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Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay CD (album) cover

RETURN TO MINGULAY

Oceans 5

Crossover Prog


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lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oceans 5 is a brand new band lead by Andy John Bradford and Colin Tench, with support of friends in several other bands. The music is mainly melodic rock and pop, but there are strong elements of sea shanties and space-rock (Pink Floyd as the main influence in this field). The album starts off with a modern sea shanty, played in a floydian mood (vintage keyboards, aerial electric guitar, slow pace). You can hear seagulls and a storm in introduction to the song, then Andy John's voice as if it came from far away, before the band steps in and the music goes on, punctuated by a singlalong chorus. Andy John's voice is reminiscent of The Byrd's vocalist, Roger McGuinn. The music overall is also somewhat reminiscent of The Byrds. The next song is in a country-rock mood, a cheerful song with some vintage keyboards and Rothery-like guitar loops. The chorus is enlivened with some humorous piano notes. The third song on the album is a nice melodic pop song played without pretention. You could swear it is a Gerry Rafferty song if you heard it on the radio. The wakemanesque keyboards give it a prog feel though. It is followed by a somewhat proggy sea shanty song where soft guitar parts alternate with more agressive ones and keyboards can be heard sparsely all along the song. Victor Tassone feasts us with some creative drumming. Keyboards mimick the sound of accordion at times, thus reinforcing the sea shanty side of the song. In the fifth song, flute-like keys and mellotron together with acoustic guitar bring us back to the golden age of english folk, yet the song evolves towards "world music" with some creative performance by Victor, this time on percussions (similarly to some Happy The Man songs). Towards the middle of the song, keyboards add a prog-rock touch. Colin provides syncopated guitar solos, a good image would be a fly catcher, short solos as if he were attempting several times to catch flies. In the sixth song, the atmosphere is floydian with vintage keys, slow pace and aerial guitar solos. Towards the end, the keyboard solo is aerial and reminding Rick Wright in Pink Floyd's album 'The Division Bell'. The song that follows is another pop song. With its title, drums and percussions are at the centre of our attention. Overall, it sounds as it would have escaped from an AOR album of the early eighties, which is another sign of the band's eclectism. Eigth track is a rock balad featuring Pink Floyd's touring choir singer Lorelei McBroom as the backing vocalist (in the chorus) and lead female vocalist. This song can be compared to Journey's "when you love a woman" through its orchestrations and the sweet chorus. Towards the middle of the song, drums roll and Lorelei performs some solo vocal performance (no lyrics associated) like in Pink Floyd's "great gig in the sky", which adds some diversity to the song. Aerial guitar solos conclude this balad. The last song is an acoustic folk balad, with some sparse incursions of Colin's syncopated electric guitar and some "mozartian" piano touches. Occasional orchestrations reinforce the balad side of the song. At 4:00, the song turns more aggressive though, Andy John insisting more on the words of the chorus, Colin's guitar solos being more prominent and Victor showing proudly his skills on drums. It returns to calm at 5:30, and then flute-like synths give it an eerie feel until the end of the song. The artwork is performed by Sonia Mota, who already worked previously for the other Colin Tench project Corvus Stone. The cover depicts the band in a cloud, which is an obvious wink to Pink Floyd's "great gig in the sky". Similarly to Corvus Stone, she is considered as part of the band.

As a conclusion, this album is a real treat for the ears, whatever your musical tastes are. All members involved play briliantly and are experienced enough to find the right balance between technique and melody.

Report this review (#1054619)
Posted Saturday, October 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
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.

Report this review (#1055857)
Posted Monday, October 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Return to Mingulay is in my opinion a very beautiful mix of styles. Traditional folk songs in a nice prog coating, with widdling guitars and atmospheric key parts. Combined with brand new and equally beautiful tracks in the same style. But also a wonderful tune with spanish guitar, the track 6000 friends that is a lovely duet with Lorelei McBroom (I am SOOOOOO JEALOUS of that woman's voice right now!!), and even the thought of country music comes to mind sometimes. To those who don't think this qualifies as prog, I would say this is exactly what the 70's progressive rock music was all about. Artistic freedom and not limiting yourself by any one style, yet incorporating the strong rock elements of that time into the music.

To quote the reaction of a friend, which really says it all: James (53) from Michigan USA says "This is just the thing I would have listened to in my childhood, yet it's not like anything I've heard before."

Report this review (#1056189)
Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive Rock is a genre of music that is split into myriad different sub-genres. Each sub-genre is both alike, and different from every other genre (if that makes any sense at all), but one I haven't heard a lot of is Progressive-Folk, and Andy John Bradford's Ocean 5 is just that. And their debut album, "Return To Mingulay" is the best example of the sub-genre that I have ever heard.

"The Mingulay Boatsong" opens the album, and this track is simple beautiful. Vocally and musically it is everything that you would expect from a folk song, but the electric guitar adds such an amazing layer to this tune, that it leaves me speechless. The vocals are beautiful, such breathtaking harmonies here. This is a tune that won't be leaving my head in a hurry. Great start to the album.

"The Whitby Smugglers Song" is up next, and it's another great one. It has a bit of a heavier feel to it, while keeping the folk sound that permeates the album. Once again, the heavier guitars really add to the atmosphere to the song. The bass guitars and acoustic guitars sound phenomenal here, and the vocals are once again beautiful.

"Empty Hands" starts as a bit of a departure from the first two songs. Less acoustic, and more rock, but it keeps that folksy feel to it. Some really cool instrumentation in this song. Every instrument is melding together perfectly, and the song writing is top notch. I love the vocals here, they add to the song as almost another instrument. Once you throw in some amazing keyboard work, my opinion of this song is elevated to perfect status.

"Five O'Clock Line" has such a cool vibe to it. Another beautiful tune. Some really amazing keyboard work here, as well as the guitar work that has been so exceptional on the entire album. Acoustic and electric guitar just work so beautifully together here, and the guitar solo on this one is jawdropping. The rhythm section are just perfect on this tune. And the vocals are, once again, astounding, with some beautiful harmonies.

