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Oceans 5

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Oceans 5 Return to Mingulay album cover
3.93 | 139 ratings | 28 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mingulay Boatsong (8:21)
2. The Whitby smugglers song (4:49)
3. Empty hands (6:36)
4. Five o'clock line (6:03)
5. Dancing with the rhythm of the shore (3:52)
6. Invictus Captain of my soul (5:00)
7. Sails off the bay (5:19)
8. 6000 friends (5:35)
9. Fly away (7:15)

Total Time 52:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy John Bradford / Vocals and 12 string acoustic guitar
- Colin Tench / Guitars
- Stef Flaming / Bass guitar
- Victor Tassone / Drums and Percussion
- Marco Chiappini / keyboards

Special guests:
- Andres Guazzelli / Piano and Orchestration
- Lorelei McBroom / Vocals
- Sonia Mota / Artwork

Thanks to lucas for the addition
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OCEANS 5 Return to Mingulay ratings distribution

(139 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

OCEANS 5 Return to Mingulay reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oceans 5 is a brand new band lead by Andy John Bradford and Colin Tench, with support of friends in several other bands. The music is mainly melodic rock and pop, but there are strong elements of sea shanties and space-rock (Pink Floyd as the main influence in this field). The album starts off with a modern sea shanty, played in a floydian mood (vintage keyboards, aerial electric guitar, slow pace). You can hear seagulls and a storm in introduction to the song, then Andy John's voice as if it came from far away, before the band steps in and the music goes on, punctuated by a singlalong chorus. Andy John's voice is reminiscent of The Byrd's vocalist, Roger McGuinn. The music overall is also somewhat reminiscent of The Byrds. The next song is in a country-rock mood, a cheerful song with some vintage keyboards and Rothery-like guitar loops. The chorus is enlivened with some humorous piano notes. The third song on the album is a nice melodic pop song played without pretention. You could swear it is a Gerry Rafferty song if you heard it on the radio. The wakemanesque keyboards give it a prog feel though. It is followed by a somewhat proggy sea shanty song where soft guitar parts alternate with more agressive ones and keyboards can be heard sparsely all along the song. Victor Tassone feasts us with some creative drumming. Keyboards mimick the sound of accordion at times, thus reinforcing the sea shanty side of the song. In the fifth song, flute-like keys and mellotron together with acoustic guitar bring us back to the golden age of english folk, yet the song evolves towards "world music" with some creative performance by Victor, this time on percussions (similarly to some Happy The Man songs). Towards the middle of the song, keyboards add a prog-rock touch. Colin provides syncopated guitar solos, a good image would be a fly catcher, short solos as if he were attempting several times to catch flies. In the sixth song, the atmosphere is floydian with vintage keys, slow pace and aerial guitar solos. Towards the end, the keyboard solo is aerial and reminding Rick Wright in Pink Floyd's album 'The Division Bell'. The song that follows is another pop song. With its title, drums and percussions are at the centre of our attention. Overall, it sounds as it would have escaped from an AOR album of the early eighties, which is another sign of the band's eclectism. Eigth track is a rock balad featuring Pink Floyd's touring choir singer Lorelei McBroom as the backing vocalist (in the chorus) and lead female vocalist. This song can be compared to Journey's "when you love a woman" through its orchestrations and the sweet chorus. Towards the middle of the song, drums roll and Lorelei performs some solo vocal performance (no lyrics associated) like in Pink Floyd's "great gig in the sky", which adds some diversity to the song. Aerial guitar solos conclude this balad. The last song is an acoustic folk balad, with some sparse incursions of Colin's syncopated electric guitar and some "mozartian" piano touches. Occasional orchestrations reinforce the balad side of the song. At 4:00, the song turns more aggressive though, Andy John insisting more on the words of the chorus, Colin's guitar solos being more prominent and Victor showing proudly his skills on drums. It returns to calm at 5:30, and then flute-like synths give it an eerie feel until the end of the song. The artwork is performed by Sonia Mota, who already worked previously for the other Colin Tench project Corvus Stone. The cover depicts the band in a cloud, which is an obvious wink to Pink Floyd's "great gig in the sky". Similarly to Corvus Stone, she is considered as part of the band.

As a conclusion, this album is a real treat for the ears, whatever your musical tastes are. All members involved play briliantly and are experienced enough to find the right balance between technique and melody.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars "To boldly go where no man has gone before". The words cling to me throughout me listening to this album and still I think that, while not breaking new ground, manages to make a statement as bold as all that has gone before AND sounding up to date, in an audial environment steeped in tradition and yesteryears.

I feel fortunate enough to be one who has the opportunity to listen to this extraordianary album before it is released and even more fortunate to be approached by the guitarist Colin Tench, asking me to review the album. For that I am grateful.

