Long Distance Voyager

The Moody Blues

Polygram Records, 1981


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Fans of veteran (and we mean veteran - thirty years plus) British symphonic rockers The Moody Blues know there are three distinct stages in the band's career. There's the brief R&B era of the mid-sixties, the progressive rock of the late sixties and early seventies, and the more pop-driven sound of the late seventies to the early nineties. (There's also the current "We're On PBS Every Damn Pledge Drive" period, but we'll ignore that in the interest of decency).

Era three began, technically, with the band's reunion and recording of Octave in 1978. However, no one outside of Moody completists remembers my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Octave - it's a pretty forgettable CD. The two huge CDs from "stage three" are 1986's The Other Side Of Life and 1981's Long Distance Voyager. Today, we'll take a look at Long Distance Voyager (maybe later I'll dig my cassettes out of the closet and we'll cover Life.)

Long Distance Voyager is an interesting CD, to say the least. At least for my tastes, the Moodies perpetually walk a line between "so incredibly complex and cool it's amazing" and "so bombastic you could beat a door-to-door evangelist to death with the CD." How good a given Moodies CD is depends on how well they walk that line - and on Long Distance Voyager they manage, mostly, to strike a balance. Add in the fact that there's some downright hooky pop melodies and lyrics on this CD (a trend the Moodies would continue all the way through 1991's Keys of the Kingdom), and this has the potential to be a classic CD.

Sadly, though, it doesn't make it. The Moodies never manage to sustain a feel or level of energy on Long Distance Voyager; for every good track there's a limp, soggy one that fails to sustain the disc. At best, Long Distance Voyager contains songs like "The Voice," "22,000 Days," and "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" that are alternatively powerful, driving, and even funny at times. At worst, we get songs like "Talking Out Of Turn" that meander around aimlessly like a pithed frog, or "Gemini Dream," which has to be the most overrated Moody Blues single since "Tuesday Afternoon."

This is, as they say, a damned shame. Long Distance Voyager could have been a great album - "Meanwhile" may be the best love song the Moodies ever recorded, a hidden gem of a single - but at best it's merely a good one.

Long Distance Voyager is still recommended as one of the biggest CDs of the Moody Blues' career and as a piece of work which, while flawed, has some great moments. But it could have been much, much better.

Rating: B-

User Rating: B+



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Polygram Records, and is used for informational purposes only.