"Invictus The Captain of My Soul" is a definite folksy tune. This another really cool tune. So much going on in this song, the instrumentation is really amazing here. I just love how well the electric guitar bits fit with the acoustic atmosphere of the song. This Irish-Man really loves this song. It may not be a rocker, but it fits well with the rest of the album.

"Sails Off the Bay" kicks off with some beautiful acoustic guitar work that really set the mood for this piece of music. Add in some perfectly placed electric bits, and once again you've got something really cool here. Some of the best vocals on the album are in this song. As I've come to expect with this album, there is so much great instrumentation in this song. This one is a definite foot tapper. Great song!

"Dancing With the Rhythm of the Shore" starts off with an intro that wouldn't sound out of place on a Frank Zappa record, a very cool intro. When the whole band kicks in, it's evident to me that this song is destined to be a classic. Once again the vocals are just amazing, and the guitar work so well together. I just love the way the electric guitar add a whole new dimension to these otherwise very acoustic pieces. They sound perfect. Some great keyboard work here, as well, and that is always a plus for me.

"6000 Friends" is something that all fans of Pink Floyd need to check out. For this tune, we get a guest appearance from Lorelei McBroom, who had performed with the post Roger Waters era Floyd. She sounds phenomenal on this tune. The song itself is a bit of an upbeat ballad tune, and a very satisfying one at that. Musically this is a phenomenal song (with some amazing guitar work, that even David Gilmour himself would have to love). Even without Lorelei, this song would have been perfect, as vocally it is just so beautiful. With the addition of Lorelei this song soars to legendary status.

"Fly Away" closes out this amazing album, and it is the song I would have chosen to close the album too. It just has that finale sort of vibe to it. Some amazingly beautiful acoustic guitar / piano work on this song, and the vocals on top of them sound just so perfect. This tune gives me goosebumps, with the vocal harmonies, and majestic instrumentation. Such a delicate song.

"Return To Mingulay" is a definite contender for album of the year in my eyes. This album is perfect for fans of folk, progressive rock, and anybody who loves a well crafted musical work of art. There is not a dull moment on this entire disc. And also, not to be missed, is the phenomenal artwork by the amazing Sonia Mota. The graphics are so incredible and fit the mood of the album just perfectly. I would be very surprised if I didn't include this album in my top ten of 2013.

I am a DJ for the online radio station www.shmusicmedia.com This review will be posted there soon.

Report this review (#1056248)
Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No, Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 is not a movie featuring Damon, Pitt, Roberts, Clooney and company but a melodious progressive-pop-folk affair that owes its merits by being lathered with superlative musicians, from the incredible (and utterly funny) Colin Tench on guitars, the scintillating keys of Marco Chiappini, Stef Flaming on bass and the sadistic New York shuffle from Vic Tassone on the drum kit. Singer/songwriter Andy John Bradford is a typical British troubadour in the fine tradition of past legends Al Stewart, Roy Harper, John Martyn, Gerry Rafferty, Dave Cousins or current master Guy Manning. So what do we have here to munch on, you ask? A catalogue of fresh, exciting, memorable and accessible songs, built with sonic precision and a modicum of grace and elegance. No hint of pretention or abusive hysterics, most songs are in 6-7 minute range, leaving a lot of scope for musical politesse.

"The Mingulay Boat Song" has an effects-laden windswept intro, sea squalls, gulls squeaking, and a lilting vocal that recalls the classics mentioned above, Tench providing some sizzling axe frills. A definite Fairport Convention/British folk feel permeates the tune, sing along chorus and all. Something you would join in at the pub, warm beer in hand! Come on everyone, join the sway?..

"The Whitby Smugglers Song" is a fine example of the worth at play here, sharp guitar rasps and technical acoustic decorations supply the solid foundation for Bradford to sing his story, a country song from Albion, with a slight the Byrds tinge. Now, I am generally not a fan of such lightweight material but the raucous accompaniment shows off undisputable sonic talent (Oh, Colin, you rock!).

"Empty Hands" has a definite Rafferty?feel (as commented on by Lucas), flourishing keyboard work and stinging country guitar 'kerrangs'. Bradford takes it easy, a sweet little ditty that sticks in your nodes. Cool guitar solo again from the axe madman! "Five O'clock Line" is a highlight track, full of gentle resoluteness and inspired expression, Bradford singing with unabashed emotion, a tremendous track that seduces you from the get-go, no messing about. A simply lovely song in all its components, with a little bizarre thrown in at the end.

The brief but bouncy "Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore" has an instantly comfortable feel, very much like Guy Manning's work, again allied to some scintillating guitar work (Oh, Colin , you roll!) , great fun tune.

"Invictus Captain of my Soul" is a delightful and serene ditty, slight Irish feel but loaded up with some strong electric guitar messaging and dense percussives from the New Yorker. Sensational backing choir work, repeating "never giving up" ad infinitum. Love this track!

"Sails of the Bay" has 'guitarra española' to start off, developing into a mercurial melody where Colin screeches in like only he can (pop guitarist, really?) and spurts out a series of delirious axe solos for the ages. On the whole we are once again very close to Guy Manning's body of work, a folky story with a strong personal edge. How can one not appreciate such honesty? Okay so it's not Math Rock, nor does it pretend to be. Fun, fun, fun.

The immaculate beauty of "6000 Friends" is something to behold, a melody that would redden Steve Wilson's 'blackfielded' cheeks, a heartfelt urgency that will get you in the gut ("She's got 6000 friends but no one to love". Fantastically simple lyrics and brilliant delivery but its closest companion would be Roxy Music's classic song 'Avalon', complete with the Yannick Etienne-Like wail, the sterling howling vocals a la Great Gig in the Sky come from Lorelei McBroom (a live PF backing vocalist). The outgoing orchestrations and Colin's blowout punch are immaculate.

"Fly Away" is the Everest here, a stellar track lush with classy piano, a breathlessly exasperated vocal, a melody to expire over and gentle fragility. The arrangement slowly increases in power and feeling, becoming a rather impressive prog-rock rant with sublime playing (fret and ivory work) and tremendous bass and drums. This was the clincher for me! Absolute genius stuff! What a way to build an album, from strength to higher strength, culminating in an apoplectic explosion of pleasure.

