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

MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY

The Move

 

Proto-Prog

3.51 | 41 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The fourth and final album MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY signified the end of THE MOVE as in the very same year of release in 1971, Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood were also recording the debut album by the Electric Light Orchestra which would debut in December 1971, a mere six months after the final MOVE album. Given that the three remaining MOVE members, Wood, Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan would be the core of the new ELO it's no wonder that with their sights on the new project that the final MOVE project was only taken as a contractual obligation which is exactly what it was.

MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY is a completely different beast than the previous MOVE albums. This one really sounds like the band morphing into the soon to be ELO with those unmistakable melodic grooves that are the clear signature sound of guitarist / vocalist Jeff Lynne. The band members have recalled that the album was a lot of fun to make because they weren't taking it too seriously. They simply explored any idea that fancied them and let it go wherever it led. Musically it is still very much steeped in the harder edged power pop that THE MOVE had become well known for only the album eschewed the more progressive touches on albums like 'Shazam!' and opted to follow in the footsteps of pop hits like 'Brontosaurus' from 'Looking On.'

This final chapter of THE MOVE also proved to be the most democratic of the bunch as it allowed all three band members to participate in the songwriting duties which gives the album the most diverse feel of all of them. The fourth musician bassist Rick Price is only credited as a session musician. There is also a clear indication of what the first ELO album would sound like as Roy Wood was already experimenting with his plethora of musical toys which included unorthodox rock instruments such as recorders, clarinet, bassoon as well as saxophones and his usual guitars and bass. This is most evident on tracks like 'It Wasn't My Idea To Dance,' while Lynne penned tracks like 'The Minister' prognosticate some of the future stylistic features of ELO's later career.

Also apparent is Lynne's fascination with The Beatles. Tracks like 'My Marge' are clear references to Paul McCartney's broadway influenced tap-dancing tunes like 'My Michelle' only sung with a goofy Ringo Starr voice. 'No Time' displays a clear John Lennon influence. Perhaps the funniest track on board is the country slide guitar drenched silly song 'Ben Crawley Steel Company.' In addition to the 60s Beatles flavors, the ELO tradition of implementing good old fashioned rock and roll into the heavier mixes has completely taken over at this point and although the debut ELO album went off in a strange direction, would be the main staple of the ELO sound beginning with the second release. 'Don't Mess Me Up' is the perfect faux Elvis Presley tribute. While the 'Ella James' track was released as a single it was quickly shelved as the Harvest label wanted to release only non-album singles.

As the final chapter of THE MOVE, this probably won't go down as the most remembered album of their career however even til the end the band retained popularity in its native UK. Even the members have stated they were just playing around but after all is said and done, it doesn't really need to be taken that seriously. MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY is another excellent album that crafts super-catchy pop hooks wrapped up in heavy guitar riffs, bizarre instrumental accompaniments and a sneak peak into the future world of what would become the Electric Light Orchestra. This is one of those albums that hits me differently depending on the mood i'm in but ultimately it comes off as nothing more than an excellent slice of early 70s power pop rock and that's good enough for me.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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