on May 29, 2002
Many groups have been described as "progressive rock" during various times in their careers. To truly understand the definition of progressive rock, put yourself in 1968 listening to this album for the first time. The Moody Blues surpassed the Beatles with exquisitely complex orchestrations, using instruments that often were (and are) played only in obscure classical presentations. The lyrics are often incredibly spiritual without being denominational and without offending any specific denomination, a difficult feat in any era.
This album was a follow up to the ground-breaking "Days of Future Passed" album, and set the expectations for all future Moodies albums. So many groups get into a groove, and keep playing that groove endlessly and monotonously. The Moodies made seven concept albums in a row, none of which was identical. Most were only similar in that they had elements of fantasy, science fiction, and hope for a better world and a better life. The expectations for each Moodies album was (and continues to be): what unusual thing are they going to try to do this time?
In this album they played with using instruments to achieve various effects, such as the doors opening on the "House of Four Doors", and the combination of instruments on "Om" that evokes a feel of India without being Indian. The use of the sitar on this album is one of the best in a rock album, if not the best.
This album ranks as one of my all time favorites. There is no need to evaluate individual songs because they are all very good. This album deserves to be ranked with albums such as "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and Led Zeppelin's Runes or ZOSO album.
In some ways you may consider this album as a peak for the Moodies, and their subsequent albums are continually compared to "Days" and to "The Lost Chord." Fortunately the Moodies have never been disheartened by the unexpected success of their first two albums, and have kept on making more music. If you are new to the Moodies, you will find this album to be one of their best. If you like this album, you may also enjoy "To All Our Children's Children's Children," "On the Threshold of a Dream" and "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour." Each of these is similarly experimental, with varying degrees of success.
Regardless of your feelings toward this album, it helped defined progressive rock as a genre with the few other progressive rock groups of the late 60s and early 70s, and will always hold a special place for those who looked for the next evolution of rock music.
on May 26, 2002
This CD starts off with "Ride My See-Saw," one of the all-time classics, written by Moody Blues bass guitarist John Lodge. With supercharged acoustic rhythm guitar, scintillating leads, and wonderful vocal harmonies and mellotron, it is an absolutely breathtaking, electrifying masterwork. I am always mesmerized by its majesty and power, and it is one of my personal top five rock songs ever.
On the remainder of "In Search of the Lost Chord," the music and verselines are sweet-sounding but rarely cloyed like those of its predecessor, "Days of Future Passed." Orchestral-type overlays are employed at times, but nothing resembling what was in "Days." The music is elegant English minstrel psychedelia of the late '60s, employing woodwinds at times, in addition to cello and mellotron, autoharp and harpsichord, and frequent pretty vocal harmonies. A sitar can also be detected on a few tracks, evoking Eastern mysticism.
Like Love's "Forever Changes," this CD has interesting musical arrangements, and from the preceding discussion it might be inferred that there is more in common between the two, which there is, even in the voices of the singers. But the songs here are stronger and catchier, and the lyrics are less eccentric, better and prettier, often evoking images of nature. This is all seen as the real journey begins, with "Dr. Livingston, I Presume." The search takes us to "Legend of a Mind" ("Timothy Leary's Dead") and its psychedelia, first somber and later majestic; soars upward with the lovely "Voices in the Sky"; and captivates with the beautiful "Visions of Paradise." We reach Nirvana with the concluder "Om," leaving us enriched musically and, I guess, spiritually.
on September 12, 2001
DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED (1967) not only changed the way orchestras were used in pop music, but it gave new life to the Moody Blues' almost-dormant career at the time. With Justin Hayward now the official leader, the Moodies had officially left behind their blues-rock beginnings & pursuing the orchestral-pop concept full time. But while DAYS was a huge surprise, any follow-up to it was bound to pale in comparison, and with IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD, it certainly did. The best way to describe LOST CHORD could be that it is a little too hippie. With meditation & spiritual oneness becoming fashionable, only time would tell when it found its way into pop music. The Beatles had been fierce converts (at first), but the next closest would probably be the Moodies courtesy of the LOST CHORD album. Of course, it didn't start out that way. After the introduction called "Depature", we get into the driving rocker "Ride My Seesaw". We all know a see-saw is something you'd see on the playground, but in England maybe it means something else, but either way the song still rocks to high heaven, proving that the Moodies hadn't totally given up their beat-driven days. "Dr. Livingston, I Presume" is hard to describe really, rather than it's just another odd yet strangely infectious concoction that they created during their orchestral-pop phase. Maybe XTC was born a decade before it actually arrived, thanks to this song. "House Of Four Doors" is where we truly get into the whole mystical theme that runs throughout the album & if you don't quite get what it's all about, you're not alone. Perhaps you had to have been around in the '60s to understand it. "Legend Of A Mind" has a much more recognizable theme, being it a tribute of sorts to Timothy Leary, even with the line "Timothy Leary's dead/No, he's outside looking in". The music is enchanting enough to make one forget about the highly esoteric nature of this & many of the other songs on LOST CHORD. "Voices In The Sky", "The Best Way To Travel" & "The Actor" are some of the better-conceived tracks on what is truly an uneven album. It even ends on a pretentious note with "Om", which we all know is the mantra for meditation advocates the world over. But it has been joked about so much, that this song may not be able to stand up to a listen without being criticized. All in all, IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD seemed like a novel idea at the time, but the Moody Blues didn't seem to take into account of how the album would sound 3 decades later. With all the meditation & hippie vibes (couldn't resist using that term) surrounding it, LOST CHORD can't help but sound rather dated today. This pattern would continue for the next few albums before the Moodies slowly began to pursue other avenues with albums like 1970's A QUESTION OF BALANCE.