Oceans 5 have made an album combining several elements very dear to me: the sea, history (or a sense of it), british folk, rock and prog. These elements have been fused together into an increasingly sweet, evocative and highly enjoyable album.

The album is a very cohesive one, with the gentle vocals of Andy John Bradford, accentuated and accompanied by Colin Tench's beautiful guitar playing. The vocals are gentle, almost frail in a beautiful way, reminding me of Michael Chapman, which is very good. The gentleness and the sometime roughness of the guitar creates an aural tapestry that is a mix of several bands and artists from the past. I think of Barclay James Harvest, Camel, Fairport Convention, occasionally Supertramp, Michael Chapman, Roy Harper and Kevin Lamb. Still, the influences are there but they do manage to retain an identity of their very own. The band is as a whole amazing with details coming my way as I listen. The keyboards are also very sensitively played, giving space and depth to the whole thing.

Folk is the bottom on which the album is built and on top of that is progressive rock, making "Return to Mingulay" a contemporary gem among prog-folk recordings. From the first song and it's sounds of the sea to the last (and certainly most epic) "Fly away" the experience is so enjoyable. There is love of the genre, joy in playing and a sense of textures, variation and moods.

Among my favorites is the last track, "Fly away". The way it builds up and explodes in a fiery, emotional guitar solo is fantastic. The mellotron makes my head spin and I find myself smiling cheerfully all the way through. I guess "Fly away" is the albums most progressive track, though evident on the album as a whole.

Other standout tracks are "Five o'clock line" and "The Whitby Smugglers song" but there is actually not a bad track on here. I think that Oceans 5 have created an album of great worth and longevity. Tales of the sea, folk and prog. I mean, what more you wish for? I do hope that more people discover this great little band, making sounds so sweet and enjoyable. I enjoy it even more, the more I listen to the music. This album will stay with me for a long time and I predict I am not the only one who will find the charm in these songs. The love of music is there, evident to all, and I urge you to check it out.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No, Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 is not a movie featuring Damon, Pitt, Roberts, Clooney and company but a melodious progressive-pop-folk affair that owes its merits by being lathered with superlative musicians, from the incredible (and utterly funny) Colin Tench on guitars, the scintillating keys of Marco Chiappini, Stef Flaming on bass and the sadistic New York shuffle from Vic Tassone on the drum kit. Singer/songwriter Andy John Bradford is a typical British troubadour in the fine tradition of past legends Al Stewart, Roy Harper, John Martyn, Gerry Rafferty, Dave Cousins or current master Guy Manning. So what do we have here to munch on, you ask? A catalogue of fresh, exciting, memorable and accessible songs, built with sonic precision and a modicum of grace and elegance. No hint of pretention or abusive hysterics, most songs are in 6-7 minute range, leaving a lot of scope for musical politesse.

"The Mingulay Boat Song" has an effects-laden windswept intro, sea squalls, gulls squeaking, and a lilting vocal that recalls the classics mentioned above, Tench providing some sizzling axe frills. A definite Fairport Convention/British folk feel permeates the tune, sing along chorus and all. Something you would join in at the pub, warm beer in hand! Come on everyone, join the sway?..

"The Whitby Smugglers Song" is a fine example of the worth at play here, sharp guitar rasps and technical acoustic decorations supply the solid foundation for Bradford to sing his story, a country song from Albion, with a slight the Byrds tinge. Now, I am generally not a fan of such lightweight material but the raucous accompaniment shows off undisputable sonic talent (Oh, Colin, you rock!).

"Empty Hands" has a definite Rafferty?feel (as commented on by Lucas), flourishing keyboard work and stinging country guitar 'kerrangs'. Bradford takes it easy, a sweet little ditty that sticks in your nodes. Cool guitar solo again from the axe madman! "Five O'clock Line" is a highlight track, full of gentle resoluteness and inspired expression, Bradford singing with unabashed emotion, a tremendous track that seduces you from the get-go, no messing about. A simply lovely song in all its components, with a little bizarre thrown in at the end.

The brief but bouncy "Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore" has an instantly comfortable feel, very much like Guy Manning's work, again allied to some scintillating guitar work (Oh, Colin , you roll!) , great fun tune.

"Invictus Captain of my Soul" is a delightful and serene ditty, slight Irish feel but loaded up with some strong electric guitar messaging and dense percussives from the New Yorker. Sensational backing choir work, repeating "never giving up" ad infinitum. Love this track!

"Sails of the Bay" has 'guitarra española' to start off, developing into a mercurial melody where Colin screeches in like only he can (pop guitarist, really?) and spurts out a series of delirious axe solos for the ages. On the whole we are once again very close to Guy Manning's body of work, a folky story with a strong personal edge. How can one not appreciate such honesty? Okay so it's not Math Rock, nor does it pretend to be. Fun, fun, fun.

