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MAN ON THE ROCKS

Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog


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Mike Oldfield Man On The Rocks album cover
3.39 | 104 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sailing (4:46)
2. Moonshine (5:50)
3. Man On The Rocks (6:11)
4. Castaway (6:35)
5. Minutes (4:52)
6. Dreaming In The Wind (5:29)
7. Nuclear (5:04)
8. Chariots (4:39)
9. Following The Angels (7:05)
10. Irene (4:00)
11. I Give Myself Away (5:11)

Total time 59:42


Lyrics

Search MIKE OLDFIELD Man On The Rocks lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / guitars, keyboards
- Leland Sklar (Phil Collins, Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor) / bass
- John Robinson (Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Daft Punk) / drums
- Luke Spiller (the Struts) / vocals

Releases information

Monday, March 3, 2014
Label: Virgin EMI

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to lazland for the last updates
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Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
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Mercury 2014
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Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks · Import
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Import
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MIKE OLDFIELD Man On The Rocks ratings distribution


3.39
(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
28%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (20%)
20%
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)
11%

MIKE OLDFIELD Man On The Rocks reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first thing to say in this review is a health warning. If you are a person who believes that for a song to qualify as prog, it should be at least ten minutes long, and preferably twenty, or that any Mike Oldfield album that does not include at least one track of that length represents a sellout or abomination to all things prog, then it is fair to say that this new release is not for you. Do not waste your money, for you will be very upset and disappointed. Actually, best not to even read any further, go settle down, relax, and listen to some of that real prog.

For the rest of you, those open to the principle that a song based album can actually be pretty good and, well, like prog, this album might well be for you.

It is some six years since Oldfield's last release, and he had clearly entered a state of semi-retirement. However, the overwhelmingly positive response to his live appearance at the superb London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and, as clearly, the need to exorcise some inner demons that have been dormant for some time, persuaded the great man to sit down, write, get a band together, and release an album of entirely new material.

Band is the first thing, actually, to note about Man On The Rocks. It is an Oldfield band performance, rather than Oldfield doing it all. The man himself plays guitars and keyboards, but enlists the services of veteran bassist Leland Sklar (Phil Collins and CSN), drummer John Robinson (Eric Clapton), and, on vocals, Luke Spiller, of Derby indie rock band, The Struts. Yep, you read right, Oldfield has recruited an Indie singer to perform on one of his albums, which, if some comments are to be believed, represents a capital crime.

In fact, Spiller is one of the finds of the decade, and puts in one hell of a shift in on this. He has the full range, from the soft textures of the title track and Following The Angels, to the full rock pelt of Nuclear. Some have compared him to Freddie Mercury, and the comparison is not entirely a load of old spin. The way he works with Oldfield on the disturbingly catchy Minutes does, actually, invoke memories of another fine partnership Oldfield once had with a certain Maggie.

The music is fair mix of styles, from the pure, and instantly enjoyable toe-tapping, pop of opener Sailing, to the dark, heavy, and brooding Nuclear, via Celtic infused influences (similar to those found on Voyager) of Moonshine, Chariots, which could easily have found a way into a album such as Calling All Stations, and gospel influences on Following The Angels and the closer, I Give Myself Away.

The constant throughout is Oldfield's guitar work. If he had been the lead guitarist of a common or garden band, rather than the multi instrumentalist we know, I genuinely believe that we would be talking about him in the same reverential and hushed tones we reserve for the likes of Howe and Hackett. His (undoubtedly conscious) decision to restrict himself to guitars and keys allows him to shine, and this album contains some of the best trademark guitar bursts, licks, and riffs heard from him for many a year. I simply love the electric burst of Castaway, which screams and cries emotion.

I mentioned earlier inner demons. Well, the extraordinary title track, with its slow opening right to the bombastic rock pomp of the emotional outlets that follow, deals with his, and his late mother's, many addictions, the thoughtful Castaway with the fear of a child, Minutes and Chariots, with missing loved ones and separation (he is going through yet another separation and divorce), and, especially, the very dark Nuclear, the highlight of the album for me, dealing with emotional suffering, the riffs of which remind me of Blackmore at his rock peak, and put many so called heavy rock acts to shame. The other fine harder rock track is Irene, dealing with the hurricane that struck the island where Oldfield now calls home.

It is not, however, all doom and gloom. Following The Angels, the longest track at just over seven minutes, is a tribute to the Olympic Opening Ceremony, Sailing is about the joy of a life on the ocean waves, and a nice, gently performed, worship number in the closer, I Give Myself Away, written by William McDowell, a black gospel singer and preacher. I love the complex prog pop of Dreaming In The Wind, a tribute to an unknown man whose ashes were spread in the sea, but is more cheery than it might sound on reading. Actually, the word, in spite of some of the subject matter, that best describes this album is fun, in that Oldfield, I believe, had a great deal of fun and satisfaction in making it. It is not a "simple" pop album, it is the mature work of a great songwriter which grows on one with each and every listen.