One should not judge by what it should have been but what it is, in all its simplicity. A fine, up-beat, enjoyable and happy recording, something to illuminate that dark path our lonely world seems to currently favor, where algorithms rule the masses with apparent impunity. Fans of all the mentioned will lap this puppy up.

Brilliant artwork from the seductive Sonia Mota ( Bom dia!) , who has adorned her talent on the Corvus Stone project as well. "Ich liebe dich auch, Kati! "

4.75 googles (whatever that means! )

Report this review (#1058947)
Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars First and foremost the disclaimer. I am not a musicain, reviewer(at the level of some other fine folks on PA). I am a listener, listener of prog rock. Now that being said I just finished up Oceans 5 Return to Mingulay. Now hearing tidbits of it on facebook and other sources I was mildly impressed from those small samplings. Oceans 5 consists of Andy John Bradford Vocals and 12 string acoustic guitar, the incomparable Colin Tench on Guitars (CORVUS STONE, BUNCHAKEZE, THE MINSTREL'S GHOST), Stef Flaming on Bass (Murky Red), Victor Tassone on Drums (Unified Past) and last but certainly not least Marco Chiappini on keyboards (THE MINSTREL'S GHOST & GANDALF's PROJECT). Also note Lorelei McBroom (Great Gig In The Sky)on 6000 Friends. Andres Guazzelli also was involved with as well on 2 tracks. When I listen to a cd I listen one track at a time, multiple times to form my opinion. this is my method of madness. Then the whole thing in its entirety for the flow. This time was a bit odd considering I was actually having a chat with Colin during this process. Now its one thing to hear a song and to think yeah I do like this but one thing that has always evaded me were the lyrics without the music. Thanks to Colin I was able to read thru and listen again knowing the 2nd time I read the "story" forehand. This cd is nothing like the bits I have listened as noted above. It is much better then I had anticipated. The Mingulay Boatsong has a great opening with the thunder and the gulls, and the softly entering vocals of Andy. Colins guitar works are as anyone fan of his would expect. He is a genius IMO on the tool of his trade. This track reminds me of a church I used to live near. An all black church where you could here them singing a block away. This song has that ability to get one to sing along. The Whitby Smugglers Song is a country flair type track. I may be crazy but at times I hear similarities of Rafferty in this track. Its what I hear and may or may not reflect others opinions. Empty Hands is a curious one for me. Its more rockish then the prior tracks altho still leans on the intent of a folk song. I find it to be a sad song actually about a gal who just isnt worthy of people passing her by.. Five O"clock lIne is one of my favs on the cd. Subtle keyboards is the ingredient that pulls this together along with Colins guitar work. All about the past and the thoughts that one should/would invoke while listening to this track. Invictus the captain of my soul is another track which has me a bit perplexed. Is it folky or more of a celtic track? That being said it does get my toes a tapping. Sails off the bay is another fav on this cd.. it has the longest bit of instrumentation that any of the tracks. this is something i always look forward to in any song. Dancing With the Rhythm of the Shore starts of very funky, something from..hmm not sure maybe a zappa track? again maybe im just crazy but it does have a funky start to it but ends up going off in the same direction as the cd is meant to...folk. 6000 Friends is a song iI can personally relate to. Colin knows the reason/story behind this statement. the fact that the song is true to its words is really disheartening. That being said this track has "The Great Gig In The Sky" gal Ms McBroom which adds an element of stardom for this track. Some things ,like wine get better with age as does MS McBroom. Which now leads us to Fly Away my favorite track on the entire cd. This track brings the entire cd together. a great choice to end the cd with as iI find it to be the STRONGEST of them all. vocals,guiater keys bass it all works in such a way it makes you wanna brutz. (Brutz pa dutch for shedding a tear). In the end I find this cd is very worthy of EVERYONE adding it to their collection. It has reminded me of many things,Rafferty at some point the Byrds and Andy Powell on the latest Wishbone ash cd track Elegant Stealth.

This is my view on this cd,like it or not it belongs to my feelings and my ears. I do not put things down that are to kiss anyone's behind or to pump up egos. If i dont like something take my word I am very vocal about it. This I do Like very much. So I will do my best to promote this outstanding effort by a group of misfits. Anything to do with Colin Tench has MISFIT written all over it. No Offense Colin and mates. This cd is imo not prog as we know prog,or as I know prog but it balances prog with folk maybe a bit of country like a seesaw perfectly balanced in the center!!!! NOTE..I AM A TERRIBLE TYPER AND HAVE NO REASON TO LEARN HOW TO TYPE BETTER AND MAKE THE NEEDED ADJUSTMENTS SINCE IT WAS WRITTEN IN NOTE PAD AND TOO MUCH WORK TO GO BACK AND FIX!!!! LOL

Report this review (#1059459)
Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is what it says on the website "The surprise album of 2013 will surely be Return to Mingulay by Oceans 5" . I have been following most of these musicians in other bands for a while and this album really is not something that would be expected from any of them. Listen to Unified past, Corvus Stone and then this. Have they gone mad? Is this a folk band? IMHO NO! Also, how did they get one of the McBroom sisters( Pink Floyd ) on here! This is an amazing album that could be enjoyed by anybody. There is no best track for me. I get the feeling from many of the songs that I have heard such a song before but none of them are really alike. Mingulay boat song, Sails off the bay and 6000 friends are all dramatic. Empty hands is classic rock. 3 of the songs sound like they are designed to make you dance and laugh. It is the sort of collection of songs that would convert a non music lover into a prog fan. Perfect!
Report this review (#1059544)
Posted Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being a new member to Progarchives I chose to do my first review on the most recent CD I have purchased which was Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay. I enjoy listening to all types of music from rock, prog, metal and blues and am always seeking out new music to enjoy. Being a visual artist (paint, jewelry, mixed mediums) I find I do my best work when the music is stimulating my inner soul. My technical musical talent is nil and my love for certain music is based off the emotions created and felt while listening. I listen to albums several times before creating personal opinions as I want the music to "grow on me" and allow it to permeate my soul.

