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Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay CD (album) cover


Oceans 5


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 139 ratings

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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!

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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