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The Moody Blues

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The Moody Blues Sur La Mer album cover
2.44 | 100 ratings | 8 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Know You're Out There Somewhere (6:33)
2. Want To Be With You (4:48)
3. River Of Endless Love (4:45)
4. No More Lies (5:13)
5. Here Comes The Weekend (4:13)
6. Vintage Wine (3:38)
7. Breaking Point (4:56)
8. Miracle (4:56)
9. Love Is On The Run (5:00)
10. Deep (6:50)

Total time 50:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Justin Hayward / guitars, keyboards, drum sequencing, vocals
- Patrick Moraz / keyboards
- John Lodge / bass, keyboards, drum sequencing, vocals
- Graeme Edge / acoustic drums

- Tony Visconti / programming, producer

Releases information

Artwork: Nicolas De Staël

LP Polydor ‎- 422 835 756-1 (1988, US)

CD Polydor ‎- 835 756-2 (1988, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE MOODY BLUES Sur La Mer Music

THE MOODY BLUES Sur La Mer ratings distribution

(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(11%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

THE MOODY BLUES Sur La Mer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Ray Thomas - lost at sea?

With the flow of albums from the Moody Blues rapidly drying up, this 1988 album at least reassured us that they still had it.

The compete absence of Ray Thomas from the album is a disappointment. On previous albums his vocal backing, lead vocal on at least one track and occasional flute gave them a completeness which is perhaps missing here.

"Sur la mer" is very much a Hayward and Lodge album. Patrick Moraz is still present, but his contribution is to the overall sound, with virtually nothing up front at all from him.

The quality of the tracks is generally very good. The lead track, "I know you're out there somewhere" mirrors the gently rocking opening tracks to most of their albums, and stands as a classic MB song. "No more lies" is probably the best track, being a slower song in the style of "Melancholy man".

There are a few weaker tracks such a "Miracle" and "Breaking point", which are by-the-numbers MB songs, but in all a creditable Moody Blues album. Pity about the rather uninspired title and cover painting though.

Review by daveconn
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.
Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars While in the 80s with rare exceptions classic prog-rock bands were hibernating or adhering to some poisonous trend, the MOODY BLUES continued to make their work, not really progressive but still neat, audible, pleasant. 'Sur La Mer' was another step in the journey of this magnificent band, although only small tints of prog may be gathered: keyboard effects, exquisite tunes, harmonic vocals, but check out: no concessions to the last fashion, to the ephemeral and short-lived, simply they were in their mood.

Seeing from today's perspective it's easy to despise MB for their poppish line adopted from mid-70s on but for those who lived the 80s mainly, each MB album meant a kind of luminescence (even a bit opaque) in the prog universe. It's more than time to stop the unfairness toward the MOODY BLUES, if they are/were pop (and surely they are/were) they did with the highest quality and sincerity and also displayed some progressive trends happily copied by several other bands.

'I know you're out there somewhere' is one of the most known MB songs - a fine tune breathed with a quasi- prog arrangement, very catchy and appreciable. There's an omnipresent sorrow trespassing the entire track which is more noticeable in the song's middle section.

'Want to be with you', a typical balladesque MB song has fine vocals and some nice synth and guitar riffs. Romantic but not cheesy.

'River of endless love' begins very prog but soon pop tunes hold sway spoiling a bit what should be a great song, the following track 'No more lies' extends the pop atmosphere but much more balanced and agreeable. 'Here comes the weekend' is another promising track (if seen from its intro) but in the end the promises fail.

'Vintage wine' is the weakest song here while the next track, 'Breaking point' with its psychedelic approach (my God, it's the 80s, it's yuppie time!) is great and could be better exploited in order to delight anxious progressive ears. 'Miracle' shows the band raiding into odd realms quite different than the usual ones and the result is poor.

'Love is on the run' is hearable but shows no special feature and 'Deep', the last track, closes the album in a fair manner - brilliant prog passages, fine lyrics, great musicianship, superb vocals, probably the best "Sur La Mer" track.

Doubtless, an enjoyable work and although I like it I'm quite sure it's not essential. Total: 3.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars There's definitely nothing to stop the Moodies.they are still touring these days (on April 1st, they played at the "Hard Rock Café" in Orlando (no April fools, it is on their web site !).

I hope for the audience that they played their old classic, because from this soft-pop record, there is little to remember (again).

It has been a while that one does not reason in terms of highlights or brilliant music when talking about the Moodies. And it is still the case with this album. Some fine vocal harmonies ("Want To Be With You"), or a pop feeling ("I Know You're Out There Somewhere"). In some aspect, the band gets closer to his origins so far.

Lots of "sequencing and programming" which I don't praise too much to say the least. Synthetic music is not really mine. The disco / synth pop approach seem to have been evacuated during several songs. But alas not for all of them. The disgusting atmosphere strikes back with "River of Endless Love". I bet you! They would have better sink into the river instead.

Another ballad is welcome to digest this awful track. But, once again, "No More Lies" is just an average and mellow songs like they have written plenty (often better). Not bad while you are doing something else. One can hardly concentrate on such music. At least, I can't. Typical supermarket stuff. Not to disturb anybody.

The band could never convinced me while trying to "rock". Not even in their golden era. Not to speak about "Here Comes the Weekend". I am experiencing this as I write (the week-end stuff, I mean). Brass, dislocated beat. Poor. You know which key to hit, I guess.