Return to Mingulay is a musical ear gem more precious than any found on earth. The ability to create a feeling of being on a ocean bay....feeling the waves, smelling the salt air, feeling sand on your feet is remarkable. I love music that soothes and makes my spirit feels good. This album's combination of great musicianship, lyrics that speak to the heart and quality production gives me eargasms!!!

I could individually give accolades to each of the member of this musical band. Each special and talented, but I truly think the synergy of all of them together is what makes it unique and so enjoyable.

My favorite tracks are:

1) Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore : Quirky in parts but made me smile :)

2) 6000 Friends: Amazing voice of Ms.Lorelei McBroom, the lyrics, the music ~~ just WOW

3) Fly Away: These words touch on a personal aspect of my life that was felt at the very deepest depths of my heart. It is hard to describe in words.

Special shout out to Colin Tench, as by discovering the music of Minstrel's Ghost, Bunchakeze, Corvus Stone and now Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 has filled my life with great music, new friends and excellent radio webcasts. Colingirl gives you 5 stars :)

And kudo's to Sonia Moto ~~~ you rule as an artist and I am inspired by your work. <3

Report this review (#1059545)
Posted Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 project entitled Return to Mingulay is such a pleasure to ones ears. The pedigree that makes up this band is most impressive. Starting with Mr. Bradford himself on his magical 12 string and giving this project a voice. Colin Tench a wizard on the guitar who's magic can also be heard on Corvus Stone, and The Minstrel's Ghost to name a few of his numerous projects.Marco Chiapini's keyboards lay down a wonderful rhythm throughout. Marco's talents can also be heard on his other projects from Gandalf's Project and The Minstrel's Ghost. Murky Red's Bassist Stef Flemming adds his talents to this project along with Unified Past's Victor Tassone drumming backbeat. Lorelei McBroom: who's credits include working with the mighty Pink Floyd lends her voice to 6000 friends and also making an appearance to round out this project is Andres Guazzelli: on Piano and orchestration. With a merry band of talented performers merge their talents we get a special treat that is this project. I had the pleasure of hearing some of the songs prior to the release of this cd and knew I was being treated indeed.

The songs are a refreshing batch of songs that are light and like a cool sea breeze on a spring day walking on a white sandy beach. The nautical theme is evident throughout most of the tracks on the album. The Mingulay Boatsong opening with a stormy rain storm immerses one in the nautical feel and The Whitby Smugglers Song continues the whole feel of the project were two of the tracks I had the pleasure of previewing prior to the full release kick off the album and set the listeners up for what is the follow. Andy's smooth voice is such a pleasure along with Colin's fine guitarwork...the rest of the band joins in and fleshes out the songs With the Whitby Smugglers song one cold easily see a tavern full of revalers singing along with a flagon of mead raised high Empty Hands a sad song of love lost, , Five O'clock Line, Invictus The Captain of my Soul with it's wonderful bass and drumm interplay come up next and were all new to me and such a pleasure to see how the magic from the opening two tracks continues on. Next up are Sails off the Bay with it's haunting guitar solo and Dancing with Rhythm of the shore lead us to the "Big" song on the album...6000 Friends a take on this modern world and Social Networks where we are also treated by the mighty voice of Ms. McBroom. The song is such a true reflection on the world we now live in Closing out the phenomenal album is Fly Away soothing words are a fitting finale for this wonderful project

Report this review (#1059984)
Posted Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
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!

Report this review (#1060068)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, what to say about Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5. I admit I didn't know what to expect from this. I'm a fan of all the musicians, who all have other bands (Bradford solo, Colin Tench from BunChakeze, Corvus Stone & Odin of London, Victor Tassone of Unified Past, Stef Flaming of Murky Red, Marco Chiappini of Gandalf's Project).

However, one doesn't need to be a fan or even know of these other projects to enjoy "Return to Mingulay". I'm not a fan of genre classifications, which is good, as this album is a mix of styles, that works perfectly. Is it folky prog? Is it proggy folk? It's wonderful music, played with heart and soul by great musicians.

Opening with the old Scottish sea chanty, "The Mingulay Boat Song", one can tell this is not going to be an ordinary experience. I've heard various versions, including one by of my idols, Richard Thompson, and the Oceans 5 version is right up there, drawing you into practically being on the ship, sailing home to Mingulay.

The second song, "The Whitby Smuggler's Song," has the feel of a classic UK folk song, but the band, including Tench's guitar leads, draw away from Bradford's rhythm to "stretch" the folk boundary, with almost Gilmourish flourishes, within the smoothness of the folk rhythm.

To complete the Gilmour reference, Lorelei McBroom, who has sung with the 90s touring version of Pink Floyd and is currently in the excellent cover band The Australian Pink Floyd (I saw them in New York City 10 years ago, with a large kangaroo instead of a pig above the stage) guests with band on "6000 Friends", adding vocal flourishes to Bradford's solid vocals, reminiscent of Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky".

The album's closing track "Fly Away" sums up the album, a poignantly beautiful original "folk" tune with all its progressive additions, mixing Tench's electric lead w/Bradford's acoustic rhythm, and what I'm guessing is string orchestration by guest Andres Guazzelli.

The musicianship on all nine songs is great. From Bradford's vocals and rhythm, to Flaming and Tassone's rock steady, yet explorative, bass and drums to Chiappini's perfectly timed keyboard flourishes to Tench's soaring lead guitar work (and production).

I've pre-ordered the CD, which comes with a digital download, including a .jpg of Sonia Mota's wonderful cover picture. I look forward to seeing more of her artwork when the CD is delivered. If I had to have one criticism, sometimes Tassone and Flaming's rhythms are low in the mix, at least to my taste. But that shouldn't dissuade you from listening to this wonderful music.

The bottom line, if you're a fan of good music, if you're a fan of these musicians, or if you're not and want to hear something new and original, with odes to various influences, this is an album worth hearing. I'm already waiting for their next album.