on April 15, 2001
The Moody Blues put together cohesive theme albums of which this is a great example. This cd explores eastern mysticism and many of the cuts, such as "Om" are very spiritual. Thus, many fans treated the Moody Blues as sorts of demigods. When young fans would meet the Moody Blues at airports and literally throw themselves at their feet, begging for the band members to bless them, it became too much for Mike Pinder who ultimately left the group. It is also the reason for the song, in a later album, "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band." Years ago, albums were in vinyl with two sides. I hated having to flip the album over but, often one side of an album would be really great. To me, side B, starting with "Voices in the Sky" and ending with "Om," was such a side. It's not as though side A has any weaknesses ... it doesn't. It's just that side B is almost true perfection. Side B of their "Days of Future Past" album starting with "Tuesday Afternoon" and concluding with "Nights in White Satin" is another example of an absolutely perfect album side. Of course, we lose the concept of "sides" with cds.
The cd starts out strongly with "Ride My See Saw" a rocker, and continues strongly with "Dr. Livingston I Presume" and "House of Four Doors." The latter song, in the space of 4 minutes, manages to piece together what seems like an endless saga. The phrasing in the switching to various verses of the song seems to draw it out into epic proprtions. The song is one which is hard to hum along to but then switches to a very melodic chorus. This is a great cd and exemplifies the almost mystical aura that surrounded the Moody Blues. I loved my vinyl version in college and love my remastered cd now which I share with my two sons.
on February 12, 2001
They had done the symphony thing and pulled it off with flying colors. But this follow-up was pure, 100% Moody Blues. Of the 32 (!) different instruments used on this album, every one of them was played by one of the five band members. With this and other albums, they earned the nickname of "the world's smallest symphony orchestra."
This album is a journey, from beginning to end, in search of the chord and many other things. There is a heavy Eastern Philosophical influence, especially on the Mike Pinder contributions (Best Way to Travel, Om.) The songs flow into each other beautifully, making it sound like one continuous song. In every song, the singer yearns for something which that can never be defined in words. Mike Pinder's searing mellotron and Ray Thomas's soaring flute are the definitive sounds of the album.
Of course, this is the album that yielded two of the Moodies greatest and most enduring concert pieces, the rollicking "Ride My See-saw" and psychadelic "Legend of a Mind." Another standout is "The Actor," A Justin Hayward ballad so haunting it is in the same league as "Nights in White Satin." Then there's the lovely "Voices in the Sky," and John Lodge's epic, expermental "House of Four Doors," which samples musical styles throughout history.
This album is absolutely loaded with beautiful, experimental music. Why this band is so often not considered a part of the Prog Rock genre I'll never know.
on January 9, 2001
I loved this album when I first got it as a Christmas present (I must have been 12 or 13). And I love it today. I haven't heard the "re-mastered CD" so I can't comment on that - I still listen to my scratched up LP. This, along with "To Our Children's Children's Children", are in my opinion the Moody Blues best. Lots of reviewers here are putting heavy emphasis on the "Eastern" flavor of this album. To me, this sort of misses the point. True enough, the Eastern theme may be ovbious on the surface, but the music acts as a springboard which transcends categorization, religious or otherwise. And isn't that the point of music? It's the Moody Blues, first and foremost, and that's what makes the album so wonderful.
I agree wholeheartedly with reviewers who expressed the idea of the endless emotional journeys that this album will take you on. And people tend to forget, the Moody Blues can rock! But rather than overwhelm you with it, they tease you, such as the ending to "Dr. Livingstone". Chunky, syncopated layers of acoustic guitar, bass, drums and vocals still send chills up my spine 30 years later. "Ride My See-Saw", "Legend of a Mind", and "The Best Way To Travel" are in my opinion the best cuts.