And to believe that this album is considered as a masterpiece by one reviewer just leaves me speechless. And I guess it is a good idea to get a good glass of wine to endure the next one: "Vintage Wine". Of the same caliber of their weakest tunes on several previous albums. Another painful experience. I am afraid that my rating won't be very high.

Unlike its title (they really must do it on purpose), "Miracle" is closer to the disaster. Disastrous, that's the word. This album is another disastrous one. Nothing to do with prog of course. If you would except the first two songs there is hardly anything interesting. But a single would have been sufficient. The funiest is the closing number "Deep". Especially the lyrics : "I wanna go deep"! Here you are, by no doubt!

The rating? Well, I guess that the usual star is fully deserved for this insipid and boring album.

Review by Einsetumadur
1 stars 2/15P.: The Moodies hit rock bottom and get rid of everything they were renowned for. Even "Keys of the Kingdom" is better because it's catchier!

Simply a short warning since I don't want to write a track-by-track review about *this* album: this is no art-pop or at least vaguely intense pop music. I like some of the late-80s pieces by Genesis, I listen to certain pieces by Nelly Furtado and David Guetta and even the widely detested 1983 album "The Present" by The Moody Blues is a nearly excellent album, in my opinion.

But this album is only one thing: a leftover of a band formerly consisting of five members, now reduced to mainly two members who write commercial pop tunes and record them with a drum machine, a guitar, a bass guitar and many squeaky keyboards. Here Comes The Weekend is embarassing all over - the text deals with the fact that the speaker waits for Friday night because then he can go partying. John Lodge, just for the record, was 43 years old when he composed this song. And by the way, didn't Rebecca Black also deal with this topic in her song "Friday"? Vintage Wine is a country pop tune in which Hayward talks about the good old 1960s, regaling on memories of the past. And the music? Worse than generic, a mediocre melody, a standard country chord progression. There is simply no good composition here, apart from parts of the fairly haunting River of Endless Love (including some samples which should sound like Mellotron choir) and the slightly enjoyable opener I Know You're Out There Somewhere. I wouldn't mind the lyrics being bad, many lyrics are, but the music is 100% bland, so there's nothing going on during these 51 minutes. This album is faceless pop all over and the only thing I can do is to warn everyone that you most certainly don't need this record in any way. And that's sad since the Moody Blues concert recordings from the mid-80s emit such a stirring power thanks to the keyboard pyrotechnics by Patrick Moraz. But anyway: avoid this one, even collectors should think thrice whether to buy a good bottle of vintage wine or listening to Justin Hayward sighing at it.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars Once again Ray Thomas is missing from a Tony Visconti-produced Moodies album, this time because he was having 'health problems'. Pretty lengthy health issue given it apparently lasted about five years but who knows, maybe that was the actual reason.

Either way this is more of the same with Justin Hayward serving up his smooth, hip crooning and John Lodge partnering to crank out MTV-approved adult contemporary gloss like an older and British version of Hall & Oates. Good show mates (or maybe that's an Australian expression, not sure).

Surprisingly 'Sur la Mer' gave the band their thirteenth (and final) Top-40 single in the U.S., and the album sold respectably although try as I might I can't even remember this thing coming out in 1988. Probably got buried behind a Marillion album in the record store and I missed it. Oh well, I've somehow survived the loss.

I'm not completely sure why but this album doesn't annoy me quite as much as 'The Other Side of Life' does even though besides Justin Hayward's voice there is nothing that sounds remotely like the Moody Blues, or even like symphonic rock, or even like good music. There's a little bit of saxophone on "River of Endless Love" so that's kind of nice, but who knows what's real anymore - that might be a digital figment of my imagination like the drums on the last album were. Maybe my expectations have been lowered, or maybe I just don't care anymore, but this album sounds pretty decent even though it has very little in the way of substance or depth. In the end Hayward's voice and Lodge's backing still evoke that slightly nostalgic and melancholy feeling that the finest Moodies music always has. That counts for something I suppose. Polydor certainly thought so since they continued to crank this trot this stuff out every few years or so long after the band ceased to be a relevant creative force. Nostalgia sells after all, as the Top-40 rating of the album proved once again.

Other than minor flash of "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" there isn't much of interest here. "Here Comes the Weekend" is as vapid as its title suggests, and "Breaking Point" sounds like a Eurovision entry with its programmed drums and warbling synth tracks. There are a couple of mildly decent songs including the subtle "Love is on the Run" and a throwback-sounding "Vintage Wine" from Hayward, but other than that the rest has long been resigned to forgotten eighties history.

The band would make one more attempt at something memorable once the eighties were over with 'Keys of the Kingdom' before giving up all pretense at being a proper band, but they hadn't quite made it there when this one was recorded. I guess two stars are about right, but I certainly wouldn't suggest you rush right out and buy this one anytime soon. Save it for one of those days when you feel like being reminded just how shallow and forgettable most music released between 1979 and 1989 really was. Just in case that day ever comes.


Latest members reviews

3 stars Now I am here again with my review of a Moody Blues' album which I think I liked, yes I did. Their last record "The other side of life" was a disappointment" but after two years it was like the band was more comportable with their own music again. No it wasn't progressive rock, but it had the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1115219) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Thursday, January 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While the last album was a ready made pop hit, Sur La Mer begins a deviation away from the mainstream. In fact, Sur La Mer is an album of risks and long shots. Justin Hayward takes the drivers seat, taking over a lot of the keyboard duties from Patrick Moraz, and starts getting back to basics, ... (read more)

Report this review (#281740) | Posted by Brendan | Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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