The immaculate beauty of "6000 Friends" is something to behold, a melody that would redden Steve Wilson's 'blackfielded' cheeks, a heartfelt urgency that will get you in the gut ("She's got 6000 friends but no one to love". Fantastically simple lyrics and brilliant delivery but its closest companion would be Roxy Music's classic song 'Avalon', complete with the Yannick Etienne-Like wail, the sterling howling vocals a la Great Gig in the Sky come from Lorelei McBroom (a live PF backing vocalist). The outgoing orchestrations and Colin's blowout punch are immaculate.

"Fly Away" is the Everest here, a stellar track lush with classy piano, a breathlessly exasperated vocal, a melody to expire over and gentle fragility. The arrangement slowly increases in power and feeling, becoming a rather impressive prog-rock rant with sublime playing (fret and ivory work) and tremendous bass and drums. This was the clincher for me! Absolute genius stuff! What a way to build an album, from strength to higher strength, culminating in an apoplectic explosion of pleasure.

One should not judge by what it should have been but what it is, in all its simplicity. A fine, up-beat, enjoyable and happy recording, something to illuminate that dark path our lonely world seems to currently favor, where algorithms rule the masses with apparent impunity. Fans of all the mentioned will lap this puppy up.

Brilliant artwork from the seductive Sonia Mota ( Bom dia!) , who has adorned her talent on the Corvus Stone project as well. "Ich liebe dich auch, Kati! "

4.75 googles (whatever that means! )

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Oceans 5 is a project that echoes some of the ideas in some of Corvus Stone's work not surprising as it also features Colin Tench on guitar. Oceans 5 borrows many musicians from other bands to make up this new project; guitarist Colin from BunChakeze, Corvus Stone & The Minstrel's Ghost has been mentioned but there is also Marco Chiappini from Gandalf's Project on Keyboards, Stef Flaming from Murky Red on Bass, and Victor Tassone from Unified Past on drums. At the helm is the visionary behind it all Andy John Bradford who is a great vocalist and also plays 12 String Guitar. They make a great sound together which has moments of progressive innovation and is overall easy listening Crossover music.

The guests are Lorelei McBroom who has been vocalist for Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart and she sings beautifully on '6000 Friends'. Andres Guazzelli has featured with Corvus Stone and plays piano & Orchestration on '6000 Friends', and 'Fly Away'. Sonia Mota should be mentioned too for supplying the stunning Album Cover Artwork, that really puts the listener into the right atmosphere generated by the conceptual lyrical content. The Clipper ship moving listlessly towards the rocky shore with the lighthouse blinking furiously, conjures up that feeling of battling with nature; man versus the open sea, and man seldom comes out on top. There is a feeling of hope though in the painting with its raw power, the waves mercilessly threatening to swallow the crew in its cavernous maw, but the band are an imposing figure in the corner smiling and looking down at our hapless seafarers like guardian angels.

'Return to Mingulay' focusses on sea shanty themes and works well as a concept album for seafaring tales. Each song tells a different side of the journey. 'Mingulay Boatsong' opens the journey with waves crashing and seagulls calling out as the seafarers take off in their ship. The chorus has a peculiar sea shanty feel intentionally. The harmonies are well executed, and there is the constant presence of the blazing guitar. Mid way through there is a towering instrumental break with ethereal atmospherics, spacey electronics and the blend of guitars and crashing drums; simply wonderful innovative music.

Following this brilliant start is 'The Whitby smugglers song' with Bradford's crystalline vocals taking centre stage. This also has a shanty feel, perhaps one that you could sing in a pub as you order the next brandy. It is harmless music really and nice to play on a Sunday afternoon when you are kicking back relaxing.

'Empty hands' has a fast rhythm and I heard this as rain was literally tumbling down so it kind of resonated with me. The lyrics are terrific, telling a sad tale about a woman who is destitute, with tearful eyes, mournful looks, and the protagonist is too busy to reach out and lend a hand, 'every day we were greeted by her trembling smile, to a woman with empty hands' and during the cold and bitter winter, when the heating bills are high, the suffering continued. These chilling lyrics are accompanied by a country folk rock style which stands out on the album. The harmonies are wonderful, reminding me of 'Lying Eyes' by The Eagles. The soaring lead guitar with a delay effect is delightful, brilliantly executed here by Tench.

'Five o'clock line' has a steady pace and some wonderful lead guitar licks, and overall infectious melody; easy listening music. 'Dancing with the rhythm of the shore' has a great rhythm with catchy hook and musicianship, good singing and atmosphere. 'Invictus Captain of my soul' is one of my favourites with its rollicking tempo and catchy melodies. 'Sails off the bay' opens with improvisational classical guitar playing in the best folk tradition. It moves into a reserved laid back feel and some glorious lead guitar soloing.

