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The Moody Blues - Seventh Sojourn CD (album) cover

SEVENTH SOJOURN

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

3.71 | 287 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album signified the closure of The Moody Blues' golden age, and what a closure it was. While the band's major asset was the good songwriting by its individual members melted in a unified vision for every album's repertoire, as opposed to pyrotechnics display (ELP), hyper-melodic expansions (Yes, genesis) or radical avantgarde (Henry Cow et al.), it didn't really need to create complex compositions in order to provide a pertinent portrait of their musical vision and exercice an important influence on a fraction of melodic prog bands (BJH being their most notorious pupil). Having said all that, Seventh Sojourn is one of their most elaborated albums, although this is not due to a reiteration of the sonic experiments tried on their master opus To Our Children's Children's Children, but a well-ordained smplification of the melodic ideas comprised in each track: therefore, the approach of the 5 Moodies at the creation of this album is closer in spirit to A Question of Balance. Regarding the compositional approach itself, this album reflects a further exploration of the spiritual candor exposed in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The fact that the Cahmberlaine replaces the mellotron explains why the keyboard orchestrations sound louder than ever before. The album kicks off with the pacifist anthem 'Lost in a Lost World', a mid-tempo tune that finds Pinder once again expressing his deepest concerns about the fate of mankind. The keyboard layers, the piano chords and the soprano sax and guitar washes are combined in a crucial atmosphere for the voca ldeliveries. As emotionally driven as the opening track but more seated on the romantic side of things, 'New Horizons' is your typical Hayward-penned ballad, actually one of his most brilliant compositions: the amalgamation of lead guitar and Chamberlain is a proper instrumental extension for the moving emotion inspired by Hayward's lyrics and singing. 'For My Lady' keeps on with the romantic vibe, only this time with a Celtic basis; the harmonium and tenor chorale bring things closer to a pirate song's structure. Ray Thomas really nailed it with this delicate, high-spirited love song.The album's first half ends with 'Isn't Life Strange?', arguably the best Lodge song ever: majestic and contempaltive, Lodge shows that Pinder is not the only spokesman for TMB's reflective facet. The clever use of flute and cello (augmented by jeyboards, of course) signals the colors for the verses, while choruses are effectively enhanced by the lead guitar phrases. The album's second half is not as great, but it also shows the Moodies' competencies as writers and performers. 'You and Me' is a pop-rock song whose uplifting mood seems to hide the seriousness of its anti-Vietnam war lyrics, while 'The Land of Make- Believe' brings a more naive aura, a manifestation of candorous hope and joi de vivre (the flute and celesta lines set the mood, as do the sweet vocal arrangements). 'When You're a Free Man' brings back Pinder's pessimistic view of the world (this time the subject being political prisoners): this is more greyish than the opening song, including an eerie multi-keyboard coda that stands in a sort of permanent fade- out. From this fade-out emerges the drum intro to 'I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock'n'Roll Band)', the catchy Lodge-penned single that had been released before this album but was including as its closing track. The rocking climax is a proper ending for this album, to be promoted on a long tour that would last until early 1974 (Japan gigs included).
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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