Report this review (#1062540)
Posted Saturday, October 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Andy John Bradford is an English folk singer-songwriter. For this album he invited Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, Minstrel's Ghost, BunChakese, etc) to help him out. Other members of other bands joined in and they made this album, under the name Oceans 5. Bradford wanted to re-work a 200 year old sea shanty called the "Mingulay Boatsong." Andy plays acoustic 12-string guitar and the songs here are generally based on his playing and vocals. Mostly acoustic guitar and rhythm section-based, although there is lots of versatile electric guitar playing from Colin and some keyboards as well (including a bit of synth). The music can be described as British folk-rock for the most part with some proggy influences. Some tracks are proggish while others are not prog at all.

On the "Mingulay Boatsong" a sea shanty is turned into something that could fit on Floyd's The Division Bell! The chorus of "Empty Hands" reminds me of American folk-rock, specifically The Byrds. "Dancing With The Rhythm Of The Shore" has some funny sound effects at the beginning. One of the better songs here but it is in a pop-rock/hard rock style. "Invictus Captain Of My Soul" is the standout track to my ears. Great song, sounds like a cross between Mike Oldfield and The Moody Blues. Nice synth melodies and percussion. The vocals are very good and catchy as well. "6000 Friends" is more bluesy sounding than the other songs and features Lorelei McBroom on vocals, who has toured with Pink Floyd amongst others. Unfortunately, I find this one of the weakest songs - both musically and lyrically. "Fly Away" is one of the longer tracks but it gets more interesting as it goes along. There is also a single version but the album version is superior.

Not a bad song here but this might not be what some prog fans are looking for. The music sometimes reminds me of the Canadian band Blue Rodeo, however the vocals are 100% British folk-rock. Andy's vocals are sometimes treated with studio effects which makes a nice change once in awhile. If every song here was a strong as "Invictus" I would be tempted to give the album 4 stars. As it is I will give it 3 stars, good but not essential.

Report this review (#1063329)
Posted Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oceans 5... Five completely different persons from 5 different countries. Can they make an album? Oh yes, they can! But how is that possible? It's made possible by modern technology of course, but most of all by the individuals who contributed on this album. Any person that has worked on this album is a talented musician. Mix those different, talented musicians together and you get Oceans 5!

Is this really a "prog" album? I say it leans more towards folk music with a lot of "proggy" influences. I'm not saying that I do not like it because it is not 100% prog, I think it's just a fantastic album! My absolute favorite track is "6000 Friends". This song gives me goosebumps, especially when Lorelei McBroom's voice kicks in.

Report this review (#1063596)
Posted Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars A stunning and wonderful listen. Is it Prog Folk or Crossover Prog? Who cares, really. It's just darn good music. I love the title track with it's spooky sea opening as well as many of the other tracks..especially Invictus and Open Hands. The vocals put me much in mind of The Strawbs, which is never a bad thing. And a thank you to my new Facebook friend, Colin Tench, for some inspiring and great guitar work. A classic album for 2013, my favorite of the year along with Big Big Train's English Electric 2. Hoping for a second album soon from this bunch. Cheers!
Report this review (#1063929)
Posted Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Return to Mingulay'. What an album. I feel like I'm being a little biased towards it, considering I was involved in its creation. On the other hand, I think I can objective about the album as a whole.

Some may not consider it strictly prog. And they'd be right. It is not. It's not prog folk either. Return to Mingulay is a sum of hundreds of influences, experiences and approaches. Masterly produced by Colin Tench, Oceans 5 created an album worthy of passing the test of time. It is, truly, an ageless album. You could've listened to it in the 70s, or the 2010s, and it doesn't get old, boring. It's the exact same opposite. Each time I listen to it, I like it more and more. It's an album meant to STAY.

It's not easy to have people from all over the world, all with different approaches to music, different creative processes and different mindsets, but they made it work. Everyone contributed to the album's excellence. Andy John Bradford is a superb songwriter and a truly passionate vocalist; Stef Flaming from Murky Red is probably the "rockiest" of the bunch, and really adds that rocky heaviness to each track; Victor Tassone from Unified Past and Marco Chiappini from Gandalf's Project are the responsables of the album's prog sound, each on its own instrument. Victor has a natural sense of dynamics & dramatics and his drumming style really shows, while Marco is a fabulous arranger and has a special sensibilty about his keyboard playing. Beautiful Mellotron melodies and haunting atmospheric textures. Delightful. And then you have Colin Tench. One of the busiest guys in prog today. He may not like it, he may not acknowledge it, but the guy is a genius. Not only on his guitar ability, which is unquestionable, but on the producing and mixing job. Producing an album like this is one hell of a job, and Colin made it work.

And then you have Lorelei McBroom, one of the world's greatest vocalist. There's nothing else I could say about her that hasn't been said for the past 20 years. She's simply amazing, and one of the nicest persons you'll ever meet.

It was truly a team effort. Everyone contributed, everyone helped, everyone was at the top of their game. Everyone really knows their craft, and it shows.

There isn't one weak song on this album, and that's something incredibly hard to achieve. Everything was carefully handcrafted. While I have a soft spot for the two tracks I played on, "Five O' Clock Line', "Invictus Captain of my Soul", and "Mingulay Boatsong" are absolute masterpieces.

I was asked by Colin Tench and Andy John Bradford himself to add grand piano to 'Fly Away' and then an orchestral background to support Andy's and Lorelei's vocals on '6000 Friends'.

Looking back, I can't say anything else than thank you for letting me be a part of this album, and the most important thing, I would STILL love it even if I wasn't on it.

Report this review (#1064353)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about this Album!!! It is STUNNING to coin a word. From the opening track with the atmospheric guitars, seaguls, and fantastic guitar work brought by the fabulous (God) known as Colin Tench (Bunchakeze, CTP, The Mintstrels Ghost) The album mainly focuses on the sea and a dream of taking sail. with vocals to match the amazing musicianship that all the musicians show in this brilliant album. Italso features the talents of Stef Flaming (Murky Red) Marco Chiapini (Gandalfs Project, The Minstrels Ghost) Victor Tassone (Unified Past) Vocals come from Andy John Bradford ( A Solo Singer/Songwriter and the man behind most of the songs) The Album was mixed by the brilliant Colin Tench who thuogh still learning techniques, has clearly got a flare for mixing and mastering. This is BEAUTIFULLY MIXED ALBUM with a WALL OF SOUND filling your ears from the very first note.

