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Mike Oldfield - Crises CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.49 | 491 ratings

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3 stars While Oldfield had been mixing shorter and "pop" oriented tunes with side-long suites for several albums by the time of Crises, this marked the first time that the lighter material actually stole the show. For fans of Mike Oldfield the progressive artist, this is a sure sign of trouble.

The 6 compact tracks are uniformly excellent and, on my vinyl release, brilliantly sequenced. They showcase multiple facets of the man and his ability to squeeze the most out of the considerable vocal talents brought to bear. Maggie Reilly is back and sings on 3 tracks, all of which highlight her versatility and Oldfield's developing commercial sense. The mini masterpiece is the huge British hit "Moonlight Shadow", which is instantly catchy and engaging, but the hypnotic spell of the repetitive "Foreign Affair" should not be overlooked. "Taurus 3" is a sensuous guitar fest, while Jon Anderson takes the lead on the liltingly melodic "In High Places". For the requisite rough cut gem, try "Shadow on the Wall", even better in its 12" single version.

For me the title cut is the weakest "side-long" contribution of his career to that point. The first 8 or nine minutes are mostly excellent (the awful "Crises" vocal section notwithstanding), particularly the "Watcher in the Tower" segment and the following gentle instrumental part with synthesizers approximating and orchestral feel. The balance attempts to be a grand buildup in the style of Ommadawn but falls flat due to a mundane tune and numbingly repetitive sequences, even by Oldfield standards. It lacks the punch of "Platinum" and the charisma of "Taurus 2", without breaking any new ground.

Its huge commercial success notwithstanding, this 1983 album exposed MO's identity crises of the time, which would resolve itself for the worst as the decade wore on.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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