'6000 friends' is a commercial sounding song, perhaps more like another single. It has a catchy hook in the chorus and some very nice harmonies. 'Fly away' is a melancholy song sounding like an AOR band for the most part. It is the single of the album so naturally flows with a commercial radio friendly sound.

Though I am not a fan of prog folk I was willing to give this one a listen due to the strong musicianship, all musos are well established in their other bands. They certainly are allowed to let down their hair and just play some uncomplicated easy listening folk which must make a nice change from the complexity they are used to. This is a pleasant listening experience, relaxing, well produced and should appeal to lovers of prog folk. This is not my usual preferred genre but still well worth a listen, and the opening track is awesome!

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Andy John Bradford is an English folk singer-songwriter. For this album he invited Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, Minstrel's Ghost, BunChakese, etc) to help him out. Other members of other bands joined in and they made this album, under the name Oceans 5. Bradford wanted to re-work a 200 year old sea shanty called the "Mingulay Boatsong." Andy plays acoustic 12-string guitar and the songs here are generally based on his playing and vocals. Mostly acoustic guitar and rhythm section-based, although there is lots of versatile electric guitar playing from Colin and some keyboards as well (including a bit of synth). The music can be described as British folk-rock for the most part with some proggy influences. Some tracks are proggish while others are not prog at all.

On the "Mingulay Boatsong" a sea shanty is turned into something that could fit on Floyd's The Division Bell! The chorus of "Empty Hands" reminds me of American folk-rock, specifically The Byrds. "Dancing With The Rhythm Of The Shore" has some funny sound effects at the beginning. One of the better songs here but it is in a pop-rock/hard rock style. "Invictus Captain Of My Soul" is the standout track to my ears. Great song, sounds like a cross between Mike Oldfield and The Moody Blues. Nice synth melodies and percussion. The vocals are very good and catchy as well. "6000 Friends" is more bluesy sounding than the other songs and features Lorelei McBroom on vocals, who has toured with Pink Floyd amongst others. Unfortunately, I find this one of the weakest songs - both musically and lyrically. "Fly Away" is one of the longer tracks but it gets more interesting as it goes along. There is also a single version but the album version is superior.

Not a bad song here but this might not be what some prog fans are looking for. The music sometimes reminds me of the Canadian band Blue Rodeo, however the vocals are 100% British folk-rock. Andy's vocals are sometimes treated with studio effects which makes a nice change once in awhile. If every song here was a strong as "Invictus" I would be tempted to give the album 4 stars. As it is I will give it 3 stars, good but not essential.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An album of nice Southern (or perhaps Country) Folk Rock in the vein of THE BAND, THE OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS, or THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, perhaps even The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Guy Manning or the Dixie Dregs, with some exceptional electric guitar soloing from the exquisitely talented Colin Tench, no more, no less. But, is this really prog? I think not. While I could recommend this music to standard rock music lovers, this is not something I would recommend to the PA crowd of progressive rock music lovers.

Favorite songs: "Sails Off The Bay" and "6000 Friends."

3 stars: Good, but non-essential.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Colin Tench asked me to hear his most recently project he was working on. I really didn´t know anything about this group, neither was I aware of the work of singer/songwriter Andy john Bradford. However, I was quite pleased with what I heard: a kind of mix of folk, country, rock, prog and pop, all lead by Bradford´s laid back vocals and his 12 string acoustic guitar. On all the tracks he is backed by a very good group of musicians that includes, of course, Colin Tench on guitar, Marco Chiappini (keyboards), Stef Flaming (bass) and Victor Tassone (drums), plus Andres Guazzelli on piano and orchestrations. The results are quite charming, melodic and convincing, specially if you like folk rock. So the likes of Neil Young, early Al Stewart, Fairport Convention and the like comes to mind (a feeling quite enhanced by the use of 70´s vintage keyboards timbres). Still, the music here is quite original.

I´m sure a lot of people on ProgArchives will not like Oceans 5 music: they will probably say it is too melodic, too straight ahead folksy and/or too predicable. Granted, there is very little prog in here: the songs are short, rarely going beyond the five minute mark, and as all the folk based stuff is, the importance given to the narrative is paramount. so there is not much space for long solos or tempo changes and complicated arrangements. However, with excellent musicans like that, those spaces are very well used every time they do show, with Tench and Chiappini filling in with tasteful and skilled guitar and keyboards lines, while the rhythm section gives a strong base to pump up the songs to new heights.

There are no real highlight on this CD: all the songs are all very good and the tracklist is quite harmonic. But if you asked me what my favorites songs on this album is I´ll probably cite the slightly different Dancing With The Rhythm Of The Shore and the beautiful, plaintive Sails Off The Bay (VERY nice Gilmour-like solo here, Colin!), two very strong tunes where the musicians show what they can do inside a simple, but efficient, song structure. The production is simply perfect, with all the voices and instruments very well balanced (again the feeling of a modern version of a 70´s very organic recording comes to mind).

