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Mike Oldfield - Discovery CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

2.83 | 313 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Not a masterpiece by any means but I do find "Discovery" underrated 'cause of some pure magical moments. Three quarters of this album are conventional pop/folk songs but there's one great instrumental track entitled "The Lake". One of the best instrumentals the man's ever done in his entire career with lots of stunning melodies and great moods. Listening to this marvellous track with many mood swings and rhythm breaks you wonder why he didn't include more of this kind of brilliant stuff on this album. The highly symphonic melodies are the bridge between the very different excerpts of classical themes to reflective quiet moments to powerful rhythms of rock and folk. Like he use to, Oldfield added some great female voices singing diabolic melodies on the background. Every now and then there's some keyboard motives which refers to the exorcist excerpt of "Tubular bells". Just like on that album a lot of instruments can be found on "The Lake": bells, flutes, keyboards and a range of different types of electric and acoustic guitars. Simon Phillips handles the drums and he seems in top shape by adding some essential dynamics with percussion which found its roots in fusion. This piece de résistance alone makes it worthwhile for getting to know this album if you haven't discovered it already. Oldfield did longer tracks than this on other eighties albums but "The Lake" is the most enjoyable of the era, only Crises comes close to the beauty of this track.

For a hit single, "To France" holds the perfect mood for a romantic love story without slickness. I love this song with it's Kate Bush like melodies and folkish melody motifs. To the end of the track the delicate arrangements change into a wall of sound made of sharp acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and atmospheric keys. At the end of "To France" the dreamy sequence turns sinister as the intro of the mysterious "Poison arrow" starts to interfere. Again the folk rhythm section is heavy felt like on all the tracks. Again, take note of the excitable percussion sounds Simon Phillips provided this track from. All sorts of guitars are creating the atmosphere of paranoia quite effective even though the sinister keyboard line is helping a lot. The howling wolves are doing the rest of the job to get the listener shivers down the spine.

Other tracks on this album are barely excitable from a progressive point of view. These are decent pop tracks but nothing more. Still there's some progressive flavours like the symphonic sounding chorus of "Saved by the bell" or the exploding guitar work on the title track. Oldfield even seems to manage to use some instrumental themes of "To France" a second time for "Talk about your life". Here the vocals illustrate a typical male female argument in the emotional lyrics. Not a bad pop song.

This album deserves a three star rating for the good part. It could be described as a transitional album which has some inspiring traces of the best work of the previous decade and some worse pop influences from the disappointing albums to come.

Fishy | 3/5 |


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