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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 774 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
3 stars How to size up one of the most controversial albums in all of prog rock? Is this an extraordinary masterpiece beyond all things masterpieces can achieve or a 50-minute wax turd? TUBULAR BELLS is both.

The opening few minutes are some of the best in a symphonic-titled record. That main piano theme has become all too well-known in the annals of prog rock, yet the way this riff builds upon itself is immensely enjoyable. The maritime theme that comes in sometime through the second part (the guitars try to emulate bagpipes) is equally beautiful and could send you in a trance. The diverse instrumentation offers a wide variety of sounds, and to his credit, Oldfield doesn't vomit themes all over the place and changes them every 1.5 minutes.

The problem is that half of the ideas are just boring, and the fact that they last for ten minutes usually without drums hurts. The punk-country attempt at the end is nice for about a minute, but it gets too old too fast. Sometimes great spots in an album are ruined by the only vocal attempts on the album. Go to the end of part one and there will be a man announcing each instrument as it comes in; this effect is laughable at best. It's cheesiness is topped by the grunts on Part 2.

Mike Oldfield had his heart in the right place when constructing TUBULAR BELLS, but his head might not have been. It's very free, not in the sense of without structure (there's plenty of it), but in the flow of the album. TUBULAR BELLS works for a prog collection, but the potential upswing or downswing is immense. Get your popcorn ready.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |

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