So, if you like folk rock, or anything very melodic and tasteful, this is surely an album to get. I was tempted to rate this album 3 stars since there is hardly ony "real" prog in it (as for symphonic prog or RIO fans are concerned). Personally I´d give 4,5 stars. So a 4 star rating is maybe a little high for this site, but still I recommend this CD to any prog lover who, like me, thinks that great melodies and some simplicity are not an insult to prog.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars Now, I am a proghead and a metalhead, but to be honest my tastes are actually way more diverse and complex than that, so while the only framed record on my study wall is a 60 year old jazz album, I also listen to and enjoy folk music. Not just folk rock you understand, but good old fashioned folk, and have been known to attend folk clubs (and not just for the real ale). So, when I was presented with this album I was somewhat intrigued as the two main protagonists are from quite different areas as while Andy John Bradford (vocals, 12 string) is a folkie, guitarist Colin Tench is a proghead with a tendency to pull off wonderful runs and plenty of riffs. So what are they doing together?

Apparently Andy wanted to record a version of the 200 years old "Road To Mangulay", and had so much fun with Colin that they decided to make it a project and bring in some others to join in the hilarity. But, in fact this is no laughing matter, as what we have here is an album that in many ways defies normal description, but that's not going to stop me from trying.

At the heart of this album is Andy, and if you just listen to his guitar and vocals and block out everything else you will find music and vocals that could have come straight from the mighty Show of Hands, minus the fiddle. In fact, that one band kept coming to mind as I listened to this, and I kept thinking of the lyrics to "Roots" from 'Witness', "A minister said his vision of hell, is three folk singers in a pub near Wells". Well, I wonder what he would have thought of this as this is folk Jim, but not as we know it. So, firstly they brought together a band to give this a much fuller sound, and then decided to let Colin have his way. There are times when he is hardly playing, just the odd touch here and there, and others where he is right in your face and the combination of folk, prog and classic rock come crashing together into something that very special indeed.

If I had to pick just one prog band as a reference then it would be Floyd, especially with some of the Gilmour style noodlings, and they convinced Lorelei McBroom to add some of her very special vocals to "6000 Friends". But, that is just one standout track among many, and if like me you have eclectic tastes, or if you just enjoy great music whatever the style then take it from me this is immediate, accessible, and above all an incredible piece of work. For more details visit - you won't regret it.

Review by Matti
3 stars The cover design is very wonderful (by Sonia Mota, known in PA too), but a little minus for the band in the clouds, which is a bit out of place artistically. So, as is said before, Oceans 5 is a recording project gathered around British singer-songwriter Andy John Bradford. I didn't know him or any of the artists and their groups in advance, and I decided to take this music free of expectations or background research. Whether this is progressive rock is open to debate, to say the least. Anyway, it's not a secret that the attention gained in PA is due to the warm and friendly PR activities. Hey, progarchives is even mentioned in the leaflet! :) The spirit of friendship between musical collaborators, and also towards the supporters and the audience, is very underlined in the leaflet's writings.

The music is uplifting and easy-going too. Even the standout song '6000 Friends (With No-One to Love)' avoids sadness that the lyrics could have steered it into. It features Lorelei - A.K.A. Durga? - McBroom who was one of the three ladies on Pink Floyd concerts a couple of decades ago. The vocal part in this song has been written with 'The Great Gig in the Sky' in mind. Pink Floyd associations don't end there: especially the electric guitar of Colin Tench, who also co-composed, mixed and produced this album, has a very strong Gilmour-flavour.

The very first seconds are interesting and nostalgic. "What shall we do to the drunken sailor" is a song I know already from my childhood. The 3-part mini-epic 'The Mingulay Boatsong' (an obvious highlight!) is full of gorgeous melodies reaching singalong grandiosity and some superb musicianship on guitars and keyboards. The next song is too much country-flavoured southern rock to impress me, and also 'Empty Hands' is quite an average middle-of-the-road tune but again Colin Tench and company lift it up with shiny instrumental moments.

Sorry to say but to my ears Bradford himself as a sniffly vocalist is the weak link. Funnily he sounds older than he probably is, and his songwriting is somehow limited too: the melodies are often more or less similar and the songs rely heavily on choruses. I presume it's especially Colin Tench who has turned this work from "no interest for a prog listener at all" into something more spicy and delicious. The playing and production are really excellent, but the songs themselves are basically... hmm, pretty average folk/country-flavoured AOR stuff, to be honest. In one word: nice.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Multinational band OCEANS 5 revolves around the creative impulses of UK artist Andy John Bradford, who had been working with a specific concept for The Mingulay Boatsong for some time when he hooked up with fellow musicians online in 2011. This initial collaboration eventually led to a few more song ideas, then the formation of a band, and finally the recording and release of the album "Return to Mingulay" through the US label Melodic Revolution Records in 2013.

