Justin Hayward & John Lodge

Moody Blues man's mid-'70s missives, produced mostly during the group's five-year break

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In a world where postmodern apologies can be made for almost any corner of human creativity, posterity continues to resist Hayward and the Moodies. Aspiring to pensive mystical splendour, their polite prog?featuring Hayward’s sensitive-whimper vocals sitting on overcooked orch-rock arrangements bolstering conspicuously underprepared songs?always contained the occasional decent tune and diverting conceit. However, though broadly similar in tone, they lacked the redeeming, dazzling musical flash of Yes, the wit of Genesis or the compositional chops of either, and have never enjoyed those groups’ affectionate reappraisal. Main songwriter Hayward’s ’70s solo work is cut from the same wearying cloth but, amid the bluster, there are nuggets of inspiration for those who care to look. “Blue Guitar” on Blue Jays remains curiously haunting and “Country Girl” and “One Lonely Room” on Songwriter (by far the best of the three reissues) have a seductive, ELO-esque pop momentum. Sonically gorgeous, the superb remastering brings what were state-of-the-art productions in their day to vivid life, though the music remains an uncomfortable mix of the vast and vapid.

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