The Moody Blues
In Search of the Lost Chord


4.0
excellent

Review

by ProgJect USER (31 Reviews)
May 14th, 2014 | 39 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Perhaps they're still searching for the chord they lost.

The Moody Blues had created quite a stir with their second album Days of Future Passed (1967): its innovative cocktail of pop/rock and classical orchestra music was something people weren't exactly used to in 1967. The full orchestral backing gave the album a lush, warm feel, but also made it more challenging for the group to follow up such a project, now having to rely solely on their own abilities. It is safe to say however, that they managed to overcome that challenge quite well.

In Search of the Lost Chord (1968) is more representative of the sound the Moodies created during the remainder of their golden years than their previous LP. The orchestra may be gone, but Michael Pinder's effective use of the mellotron makes up for it nicely, shaping the definitive sound of the band. Though the musicianship is great, this is not music made to show off, not in the way some progressive acts were known to do. Don't expect long, complex instrumental sections (there are a few longer sections, but nothing overtly 'progressive'). Rather, the songs are generally vocal-oriented. The vocals are pleasant and include smooth harmonies, one of The Moody Blues' strongest trademarks.

This album is arguably their most psychedelic-sounding, a perfect example of late 60's music. It has all the elements typically associated with the era; a drug enhanced utopia, trippy with its spacey, hippie themes and psychedelic illusions. The record may come across as cheesy and dated to some for this, but the quality of the material speaks for itself. Like The Beatles, The Moody Blues took the traditional idea of a pop song into uncharted territory. They generally did these kinds of 'simpler' tunes well, but their real power lies in their more experimental tracks. The Lost Chord was not yet what can be called a progressive rock album (only marginally), but is a classic of 60's psychedelic pop, comparable to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As such, it has acted as more of a predecessor to and an influence on the progressive movement, which was soon to emerge.

The Moodies were noted as one of the most important bands to explore new, artful elements within rock music at the time. Their third album fused different genres and incorporated classical, Eastern and folk influences. The lush soundscapes included a wealth of instruments still considered exotic, and made groundbreaking use of flute, mellotron and vocal harmonies. The Lost Chord is filled with moments of beauty, containing a euphoric sort of music to which there is a remarkable, youthful enthusiasm. Mimicking Days of Future Passed, the album introduces itself with Departure, another piece of spoken word. Though rather than moving through 'a day in the life', this time around The Moody Blues created a loose concept about the search for the sacred syllable 'Om', as evidenced by the very beginning and end of the album.

Ride My See-Saw is a typical 60's psychedelic single, comparable to early Pink Floyd, and one of the band's freshest-sounding songs even over 40 years later; the mellotron and lead guitars embellish what is already a melodic rocker of the highest quality. Dr. Livingstone, I Presume is another Sgt. Pepper's-oriented piece of psychedelia, whereas House of Four Doors is a lovely semi-ballad with expansions that include snippets of medieval folk, baroque chamber music, and a Tchaikovsky-like symphony. It is divided in two parts, the latter more or less a coda. In between lies flautist Ray Thomas' most epic composition, Legend of a Mind: a musical tribute to LSD guru Timothy Leary, it combines melodic Beatle-esque pop with exotic nuances under a solid psychedelic guise, and also includes a beautiful extended flute solo. This particular track is an absolute early prog classic.

The album’s second half starts with two compositions from guitarist Justin Hayward, Voices in the Sky and Visions of Paradise, which are plethoric examples of his skill for delivering pastoral-oriented folk rock, both providing subtle Asian moods as an extra touch. His third contribution, The Actor, has a more bombastic orientation while keeping itself in a semi-slow ballad framework. Pinder's The Best Way to Travel is an acoustic, guitar-centered pop song with spacey mellotron adornments. The Word is a mystic poem by drummer Graeme Edge that resolves the mystery of the lost chord, and is followed by closer Om, a lovely track with heavy Indian influences, among which prominent sitar work. Here, the band is shown as its most 'hippie'.

