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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Moody Blues move ever nearer the middle of that road., 20 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Present (Audio CD)
The Moody Blues were never going to be as good once quasi - mystic mellotron noodler Mike Pinder left the band. For a start they lost one of their strongest song writers and replaced him with bouffant topped knob twiddler Patrick Moraz who contributed...well lots of knob twiddling I suppose. Still the Present is by no means a bad album . Its just not up there with the bands best.
Released in 1983 it's the second album to feature Moraz after errr the other one Long Distance Voyager, and the album see's the band embrace many of the significant aspects of the times with the lush synth textures, plump bass lines and shiny production courtesy of Pip Williams . Lest this terrify any fans of the Moody Blues earlier work not familiar with this album there are still lots of crystal clear chords wonderful vocals and terrific songs .
"Blue World " with it's wavering keyboard lines and squelchy electronic bass spine may have ,at the time signalled a brave step into the future ( or the present !) for the band but the plea from Justin Hayward ( in fine voice as ever ) for a world in which everyone cares more for their fellow man ( or woman ) is a classic Moody's theme . Indeed the first four tracks of this album are great. "Sitting At The Wheel " is John Lodge in typical rocker mode and goes with a real swing led by a zesty keyboard melody and Graeme Edges "Going Nowhere " once again signifies him as an under-rated contributor to the bands cannon of songs. Best of all Is "Meet Me Halfway " a Hayward /Lodge collaboration with wonderful vocal interplay and that irresistible aching lamenting quality of all the best Moody Blue tracks
The Hayward ballads "Cold Outside Of Your Heart " and "Running Water " are typically lovely , the more rudimentary pop of "Under My Feet " is thoroughly enjoyable and the Ray Thomas ballad "Sorry " is cheesy MOR but classy cheesy MOR. The military percussion led "Hole In The World " is just odd and "I Am" is the obligatory Thomas track that makes you wonder how it ever got on the album .
The Present like Long Distance Voyager before it is an album that starts very strongly and then tails off towards the end . Like another reviewer points out it's pure MOR but it's no where near as bad that reviewer makes out. Like any genre of music , some is good ,some bad ,some hovering in-between .This is mostly quality MOR. Like a huge comfortable pillow smelling very faintly of some exotic herb. The loss of Mike Pinder certainly robs the band of his contemplative moody mellotron tones but the sound while more contemporary than what has gone before still has that reassuring richness and effulgence of melody without being too trite or toe curling .Well....for the most part anyway.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jul 2010 22:00:00 BDT
A. Peers says:
russell clarke praises the band while bemoaning the leaving of mike pinder (who is not in the same street as justin and john when it comes to song writing) and slagging patrick moraz. grow up you self appointed whinger, they are STILL the moody blues for goodness sake! the era of the superb concept album has gone, now we are hearing the great sound of a brilliant rock and roll band playing all their own music.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2010 17:36:21 BDT
Glad to see that A.Peers has embraced the Moody Blues consistent plea's for universal love & harmony .
Anyway in answer to your self appointed whinging while Mike Pinder was not as prolific a song writer as Justin & John he was every bit as good but i think i make it clear that it's more his mellotron i miss than anything, it being such an integral part of the classic Moody Blues sound.
And since when prior to this album did they not play all their own music? At least we agree they are a great band though. I'm off now to do some growing up .

Posted on 1 Jun 2011 17:02:22 BDT
Thank you Russell for a great review. But in fairness to Hole in the World and I Am, these are the tracks that echo the concept album formula of classic Moody Blues albums, and I feel they are essential to the solidity of The Present. Ray Thomas deserves credit for his excellent vocal on Edge's Going Nowhere, and, let's be honest, Patrick Moraz might not have Mike's magic but he is still a wizard. Personally I'm not so keen on Sitting at the Wheel - it's rather showy pop rock and doesn't move me like Gemini Dream did on Voyager.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jul 2011 19:21:19 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 4 Dec 2011 20:22:14 GMT]
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