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Mike Oldfield - Guitars CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

2.96 | 211 ratings

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3 stars Most of MIKE OLDFIELD's classic albums, not to mention live clips, leave little doubt as to which instrument would accompany him across the desert should he find himself in the middle of the Passover story. If he is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, it's really only on the guitars, and maybe those bells, those bells, that he established a singular style that permeated even his most commercial and vocal oriented work. So dedicating an album exclusively to guitar sounds doesn't seem much less exploitative than "Tubular Bells XIV" or whatever. So of course he has done so!

The album opens with the pretty "Muse", which bears resemblance to the material on the weak "Voyager", but "Cochise" resolutely dispels the notion of yet another new age album. A riff reminiscent of LED ZEPPELIN's "Whole Lotta Love" dominates, while lead guitars sear the pungent upper atmosphere of the piece. I can't say I had noticed Oldfield's idolatry of JIMMY PAGE before, but in case you somehow missed it, the riff from Led Zep's "Heartbreaker" is compressed into service by "Out of Sight". While I'm grateful to learn something new about his influences, by the time more early metal riffs appear in "B Blues" I've had quite enough, but even that's not the last time. Luckily "Four Winds" morphs from a beginning reminiscent of the storm sequence of "Hergest Ridge" to a decent epic with several distinct parts, including an almost surfer rock later theme. The main highlight here is the well named "Enigmatism", adopting the gravitas of the best Oldfield instrumentals of that time. "Out of Mind" is an infectious rock piece which I think would work well with lyrics, in a "Heaven's Open" kind of way but heavier.

While certainly not revolutionary or even a worthy introduction to this influential musician, "Guitars" includes more than enough dynamic playing to keep it from being stored in the attic along with other unwanted toys, musical or otherwise.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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