One last thing about this record that should not go unmentioned is the fascinating cover art. The front is colourful and mythological, containing both the divine and pagan thoughts. The Moody Blues were up there with the most innovative acts of their day when it came to exploring mysticism in a variety of forms, and this quality, along with their uncanny sense of melody and arrangement, struck a chord with many listeners on this release. All of these songs have something compelling about them, making this a solid starting point for anyone who wishes to discover these artsy, proto-progsters in fine form (or alternatively, the obvious place to look into them further after Days of Future Passed). Overall, this is a lovely art rock album, but its appeal to purist progressive fans may be limited. For those with an appreciation for the 60's psychedelic scene however, it comes very highly recommended.



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user ratings (80)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ProgJect
May 14th 2014


37 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ProgJect returns with something that's a little less prog than usual, but should still be prog enough!

Nagrarok
May 14th 2014


8323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a fine album indeed. I owned this and Days of Future Passed already, but coincidentally I came
across On the Threshold of a Dream when I went record shopping for the first time in ages last
weekend. Found Caravan's In the Land of Grey and Pink too, happy me.

As usual, I hope you're happy with the result Jethro ;)

Necrotica
May 14th 2014


10145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely prog enough. Hell, Days of Future Passed just might be the first prog rock album ever released

Mad.
May 14th 2014


4227 Comments


Finally another MB review! Excellently written, pos'd. Great album, shows there's more to the band than just DoFP, but I kinda wish they had longer, more instrumental songs.

FourthReich
May 14th 2014


18148 Comments


@meatsalad

KILL
May 14th 2014


72295 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you rule dudes

legend of a mind is so fuckin good

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

danielcardoso
May 14th 2014


2682 Comments


ProgJect is back!
Great review, pos'd.

Friday13th
May 14th 2014


2847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review pos'd. I've been hesitant to check out more Moodies after DoFP but I'll have to recommence with this one.

Digging: Asia Minor - Between Flesh And Divine

Nagrarok
May 14th 2014


8323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They put out quality albums up to and including Seventh Sojourn, Friday. I'd say DoFP, this and On the
Threshold of a Dream are the real essentials though, definitely give those other two a listen.

Friday13th
May 14th 2014


2847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually own Threshold on CD just haven't heard it lol

Nagrarok
May 14th 2014


8323 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, get to it then!

Mad.
May 14th 2014


4227 Comments


On the Threshold hasn't really hit me as that much, the intro song is really dark and atmospheric but after that it just feels like a random collection of 60s rock songs

Jethro42
May 14th 2014


12661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you Heard part I and part II and The Voyage are the best songs that On the Threshold has to offer.

Thank you all for your comments and support.

Many thanks specially to Nag who made this progject possible. Your habitual correcting and enhancing, your personal touch and color made the difference to the review.
I liked what you did with the wink to Days of Future Passed as their first effort to get.
''(or alternatively, the obvious place to look into them further after Days of Future Passed).''
Thank you again for your incredible work overall.

dh198
May 14th 2014


463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, awesome band.

Mad.
May 14th 2014


4227 Comments


@Jethro I have but I can't remember them, I do need to listen again

First 7 of this band should be reviewed (excluding the debut), damn underrated

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2014


21667 Comments


Oh sweet a ProgJect review! Will read later when I have more time.

Haven't heard this one but I love the two albums released before and after it.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

Jethro42
May 14th 2014


12661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Mad; I gave to On the Threshold a 3.5 cos I found it sounded quite dated at times but now that I revisit it, I considere to bump it at a 4 despite its so called dated sounding.

@Jamie, cheers, dude. Yeah On The Threshold is better than I thought. And DoFP needs no presentation.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2014


21667 Comments


On the Threshold is my favourite of the ones I've heard. It has such an engrossing atmosphere.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2014


16163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ooo oohh timothy, pos

Digging: Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega

MeatSalad
May 14th 2014


15104 Comments


Wooo

Digging: Hey Rosetta! - Into Your Lungs (And Around in Your Heart and on



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