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Mike Oldfield - Five Miles Out CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.68 | 354 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The best post-70s album Mike ever did. In fact, apart from Amarok I don't really care for anything he's done since. Even though this was released in 1982, it actually comes the closest of any of his albums to sounding like stereotypical 70s prog. Here he begins his flirtation with mainstream pop. But it's really good pop/rock compared to the singles on his next album. He actually has a full band backing him now which gives the music more of a traditional "rock" feel.

Maggie Reilly sings on all the songs except the instrumental "Mount Teidi". This features Carl Palmer on percussion. Nothing special about this track and it's the weakest song on the album. "Family Man" was a big hit when it was covered by Hall & Oates. I prefer this version. It's a great pop/rock song from the early 80s and better than most singles coming out at the time. The title track is another great pop/rock song but is more adventurous. It even has a bit of the 'caveman' vocals from Tubular. Guaranteed not to get much radio airplay. I'm not sure if the bagpipes in this song are the real deal or not, but they sound like it. I love the vocals at the end that get repeated. There are four different voices that go:

"Five miles out"(Mike-on-telephone)

"Just hold your heading true, go to get your..."(normal Mike)

"...finest out"(Maggie) "Climbing, climbing"(Mike-with-vocoder)

Speaking of vocoder, Oldfield uses it a lot here. Even more than on QE2. I like vocoder, maybe not as much as Daft Punk, but it doesn't bother me in the least. "Orabidoo" starts off with some music box before some drums, keys and more vocoder appear. The majority of this song I like a lot but the last few minutes are a let down. Just acoustic guitar and Maggie singing. When she says "upon the water" it reminds me of Roger Waters in "Grantchester Meadows". Both "Orabidoo" and the title track share themes with "Taurus II", the second and best part of the Taurus trilogy.

Mike uses the Fairlight synth on this album. I've never been a big fan of it, but he uses it to good effect. Especially on "Taurus II", one of Oldfield's best side-long epics. It sounds like a cross between Ommadawn and QE2. Paddy Moloney from the Chieftains plays the Uileann pipes, just as he did on Ommadawn. There's a lot going on in this epic and it changes constantly. There is a part around the five minute mark that I just love, but it only lasts for about 10 seconds. i wish that part was longer. Some good guitar throughout the entire piece. The vocals, whether Mike or Maggie, are generally good. Just before 17 minutes we get a section which sounds very ABBA-like. After the drums kick in it just gets better. Mike covered an ABBA song on his last album so this shouldn't come as a shock. Great part anyway. I like the ending here where you hear a piano with an echo or delay effect. Nice.

While this album sounds like it could have been made in 1980, his next Crises doesn't sound like like it could have made before 1982. Very sterile and 80s sounding. The blantant attempts at pop hits don't help it's case either. Five Miles Out was the last great album Mike made before realizing he's not a pop dude and came up with Amarok. Not quite as good as most of his '70s albums, but still great. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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