Okay, so to a rating. Going back to the beginning of this review, this is not an Amarok, Bells, Incantations, or Ommadawn. It could be better compared to side two of Crises, or albums such as QE2 or Discovery, and stands up very well in comparison, so four stars for this, an album which I will play regularly for a long time. This review is of the single cd only. There is an extended version available with instrumental work.

His swan song? I know not, but, if it is, there are far worse ways to sign off.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#1142874) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2014

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I must say I was somewhat skeptical when learning of this release late 2013 but when I heard the sampler of the studio work, saw Leland Sklar in the background and Luke Spiller on vocals, I knew that this could be potentially a refreshing new release.

Mike Oldfield has always managed to cross between long epic instrumental passages with short crossover pop/prog songs. In fact he even went totally pop on the studio album Earth Moving. So what am I driving at? Albums like side two off Crises, side two off Islands, side one off Heaven's Open, Discovery and Earth Moving always had a wealth of shorter, vocally driven songs. Exclude short tracks off more definitive works like Five Miles Out or QE2. So this is Oldfield in his comfort zone, mixing a good dose of rock and crossover which results in mostly a highly enjoyable album. Cleverly composed songs with a perfect blend of Oldfield's ubiquitous guitar solo's and led with Luke Spiller's vocals. I will go one further and say that in terms of choosing a male vocalist to guest on his albums, this is by far Oldfield's shrewdest choice yet.

So what about the songs. I am thrilled to say there are no throw away tracks at all. The combination of musicianship, choruses, vocals, work a treat and flow seamlessly. Spiller is so good he allows Oldfield space to belt out his music without any pressure. There are eleven tracks on Man on the Rocks, the highlights would be Nuclear. Listen to the chorus, Spiller sounds like Greg Lake on Epitaph.......yeah that good! Moonshine and Dreaming In The Wind are excellent also as is Irene. This last track really does sound like a hurricane building to a relentless and oppressive climax. Castaway has some solid drumming by John Robinson. Leland Sklar never disappoints on bass throughout the album either. So I stick my neck out and unashamedly say this the most enjoyable studio release since TBIII. A deserved four stars and great to see Oldfield back and enjoying himself. His guitars really shine.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#1162191) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
4 stars I love this album. I really do. This new album from the legendary Mike Oldfield was an unexpected surprise for me, as I'm a big fan of his guitar work and the people he's influenced. His new album "Man on the Rocks" manages to be a wonderful, enjoyable experience. This is especially so if you don't approach this album expecting "Tubular Bells" or the like. This is an old guy doing what he loves, and I really enjoy that.

Speaking of old men, this album features many tunes that center on nostalgia and pondering the mystery of life. I love to sit back and listen to older people tell stories and pass on wisdom; I really appreciate that. This album comes across that way for me.

The music, as I said, is pure enjoyment. Mike plays his signature guitar and some keys, and he has a wonderful band and a young singer behind him. This album, however, is no prog masterpiece. It has a strong classic rock sound to much of it, and that's okay. There are also some more eclectic elements, such as island music. It's a far cry from his masterworks, but you can't expect that level of work forever. So, for the most part, the music is more simplistic, rockin', and just fun. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of soloing on the album, as there are only a few. Mike's guitars are always a high point for me, and feel that his signature sound could have been used more. But, I really can't review an album for what's NOT on it.

There are many, many good songs on here, a few amazing tracks, and one track that could have been omitted. The good songs include "Sailing", "Minutes", "Dreaming in the Wind", and a few others. The bad song, for me, includes "Irene". You see, "Irene" completely blocks my vision of the rest of the album, as I really can't stand it. It's an old-fashioned, love- struck rock tune about, you guessed it, Irene. It's very shallow compared to the rest of the album, and it's just not my thing. However, I've heard much worse.

Despite that track, Mike puts out some rather incredible tracks, too. These include the folksy "Moonshine", the climactic "Man on the Rocks", the ballad "I Give Myself Away", and the strangely addictive "Castaway" that features some drums that are pure gold and one of the best solos on the album. So, with these fantastic tunes and with some wonderful tracks surrounding them, I feel that Mike Oldfield has actually satisfied my Oldfield craving.

Is this a masterpiece? Far from it. Is it worthy of your time and money? Absolutely. It's just a fun album to hear; full of progressive tweaks, elderly wisdom and introspection, and some tracks that blew away my expectations. I hope to hear more from Mike in the future, but, if this happens to be his last, I feel that he has gone out on a high note that will provide me enjoyment for years to come.

3.5 stars

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1168254) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars How fantastic Mike Oldfield is here again with a fine record with many songs and a lot of music. This time it's 2014 and the record's name is "Man on the rocks" and we can see an opening in a rock where we see the sea on the cover picture. Mike Oldfield is the master of guitars and keyboards o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1161769) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Clean, well played, well recorded, sure. But prog not much. Heavy drums and male echoed voice in Sailing, which is basically a transposition to plain old rock of "Island" Flying Star or "Earth Moving" Hostage. Celtic influences and Guilmour-esque guitar à la "Songs of Distant Earth" in Moons ... (read more)

Report this review (#1141344) | Posted by franp | Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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