"Return to Mingulay" isn't an album that comes across as one with a strict progressive rock interested audience in mind. It will most likely be an advantage to have a certain interest in bands like Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd to be able to enjoy this production of course, but just as important will be to have a taste for compositions with a a core foundation placed well inside the singer/songwriter universe. Those who find that combination to be intriguing should be the ideal audience for this band, and I suspect many who recognize themselves in that description will cherish this album.

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Did you catch the Yellow Submarine? To some, the story behind this album may not be new, but it's worth telling again. Ever since he was a young boy, Andy John Bradford, singer/songwriter, wanted to record his own version of the sea shanty Mingulay Boat Song. At some point, he assembled a five piece band, and just did it. With a twist: what started as a single song turned into a complete album. An album that I've been playing on and off for a few months now, and that contains some tunes that keep returning to my mind - making me play it again.

It's hard to explain what makes this album so special and addictive. First of all, Andy John Bradford is not exactly a progressive rock god (or cod, according to some), and those who know him might expect a folky album. Nothing is farther from the truth. Yes, the album does contain two traditionals and one song based on a 20th century English poem, but this is by no means a folk album. By adding the melodic style of electric guitar playing of Colin Tench, and the keyboard layers put underneath by Marco Chiappini, to the acoustic guitar and vocals of Andy himself changes it all into relaxed and quite easily accessible progressive folk rock style. No rock without a rhythm section of course, so Vic Tassone and Stef Flaming are on board to keep everything in marching order.

That starts with the opening track, Mingulay Boatsong, which is actually split in three. The first part is a take on drunken sailor, then a traditional first part of the original song by Andy followed by the full blown Oceans5 version of that shanty. From here on, the vocals and electric guitar play a well executed of challenge-response game, where the guitar takes up gradually more space. The song never looses it's folk roots though, except when the keyboards and guitar build a noisy interleave near the end, probably marking the rough landing of the rowing boats on Mingulay beach. Rowing boats, released from the blue and yellow ship on the cover, a piece of painstaking handy work by Sonia Mota.

After we arrive on Mingulay, we meet with the Whitby Smugglers, the second traditinal on the album. This one starts with acoustic guitar, with a few electric surprise chords underneath. Eric XaosLord and Brett Lloyd add an additional set of guitars (rhythm and southern rock guitar respectively) to this one, making it into a sort of southern folk rock track - pumped forward by Stef Flamings bass. At some point one of the guitars actually tries to play bag pipe here. Colin Tench has some fun on this one - can you spot the Yellow Submarine? - before the closing note is left to Chiappini's organ

After this, two tracks follow that are rooted lyrically in folk tradition, describing modern everyday situations, written by Bradford himself. The first, Empty Hands, is a slightly heavier track than the first two, about a homeless woman selling the Big Issue, and being ignored by everyone but the singer. The 5 o'clock line is similar, in that it describes the story of a man taking the same train every day and meeting his beloved there, traveling alone later, when after she dies. He too gets ignored by the selfish people around him, which is perfectly expressed by the melancholic guitar and keyboard playing. The guitar expresses the hidden anger inside the singer, as well as the troubled mind of the man he sings about, as the song builds up a slightly rockier structure near the end. The closing statement here is for Stef Flamings bass, and a bunch of ducks that ended up in the recording for reasons unclear to all but him.

Invictus - The Captain of my soul, is build up in a well though out manner. The versus are based on a poem by William Ernest Henley, with choruses added by Andy John Bradford. The track starts with acoustic guitar and them some drums/percussion that make it into a song that could've been played at the harbour side (replace drums by barrels and you're there). The keyboards support the vocals further, as folk violins almost. Only halfway, in a very subtle way, the electric guitar joins in, but the power of the song remains with the percussion. Different from the other tracks, a little gem.

Sails off the bay starts with a Spanish guitar intro, and as the lyrics tell the thoughts and dreams of a man, or a boy, wanting to go sailing, the electric guitars of Colin Tench and Stef Flaming gradually help building it up into a powerful folk rock track. That guitar work continues into Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore, which starts as a mix of folk guitar with an 80s pop rhythm underneath. That ends quickly, as the vocals get layered in a surprising way, and the verses appear to contain unexpected stops - mimicking the waves breaking on the shore perhaps? A track that is not catchy, and that can either make you return to try and grasp it, or skip it if you get annoyed by it (I choose the former). It is the only track that has a real rock ending, with rolling drums and everything, and a single bass note at the end.