Highlight tracks for me? They have to be Empty hands, with fabulous lyrics, 6000 Friends who also feature the vocals of Lorelei McBroom of Pink Floyd fame, and Rod Stewart fame, plus the Rolling Stones, (to name a few) It goes to show that quality attracts quality. The other highlight for me was the quirky Invictus Captain of my soul with strong and rhythmic percussion mixed with well thought out keyboards which lead the song all the way through.

This is a very well thought out Album, it flows at a nice pace and you never find yourself skipping from track to track. It is a feel good Album, pure entertainment, pure passion, pure Joy!!!

I can't recomend it enough which is why I give it 5 stars!!! BUY IT

Report this review (#1065784)
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 ~ Return To Mingulay

Normally when one thinks of a genre and decides to waffle over a sub-genre for an album... they will eventually pigeon hole it somewhere. That is how many minds work.

Those who do suffer from genre overload will be happy to know that there is no genre for the album. Give it a good listen and I think you will agree.

Return to Mingulay is accessible to all ages and audiences. It can be listened to anywhere and with anyone. Whether it is with three generations of family around the fire or in your car while driving to work. Every track is a pleasure to listen to and there is no need to listen to every track in order as is often the case in "prog" releases.

Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5 is the brainchild of AJB. He has surrounded himself with like minded and goodhearted musicians who have each added their own flavor to the mix. This is not your average group. Special guests musicians such as Lorelei McBroom of Australian Pink Floyd and Andres Guazzelli add even more to this great mix.

Colin Tench of Corvus Stone/BunChakeze/CTP Marco Chiapinni of Gandalf's Project Stef Fleming of Murky Red and Victor Tassone of Unified past are all brilliant in their own right.

Yes, we may know it is Andy's voice and not Lorelei's and we may say things like "hmmm that is a Colin Tench riff there", but none of the tracks sound like anything I have heard from any of the above mentioned artists/bands.

There is no way to explain the likability factor of this album even to myself. Something just sticks and you wake up with it in your head and before you know it you're singing it in the shower. It's happened to me and sometimes I shake my head and say "this can't be happening". I suspect subliminal messages.

6000 Friends should be a released as a single if it hasn't already in this reviewers humble opinion; however, each song on "Return to Mingulay" stands alone so there is the possibility that some single releases may be warranted.

Additionally, the flow of the album is amazing if you enjoy listening to something in it's entirety as I do.

Sonia Mota (aka Oceans 6th) created the spectacular Album Cover Artwork. The knowledge of Mingulay combined with her knowledge of music / history create a vivid accompaniment to the music. The ship moving towards what seems it's inevitable end. Their shining countenances from on high saying... " HA,,, Not this time! "

Make time to take a good look at the art whilst listening. There is much more than than meets the eye on first take. Here is where I feel comfortable using the word "prog". The depth and meaning of the art is reminiscent of many classic "prog" albums because it allows the viewers/listeners to decide for themselves what means what.

Discussing each tracks individual nuances or going on about my opinions of what sounds like this group and so on seems counterproductive. Instead I'd like to simply suggest that you just enjoy the music and art and take away from it your feelings and thoughts. That is why these great people got together and made this masterpiece.

They certainly didn't do it because they wanted to send a message to the world or make money. They did it for all of us and for the love of music and the arts.

Their soulfulness is clear once you decide to listen and not just hear.

Sea shanty music this is not. Songs that will stand the test of time and harmonies that will make your spine tingle are in your near future.....

Report this review (#1065837)
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This record has got a fine reputation from other reviewers and of course they made me curious to find out how thir record worked on me. Andy John Bradford is a British singer/songwriter who sings and seems to have written these compositions. This record "Return to Mingulay" from 2013 by Oceans 5 is 53 minutes long and is played by Andy John Bradford(vocals and 12 string guitarist), Colin Tench(guitars), Stef Flaming(bass), Victor Tassone(drums and percussion) and Marco Chiappini(keyboards). With the artwork and especially the name I had wanted more of folk in this rock.

The first track was really enjoyable. "The Mingulay Boatsong" is an old famous ballad which I like very much and this was a different version of it. The singing was traditional and I enjoyed the vocal and beside a traditional approach the additional instrumentation was progressive. Though do I prefer even more traditional versions of the song. This was unfortunately the best song of the album. That folk approach do I miss on the rest. Next track "The Whitby smugglers song" was also enjoyable and I would classify it as something as unusual as country prog. Then comes a bunch of both decent and quite boring tracks of which "Invictus Captain of my soul" is a great track, the instrumentation is praisable such as in "Fly away". I consider the tracks seven and eight the least interesting tracks.

I am glad others appreciated this record but I didn't do it very much. I like something in the concept: a prog band and a singer/songwriter but I don't find it progressive, unfortunately. The balance of progressivity wasn't in my very taste. As I wrote first track is interesting, now I'm going further to listen to something else.

Report this review (#1074496)
Posted Saturday, November 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An album of nice Southern (or perhaps Country) Folk Rock in the vein of THE BAND, THE OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS, or THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, perhaps even The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Guy Manning or the Dixie Dregs, with some exceptional electric guitar soloing from the exquisitely talented Colin Tench, no more, no less. But, is this really prog? I think not. While I could recommend this music to standard rock music lovers, this is not something I would recommend to the PA crowd of progressive rock music lovers.

Favorite songs: "Sails Off The Bay" and "6000 Friends."

3 stars: Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#1075046)
Posted Sunday, November 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Colin Tench asked me to hear his most recently project he was working on. I really didn´t know anything about this group, neither was I aware of the work of singer/songwriter Andy john Bradford. However, I was quite pleased with what I heard: a kind of mix of folk, country, rock, prog and pop, all lead by Bradford´s laid back vocals and his 12 string acoustic guitar. On all the tracks he is backed by a very good group of musicians that includes, of course, Colin Tench on guitar, Marco Chiappini (keyboards), Stef Flaming (bass) and Victor Tassone (drums), plus Andres Guazzelli on piano and orchestrations. The results are quite charming, melodic and convincing, specially if you like folk rock. So the likes of Neil Young, early Al Stewart, Fairport Convention and the like comes to mind (a feeling quite enhanced by the use of 70´s vintage keyboards timbres). Still, the music here is quite original.

