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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
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.

Matti | 3/5 |


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