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The Moody Blues - A Question of Balance CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.52 | 307 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Okay, it's another one. I say this with love and respect, but there's really not all that much difference between the latter five of the "classic seven" MOODY BLUES albums. If you liked "On the Threshold" and "To Our Children's", you'll probably like this one too. The band made an attempt here to get back to songs that they could play live, with minimal overdubs, and the result is some tighter, more focused material- but only relatively.

"Question" is an unquestionable classic, and demonstrates all the best aspects of the band. It rocks and then croons, there's those trademark harmonies, smooth lead vocals by Justin, and lyrics that combine romantic love and cosmic contemplation. "How is It (We Are Here)?" is a more mysterious sonic atmosphere, but the ecological message is loud and clear. "And the Tide Rushes In" is a simple, gracefully operatic tune in the typical Ray Thomas style. "Don't you Feel Small?" has a very 60s feel, like it could have been on "Lost Chord", and a spooky spoken unison. "Tortoise and the Hare" is a psychedelic nursery rhyme with some mysterious twists to the music and lyrics. "It's up to You" is a nice classic rocker, in characteristic Hayward guitar/vocal style, as is the more acoustic "Dawning is the Day"; "Minstrel Song" is a fun pastoral hippie chant not too far from the Beatles' "All You Need is Love". The oddball on the album is "Melancholy Man", which fans either seem to love or hate. Though Pinder's lyrics aren't as dark as they would seem, the funeral march feeling is quite a contrast to the bouncier nature of the rest of the album. "The Balance", on the other hand, summarizes the loose concept of the album with one of the finer spoken pieces of the bands' career, almost a gospel parable lauding compassion and understanding. The refrain is also classic, presaging "Isn't Life Strange".

So there it is: if you like any classic MOODY BLUES album, there's nothing to stop you from liking this one. "Question of Balance" has its higher and lower moments, but the band maintains a pretty even level of quality from "Threshold" to "Sojourn", and this definitely will not disappoint. While this is undoubtedly the 'easy listening' of classic prog, there's plenty of emotion and dedication and a wide range of smooth-rock 60s musical textures.

James Lee | 3/5 |


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