I´m sure a lot of people on ProgArchives will not like Oceans 5 music: they will probably say it is too melodic, too straight ahead folksy and/or too predicable. Granted, there is very little prog in here: the songs are short, rarely going beyond the five minute mark, and as all the folk based stuff is, the importance given to the narrative is paramount. so there is not much space for long solos or tempo changes and complicated arrangements. However, with excellent musicans like that, those spaces are very well used every time they do show, with Tench and Chiappini filling in with tasteful and skilled guitar and keyboards lines, while the rhythm section gives a strong base to pump up the songs to new heights.

There are no real highlight on this CD: all the songs are all very good and the tracklist is quite harmonic. But if you asked me what my favorites songs on this album is I´ll probably cite the slightly different Dancing With The Rhythm Of The Shore and the beautiful, plaintive Sails Off The Bay (VERY nice Gilmour-like solo here, Colin!), two very strong tunes where the musicians show what they can do inside a simple, but efficient, song structure. The production is simply perfect, with all the voices and instruments very well balanced (again the feeling of a modern version of a 70´s very organic recording comes to mind).

So, if you like folk rock, or anything very melodic and tasteful, this is surely an album to get. I was tempted to rate this album 3 stars since there is hardly ony "real" prog in it (as for symphonic prog or RIO fans are concerned). Personally I´d give 4,5 stars. So a 4 star rating is maybe a little high for this site, but still I recommend this CD to any prog lover who, like me, thinks that great melodies and some simplicity are not an insult to prog.

Report this review (#1077295)
Posted Friday, November 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars Now, I am a proghead and a metalhead, but to be honest my tastes are actually way more diverse and complex than that, so while the only framed record on my study wall is a 60 year old jazz album, I also listen to and enjoy folk music. Not just folk rock you understand, but good old fashioned folk, and have been known to attend folk clubs (and not just for the real ale). So, when I was presented with this album I was somewhat intrigued as the two main protagonists are from quite different areas as while Andy John Bradford (vocals, 12 string) is a folkie, guitarist Colin Tench is a proghead with a tendency to pull off wonderful runs and plenty of riffs. So what are they doing together?

Apparently Andy wanted to record a version of the 200 years old "Road To Mangulay", and had so much fun with Colin that they decided to make it a project and bring in some others to join in the hilarity. But, in fact this is no laughing matter, as what we have here is an album that in many ways defies normal description, but that's not going to stop me from trying.

At the heart of this album is Andy, and if you just listen to his guitar and vocals and block out everything else you will find music and vocals that could have come straight from the mighty Show of Hands, minus the fiddle. In fact, that one band kept coming to mind as I listened to this, and I kept thinking of the lyrics to "Roots" from 'Witness', "A minister said his vision of hell, is three folk singers in a pub near Wells". Well, I wonder what he would have thought of this as this is folk Jim, but not as we know it. So, firstly they brought together a band to give this a much fuller sound, and then decided to let Colin have his way. There are times when he is hardly playing, just the odd touch here and there, and others where he is right in your face and the combination of folk, prog and classic rock come crashing together into something that very special indeed.

If I had to pick just one prog band as a reference then it would be Floyd, especially with some of the Gilmour style noodlings, and they convinced Lorelei McBroom to add some of her very special vocals to "6000 Friends". But, that is just one standout track among many, and if like me you have eclectic tastes, or if you just enjoy great music whatever the style then take it from me this is immediate, accessible, and above all an incredible piece of work. For more details visit www.bunchakeze.com/Oceans5.php - you won't regret it.

Report this review (#1091636)
Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
Matti
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.

Report this review (#1093993)
Posted Saturday, December 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm a fan of most kinds of music and listen to a lot daily. There are a couple of tests I use when listening to an album. 1: can I listen to it more than once?, 2: Can I listen to it all the way through in the car? The answer to both these questions is an enthusiastic YES. This album is brilliant with a fresh and hugely entertaining look at a couple of old traditionals "The Mingulay Boat Song, and the Whitby Smugglers Song" Andy John Bradford, a man from Yorkshire and popular singer/songwriter in the folk scene and songwriters scene of Yorkshire and now in Ireland where he now live, is the main songwriter of this album bringing a blend of folk, rock and mesmerizing stories coupled with an intoxicating vocal. Colin Tench "The co- collaborator on the arrangements of many of the tracks adds his own twist with his beautiful guitar melodies and layers which brings a lift and an atmosphere similar to the likes of Gilmore. Marcos quirky keys are touching at times, bringing real depth and emotion to the music. The rest of the band add depth and bring their own interpretation of what they hear. As a result you can tell these musicians from different parts of the globe, and different styles, are fully in tune with the music they are playing and upon listening, one finds yourself imagining the imagery laid down on each track. From the very first note to the very last track, one is taken on a ride which for me will be a part of my life for a long time to come.

Hurry up and get a tour going, I'd love to see you live gents!!

This is a MUST HAVE ALBUM. Even if you are not a fan of the folk scene, you should enjoy this wonderful Album. BUY IT!!! Nuff said.

Report this review (#1136215)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars If anyone would have told me before that I would love a sea shanty inspired folk prog album, I probably would have told them that they must have been smoking their socks. With that said, this album has indeed emotionally grabbed me.

Oceans 5 Return to Mingulay The Mingulay Boat Song - a famous Scottish a sea shanty which is almost 100 years old, this band managed to dismantle the whole song and turned into an epic prog folk song, beautiful and touching. If I best could describe it in short, I would say as Amazing Grace turned Prog with crescendos reminiscent of Floyd Welcome to the Machine however in a more romantic weird kind of version. I personally love the lead and response between the vocals and guitar, the guitars emphasise the vocals even more. This song lifts you up and carries you away. The guitars even sound like bagpipes at the beginning (right at the start) of the song.

