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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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4 stars By the usual standards of The Moody Blues this is a scaled down album, featuring a slimline sound that doesn't rely too heavily on overdubbing. The reason for this was to enable them to faithfully reproduce the songs in a live setting. As such it was a bit of a one- off experiment as they reverted to type with a richly orchestrated sound on their next album. ''A Question of Balance'' was the fifth in the series of early concept albums that the band released. By this point the concepts were perhaps wearing a bit thin, with the links between the songs here seeming rather tenuous. Broadly speaking the album is concerned with the ideas of strife and harmony, as exemplified in the two songs that bookend the album. The opening track ''Question'' reflects the political conflict of the then ongoing Vietnam War, whereas the message of compassion for enemies in ''The Balance'' counteracts that conflict.

The Moodies abandoned their space themes and Eastern leanings for this album, and instead went for a fairly straightforward sound; there are even some mild hints at country music on Justin Hayward's ''It's Up To You''. The songs here make up the usual Moodies' concoction with each member contributing a couple of compositions. There's the ubiquitous John Lodge rocker (''Tortoise And The Hare''), a signature Hayward ballad (''Dawning Is The Day'') and some metaphysical musings by Mike Pinder on ''How Is It (We Are Here)''. Fortunately there are one or two real highlights to stop it from seeming to be a ''by the numbers'' album. The aforementioned ''Question'' is an undoubted Moodies' classic, while Pinder's ''Melancholy Man'' successfully recreates the spacey feel of some of the band's earlier work and is noteworthy for its use of a synthesizer. Ray Thomas makes a strong contribution to the album, not only through his superb flute-playing but also his songwriting. At times he can be guilty of being a bit twee but his ''And The Tide Rushes In'' features one of his finest and most personal lyrics: ''You keep looking for someone to tell your troubles to, I'll sit down and lend an ear but I'll hear nothing new''. Well, it touches me, and that in my view is the essence of The Moody Blues. Their music is spiritual without being religious or affected; the message here isn't just ''peace'' as in freedom from war but ''peace'' as in a deep sense of fulfilment. Overall this is a lovely soft-rock album, but its appeal to prog fans may be limited.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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