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Mike Oldfield - Discovery CD (album) cover

DISCOVERY

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

2.83 | 313 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars The start of the eighties didn't affect too much the quality of Mike's production till Discovery.

He didn't reach the climax of his first three excellent albums but during these difficult times for prog artists, he always managed to release decent albums so far (three stars on my scale). A more commercial aspect was felt in his previous work "Crises" and is more developed during "Discovery".

Loads of vocals as well on this work. But this time, no Anderson nor Chapman. The great Maggie Reilly is still present but to have chosen "Barry Palmer" for most of the sung tracks was not a great idea. And "Poison Arrows" is trying too much to recall "Moonlight Shadow".

Great moments aren't too many on "Discovery". "To France" probably. But it is seriously damaged with a poor song as "Crystal Gaze". The worse probably being "Tricks of the Light". A fully synthetic pop song; typical for the mid-eighties. This track is well in the mood of the era, of course but this doesn't prevent me to rate it as a poor number. These beats are really horrible. The type of "press next" song.

Mike was also willing to be fully on the command of this album and this is probably affecting the end result as well. Little input from the outside. And living in autarky for a solo artist is probably not the most brilliant idea.

This is the weakest Oldfield album so far IMHHO. Songs as "Discovery" (somewhat AOR- oriented) and the na´ve "Talk about Your Life" shouldn't have been featured. The latter has a vaguely Far-Eastern mood; especially with these high pitched female vocals sounding as a twelve years old girl like in some Ars Nova songs. Not the best one here either.

Awful vocals during "Saved By The Bell" confirms that the choice of the vocalist was not very much inspired. Why the hell did Mike brought Barry Palmer on board is a mystery to me (I even wrote misery in my first draft). He was the singer on two albums from "Triumvirat" the German symphonic band ("Old Loves Die Hard" and "Pompe´"). Both from the mid seventies. He just confirms the weak impression I had while listening to these albums.

To save this work, I confess that the long instrumental piece "The Lake" is by far the best track one can find. It is a more normal Oldfield song : rich, varied, folky, inspired. It brings you almost ten years earlier and even if it can't compete with the grandeur of Ommadawn it is still an enjoyable song. One of the very few.

Two stars for this album (but only thanks to the closing piece).

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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