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The Moody Blues - Sur la mer CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

2.42 | 101 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A modernization of THE MOODIES, with TONY "busy fingers" VISCONTI at the boards and RAY THOMAS in absentia. To their credit, JUSTIN HAYWARD and JOHN LODGE don't let the new production environment impact their songwriting or vision, delivering wistful and sometimes epic portraits of a man looking for love and meaning in life. PATRICK MORAZ, who would leave by the back door after this album, shines in these surroundings, returning from the shadows of THE PRESENT. His keyboards prop up these simple ballads, giving them substance and resonance, while the rest of the band takes a step back musically (though they were never a "flashy chops" act). Personally, I enjoy "Sur La Mer" more than I expected to; the melodies are occasionally gorgeous and seldom less than pretty, the vocals subdued but in balance with the arrangements around them, the modern effects actually refreshing at times. In fact, the programming on "Deep" finds THE MOODIES making a move on GENESIS' "Mama". "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" is the standout track, following a strategy of strong opening drives begun with "The Voice" and "Your Wildest Dreams." "Sur La Mer" doesn't really have a second single on it; "No More Lies" is pleasant enough, but it just doesn't grab your attention the way a single should. If the hits are missing, "Sur La Mer" makes up for it with smooth sailing from beginning to end. The lyrics are nothing to write home about, but the melodies are graceful, the arrangements active and interesting (thanks mostly to MORAZ and VISCONTI), and the final product is unmistakeably THE MOODIES'. It doesn't warrant the heroes' welcome of Long Distance Voyager, but "Sur La Mer" finds the band safely in port with another pleasant adventure to boast of.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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