With that, we come to what may have been intended to be the best track on the album. And even if not, it succeeded in becoming that. For 6000 friends, the band is extended with Andres Guazzelli, who took care of orchestration, making everything sound perfectly integrated musically (he's an expert on film music, and it shows), and Lorelei McBroom (the high vocal from The Great Gig In the Sky) on guest vocals. Again a song that tells of modern frustrations: a man with a 6000 online friends and a woman attending every party she can with her friends, both finding out that none of their friend are real, and there is no real love in their lives. Especially the way Lorelei sings the second verse, the story of the woman, can make ones eyes water - either because of the lyrics, or the wonderful voice.

After that, it is almost impossible to not listen to closing track Fly Away, which starts with acoustic guitar and piano, which only after 4 minutes are joined by the rest of the band, building into a slow, electric folk rock song. The guitar leads, but never too overpowering and leaves room near the end for the keyboards to put down an almost symphonic ending.

I love progressive rock, but I also love good lyrics, and music that expresses emotions other then fun. This album gives me just that - and that is why I keep playing it. I hope the descriptions above have given the reader some insight into this wonderful album, as well as into the mind of this humble reviewer and music lover.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Good day to you all. I'm Andy John Bradford and I've written some nice little folk ditties, or perhaps sea chanteys if you like, that you can enjoy singing along to at your local tavern while downing a pint or two with the local lads.

I was just down by the shore for a couple of minutes trying to get the right feel for the album. The wind was a-blowing and the waves were crashing in. The gulls were in the sky calling out. But a storm started blowing in and the thunder was a-rumbling so I thought it'd be best fer me to head indoors. Now I'm going ta play for you an old traditional number and I'm just going ta be a-strumming away like this here, and you can all sing along if ya know the words. "Hail you own, boys / An' let her go boys / Sailing home to Mingulay".

Now I've got me a few friends along ta help out with the music and on electric guitar and some acoustic as well I've got Mr. Colin Tench, whom some of you may know from Corvus Stone or perhaps Bunchakeze or Minstrel's Ghost. He's got a good feel for the music and plays some fine guitar, maybe going a little toward the Pink Floyd sound here at the end of the song.

Now here's another fine guitarist but I've asked him to come in on bass. Mr. Stef Flaming of the band Murky Red. And well, now we're going ta need a drummer you say, and for that we've got Mr. Victor Tassone from Unified Past. Oh, yes, the keyboards are being handled by Mr. Marco Chiappini whom you can hear on Minstrel's Ghost and Mr. Tench's band project CTP.

And now yer surely thinking that this is not looking like it's going ta sound like any folk band singing sea chanteys and true enough, it's starting to look like a prog band now. Speaking of prog, I'm liking the Pink Floyd sound a bit lately and so we should get a kind of Great Gig in the Sky singer in here for a song, maybe "6000 Friends". How about Ms. Lorelei McBroom from Australian Pink Floyd to do that bit there? Ah, now we've got some very fine music going on.

Just one more thing, some piano and orchestration would be a nice touch to make this album of folk ditties sound really more like a prog rock album. An' so here's Mr. Andres Guazzelli from Argentina. Maybe you've heard his piece "Wish You Could Hear" which features Mr. Tench on guitar as well.

So, I'm hopin' ya like the songs now. At the heart, it's me singing and strumming away. But my musical friends have gone and turned this into an album with a strong seventies rock vibe and really made the music come alive. I never knew it could sound so good.

So step inside and an take off yer coat. The storms a-coming in but it's cozy and warm in here. Grab a pint and sit back and hear the band play. And once ya know the words, feel free ta sing along with us!

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars For me, one of the more illuminating aspects of this "supergroup" release is learning that ROD STEWART/SUTHERLAND BROTHERS essentially ripped off the "Mingulay Boatsong" for one of his many mega hits, "Sailing". The meter and most of the melody of his arrangement is more than influenced by that 200 year old shanty.

I don't mean to diminish this enthusiastic release by implying that I'm otherwise unimpressed, but this is really singer songwriter folk with full rock backing and massed oft repeated choruses. Apart from Colin Tench's guitar style, at times, and the presence of a vocal member of AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD, I don't really get the FLOYD comparisons, but agree that fans of certain aspects of STRAWBS and JETHRO TULL might enjoy what's on offer here. The strummed acoustic guitar style, Andy John Bradford's vocal inflections, and the general song structures put me in mind of STRAWBS circa "Bursting at the Seams", but without its dark Goth side and, paradoxically, without its chart ready hits. The over busyness of some of the arrangements bring to mind TULL, but more the arty "War Child" style than "Heavy Horses". Other occasional points of comparison could be MOTT THE HOOPLE (on "Six Thousand Friends",Bradford goes "All the Young Dudes" on us) and RUNRIG, particularly their nautical proclivities. All to say that this is an enjoyable listen but far from challenging even in comparison to the less complex works of the aforementioned.

