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Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay CD (album) cover


Oceans 5


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 139 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |


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