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The Moody Blues - Seventh Sojourn CD (album) cover


The Moody Blues


Crossover Prog

3.71 | 286 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars While the Moodys were often accused of conceptual preciousness and pretentiousness, and their spoken introductions advanced as proof of this quality, it would seem like they had tongue firmly in cheek rather than foot in mouth. By all accounts, "Seventh Sojourn" was done at a time when the band weren't having much fun at all, and they probably had little taste for faux pomposity. But the many critics who have savaged the Moody Blues over the years have already had their say, and now it's my turn. Whether the group was going thru the motions or not by this point, it remains that the last of the seven classic albums is yet another magnificent team effort.

The album is launched by a brief fade in, into one of Michael Pinder's most lushly depressive movements, "Lost in a Lost World". While lacking the range and degree of experimentation of "My Song" and the clarity of expression of "Melancholy Man", it remains a powerful opening. New Horizons is one of Hayward's most enduring melodies, a near perfect ballad with a touching chorus and a gripping solo, all awash in mellotron(Chamberlain). Ray Thomas is probably my least favourite vocalist and composer from the Moodys, but "For My Lady" is a pretty folk song without some of the trifling embellishments that characterize many of his contributions. The accordion and the imaginative backing vocals at the finish are among the highlights. The two hits on the album are both written by John Lodge and feature real strings, but are otherwise dramatically different. "Isn't Life Strange" is a slightly twee gently orchestrated tune that is highlighted by the band's trademark harmonies in the chorus, while "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band" is an incessant rocker that hints at some of the pressures and disillusionment that Lodge and his bandmates may have been experiencing. It seems clear to me that Electric Light Orchestra, for all their Beatle-esque pretensions, were heavily influenced by this song, but let's not hold that against the Moodys.

Elsewhere, Hayward and Edge combine for a more melodic uptempo number, "You and Me", which bests similar tunes like It's Up to You that had appeared earlier, while "Land of Make Believe" pushes beyond it's sing songy verses into a variety of exercises that would seem to have formed the blueprint for the Bluejays (Hayward and Lodge) album. "When You're a Free Man" is another morose Pinder song that aches with longing and nearly abandoned hope.

While "Seventh Sojourn" clearly represents the end of the road of sorts, in adversity the Moodys produced one of their finest and most cohesive soundscapes, even if this seems less of a concept album than any of the prior six. It could be argued that the band's legacy would have been better served if this album had remained the group's final resting place.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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