Probably the best tracks here are the Boat song itself and the heartfelt "5 O'Clock Line", but neither really awaken stirrings deep inside, and, while nothing is ghastly, the social commentary of "6 Thousand Friends" is a bit more simplistic and direct than even most folk singers might advise. So, "Return to Mingulay" is rounded up to 3 stars because admirers of the fusion of folk music and anthemic pop, or of Old Spice aftershave, might be rendered weak-kneed by its oceanicity.

Latest members reviews

5 stars If anyone would have told me before that I would love a sea shanty inspired folk prog album, I probably would have told them that they must have been smoking their socks. With that said, this album has indeed emotionally grabbed me. Oceans 5 Return to Mingulay The Mingulay Boat Song - a f ... (read more)

Report this review (#1143881) | Posted by Kati | Saturday, March 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm a fan of most kinds of music and listen to a lot daily. There are a couple of tests I use when listening to an album. 1: can I listen to it more than once?, 2: Can I listen to it all the way through in the car? The answer to both these questions is an enthusiastic YES. This album is br ... (read more)

Report this review (#1136215) | Posted by Acousticdreamer | Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This record has got a fine reputation from other reviewers and of course they made me curious to find out how thir record worked on me. Andy John Bradford is a British singer/songwriter who sings and seems to have written these compositions. This record "Return to Mingulay" from 2013 by Oceans ... (read more)

Report this review (#1074496) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, November 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 ~ Return To Mingulay Normally when one thinks of a genre and decides to waffle over a sub-genre for an album... they will eventually pigeon hole it somewhere. That is how many minds work. Those who do suffer from genre overload will be happy to know that ther ... (read more)

Report this review (#1065837) | Posted by Scott Brownstone | Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can I say about this Album!!! It is STUNNING to coin a word. From the opening track with the atmospheric guitars, seaguls, and fantastic guitar work brought by the fabulous (God) known as Colin Tench (Bunchakeze, CTP, The Mintstrels Ghost) The album mainly focuses on the sea and a dream ... (read more)

Report this review (#1065784) | Posted by Moonintroll | Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Return to Mingulay'. What an album. I feel like I'm being a little biased towards it, considering I was involved in its creation. On the other hand, I think I can objective about the album as a whole. Some may not consider it strictly prog. And they'd be right. It is not. It's not prog folk eit ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064353) | Posted by AndresGuazzelli | Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A stunning and wonderful listen. Is it Prog Folk or Crossover Prog? Who cares, really. It's just darn good music. I love the title track with it's spooky sea opening as well as many of the other tracks..especially Invictus and Open Hands. The vocals put me much in mind of The Strawbs, which is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1063929) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oceans 5... Five completely different persons from 5 different countries. Can they make an album? Oh yes, they can! But how is that possible? It's made possible by modern technology of course, but most of all by the individuals who contributed on this album. Any person that has worked on this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1063596) | Posted by Ier | Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow, what to say about Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5. I admit I didn't know what to expect from this. I'm a fan of all the musicians, who all have other bands (Bradford solo, Colin Tench from BunChakeze, Corvus Stone & Odin of London, Victor Tassone of Unified Past, Stef Flaming of Murky Red, Mar ... (read more)

Report this review (#1062540) | Posted by schleif | Saturday, October 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 project entitled Return to Mingulay is such a pleasure to ones ears. The pedigree that makes up this band is most impressive. Starting with Mr. Bradford himself on his magical 12 string and giving this project a voice. Colin Tench a wizard on the guitar who's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059984) | Posted by brotherraven | Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being a new member to Progarchives I chose to do my first review on the most recent CD I have purchased which was Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay. I enjoy listening to all types of music from rock, prog, metal and blues and am always seeking out new music to enjoy. Being a vi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059545) | Posted by Geddygirl | Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is what it says on the website "The surprise album of 2013 will surely be Return to Mingulay by Oceans 5" . I have been following most of these musicians in other bands for a while and this album really is not something that would be expected from any of them. Listen to Unified past, Corvus Sto ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059544) | Posted by Tatiana Ferreira | Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First and foremost the disclaimer. I am not a musicain, reviewer(at the level of some other fine folks on PA). I am a listener, listener of prog rock. Now that being said I just finished up Oceans 5 Return to Mingulay. Now hearing tidbits of it on facebook and other sources I was mildly impr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059459) | Posted by progrocks2112 | Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Progressive Rock is a genre of music that is split into myriad different sub-genres. Each sub-genre is both alike, and different from every other genre (if that makes any sense at all), but one I haven't heard a lot of is Progressive-Folk, and Andy John Bradford's Ocean 5 is just that. And the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1056248) | Posted by YtseRob2112 | Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Return to Mingulay is in my opinion a very beautiful mix of styles. Traditional folk songs in a nice prog coating, with widdling guitars and atmospheric key parts. Combined with brand new and equally beautiful tracks in the same style. But also a wonderful tune with spanish guitar, the track ... (read more)

Report this review (#1056189) | Posted by yvonne | Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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