some say that it is too pop and not "proggy" enough. This point is highly debatable. First of all, the Moody Blues were hardly the most progressive of bands to begin with, eschewing the long songs and unconventional time signatures of their peers in favor of shorter songs and more straight ahead song structure. Where the Moodies were progressive was with their psychedelic flourishes, which often came off as insincere or gimmicky, and their approach to vocal harmony, which was arguably their greatest strength and still evident on "Octave". In this regard, "Octave" may be stronger than "Seventh Sojourn". From the chanting vocals on "Stepping in a Slide Zone" to the melancholia of "The Day We Meet Again", the Moodies demonstrate that their voices are their strongest instruments.

In many ways "The Story in Your Eyes" and "I'm Just a Singer...", from "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" and "Seventh Sojourn" respectively, opened the door for the Moodies' more conventional rock arrangements found here, such as those on "I'll Be Level With You" and "Top Rank Suite". While not typical Moody Blues, they are still good songs. Where the Moody Blues demonstrate that they are really in top form are on ballads such as "Driftwood" and "Had to Fall in Love". Of course, detractors may say that these Justin Hayward compositions are which I can only say: "Nights in White Satin". They would not be the Moody Blues without the propensity toward sap. If the Moody Blues' catalog were a tree, it would be a Sugar Maple...OK? This is not a good enough reason to dismiss the musicianship and song writing on "Octave".

3 and a half stars (out of five).

Fenrispuppy | 4/5 |


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