Simply put, this album is a treasure.
on August 22, 2000
After listening to DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED, I got so impressed with Moody Blues music that I had an enormous interest in listening their second album. Normally many groups, after a great and succesful first album -in this case it was the first with Justin & John-, they try continue to follow the style they began and repeat themselves. But, in this album, we see it didn't happen. This album IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD was as great and extraordinary as their predecesor. It captured the Eastern sounds and it showed how a band must experiment with the music and their sounds without being something extremely complicated. Sincerely when I heard first time this album, I was in ectasy. I couldn't believe such a peaceful and wonderful music I was discovering, it was like a hidden treasure for me. From the beginning with the funny laugh of Graeme till the last song, the relaxed tarck called Om, we feel like we were travelling to Eastern places. It really continue with the conceptual albums, and the idea for House Of Four Doors -which included Part 1, Legend Of A Mind & Part. 2- is simply brilliant. My fave tracks here are: Never Comes The Day, House Of Four Doors, Voices In The Sky and Legend Of A Mind. This album showed why the Moody Blues have been considered as one of the best Classic Rock bands in the world, and their first 7 albums are considered as real gems of music.
on August 19, 2000
The opening cut of this first of several concept albums released by the Moody Blues in rapid fire succession tells it all, a provocative, thoughtful, and intellectually fascinating exploration of altered states of consciousness, and a particular focus on the eastern idea of being. This exploration is a quite self-conscious attempt to use the experimental fusion between mainstream rock music and eastern forms started by the Beatles, and no one carried off the exploration with more panache and style than the Moody Blues, who, to their great distress, quickly became a kind of cult force in popular culture, making them pop icons overnight.
This is an intriguing album, and a valuable introduction for the uninitiated to the wild range of talents and interests of the various members of the band, and is a showcase for their musical virtuosity. From the opening mysterious number introducing the concept to the quick transition to "Ride My Seesaw", this is a fast-paced tour of the wide range of the field of psychedelic exploration. ""Legend Of A Mind" is an ironic look at Timothy Leary and his public advocacy of LSD, laughing at the idea while at the same time exploring it in earnest (He'll take you on a trip across the bay.... and bring you back the same day...). "House of Four Doors" is an introduction to "Zen' proper, and to the uniquely eastern ideas of altered states of consciousness and being. "Legend Of A Mind" is a further exposition of Leary and the popular search for consciousness.
The rest of the album focuses increasingly on aspects of the eastern way of perceiving and interpreting reality, and they conduct this exploration within the margins of popular music quite provocatively and very entertainingly. This part of the album is my favorite, especially the evocative "Voices In The Sky", although I also really like "Visions of Paradise", "Om", and "The Word" as well. This is classic Moody Blues material, and they mine this genre in a way uniquely their own. I would start with this album, and work my way deliciously through "On The Threshold Of A Dream", "To Our Childrens' Childrens' Children", and finally to "A Question Of Balance", which comprises the real close of this phase of their concept album series. All of them are thoughtful, artistically well expressed, and a timeless celebration of what it means to be human. I highly recommend all their albums. Enjoy!
on June 27, 1999
This is the one album that critics say has dated, I suppose because of the use of sitar and references to Timothy Leary, etc. I find that vision short sighted. This is where the Moodies really experimented with instrumentation, sitars, flutes, unusual combinations of music and lyrics. And there are some superbly beautiful moments-such as "Voices In The Sky," which in my view captures a lot of the best of Justin's lyrical and melodic gifts. "Om" is said to be dated, but I find the sitar, flute, mellotron combination mesmerizing, and the final vocal chorus takes me to another planet. "House of Four Doors" is a rather sophisticated song in terms of lyrics and presentation with the "door sound" and the classically inspired instrumentation. Need I go on? The Eastern Philosophy stuff is there to be sure, but the music holds its own so well, and who is to say that Eastern philosophy is "dated?" My personal favorite of all the Moodies core seven albums is "To Our Children's Children's Children," but I think one could certainly make the argument that this is their best.
on June 27, 2002
This album is so undescribable. See, it came right after Days of Future Passed (which was also excellent), and I believe the band may have been a bit more comfortable because now they had a record deal and everything. Justin's voice seems to have matured in some way- yet he sounds the same. I say this because if there was a song that ever made me cry it would be The Actor. By far the greatest song on the album (but the whole thing is fantastic). The sound of Justin's voice is so mysterious. He sounds so sad, and then the words are so emotional. I die when Justin sings- The sound I've heard in you hello-oh darling, you're almost part of me, oh darling, you're all I'll ever see.
Yeah! So buy the CD, you'll have no regrets. Moodies albums are the only ones I can listen to from beginning to end, usually I find myself skipping around on the CD's of other artist's- not so here. Enjoy. Oh and I would have given it all of the stars in the universe, but that's just not physically possible.