Whitby Smugglers Song I hear Popeye tune here hahaha this is such a likable track, I cannot stop bouncing, I would call this a trigger happy track, drums going tum te ti tum tack almost constantly while guitar whistles away and the vocalists singing along while my head keeps bouncing from side to side, highlights here are the guitar and drum solos and bass guitar every now and then having his say. Again the Vocals and Guitar play lead and respond while the drums make you bounce happily.

Empty Hands Ah this is more a upbeat rock track, so many guitar layers inc. whistling like sounds, with the distinctive feel as above vocals and guitar do play lead and response however here the guitar in contrast to the rest plays quite sensitive tunes added with rhythmic spot on farting notes. An upbeat song with clever guitar tapping, whistling and levels that seem to lift you up and continuing to lift you a little further up and even more up.

Invictus Captain of My Soul This is such great rhythmic song. This reminds me very much of Johnny Clegg and also of Paul Simon with Graceland album. I really enjoy the constant drum clicking/galloping sound and again the guitar stands out here.

Sails of the Bay Ah the acoustic guitar is brought out here added to the electric guitar, it feels a cross between Bon Jovi ' Blaze of Glory with added naughty Al DiMeola guitar tapping. And it builds up into a most stunning crescendo that keeps going up a level and another plus yet another one. Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shores Hahaha this is a happy track! The start somehow reminded me of Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners,

6000friends 6000 Friends starts with great guitars whistling and when vocals start both vocals and guitar play lead and response, I love the pauses here. I tend to focus more on instrumentals than lyrics, however this song is quite simplified and I personally can relate to the lyrics about having so many friends on social network yet at home feeling alone. Lorelei McBroom vocals (from Pink Floyd and Great Gig in the Sky performance) seals this song.

Fly away This is one of my ultimate favourite songs of the album. I will not go into more details as I too have had enough of my briefing and opinion. Stunning, great build up (crescendo) I would describe it with having the most sensitive touches and great build ups.. Anyway, I sincerely think this album as diverse it may seem, it certainly is deserving of 5 stars, I cannot fault this, I have enjoyed replaying it constantly yet nothing makes me feel bored nor annoyed, quite the contrary, I listen to every single note on this album and each time love it more, giving me the most wonderful feeling listening to this bouncy, dreamy bedlam prog while some none prog yet this mix is the best of all, makes me feel so happy, really warm happy bubbly feeling from within. This album also seems to be a big favourite among my party guests, prog and none prog friends.

Many thanks and friendly regards, Kati

Report this review (#1143881)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Multinational band OCEANS 5 revolves around the creative impulses of UK artist Andy John Bradford, who had been working with a specific concept for The Mingulay Boatsong for some time when he hooked up with fellow musicians online in 2011. This initial collaboration eventually led to a few more song ideas, then the formation of a band, and finally the recording and release of the album "Return to Mingulay" through the US label Melodic Revolution Records in 2013.

"Return to Mingulay" isn't an album that comes across as one with a strict progressive rock interested audience in mind. It will most likely be an advantage to have a certain interest in bands like Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd to be able to enjoy this production of course, but just as important will be to have a taste for compositions with a a core foundation placed well inside the singer/songwriter universe. Those who find that combination to be intriguing should be the ideal audience for this band, and I suspect many who recognize themselves in that description will cherish this album.

Report this review (#1179803)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | Review Permalink
Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Did you catch the Yellow Submarine? To some, the story behind this album may not be new, but it's worth telling again. Ever since he was a young boy, Andy John Bradford, singer/songwriter, wanted to record his own version of the sea shanty Mingulay Boat Song. At some point, he assembled a five piece band, and just did it. With a twist: what started as a single song turned into a complete album. An album that I've been playing on and off for a few months now, and that contains some tunes that keep returning to my mind - making me play it again.

It's hard to explain what makes this album so special and addictive. First of all, Andy John Bradford is not exactly a progressive rock god (or cod, according to some), and those who know him might expect a folky album. Nothing is farther from the truth. Yes, the album does contain two traditionals and one song based on a 20th century English poem, but this is by no means a folk album. By adding the melodic style of electric guitar playing of Colin Tench, and the keyboard layers put underneath by Marco Chiappini, to the acoustic guitar and vocals of Andy himself changes it all into relaxed and quite easily accessible progressive folk rock style. No rock without a rhythm section of course, so Vic Tassone and Stef Flaming are on board to keep everything in marching order.

That starts with the opening track, Mingulay Boatsong, which is actually split in three. The first part is a take on drunken sailor, then a traditional first part of the original song by Andy followed by the full blown Oceans5 version of that shanty. From here on, the vocals and electric guitar play a well executed of challenge-response game, where the guitar takes up gradually more space. The song never looses it's folk roots though, except when the keyboards and guitar build a noisy interleave near the end, probably marking the rough landing of the rowing boats on Mingulay beach. Rowing boats, released from the blue and yellow ship on the cover, a piece of painstaking handy work by Sonia Mota.

After we arrive on Mingulay, we meet with the Whitby Smugglers, the second traditinal on the album. This one starts with acoustic guitar, with a few electric surprise chords underneath. Eric XaosLord and Brett Lloyd add an additional set of guitars (rhythm and southern rock guitar respectively) to this one, making it into a sort of southern folk rock track - pumped forward by Stef Flamings bass. At some point one of the guitars actually tries to play bag pipe here. Colin Tench has some fun on this one - can you spot the Yellow Submarine? - before the closing note is left to Chiappini's organ

After this, two tracks follow that are rooted lyrically in folk tradition, describing modern everyday situations, written by Bradford himself. The first, Empty Hands, is a slightly heavier track than the first two, about a homeless woman selling the Big Issue, and being ignored by everyone but the singer. The 5 o'clock line is similar, in that it describes the story of a man taking the same train every day and meeting his beloved there, traveling alone later, when after she dies. He too gets ignored by the selfish people around him, which is perfectly expressed by the melancholic guitar and keyboard playing. The guitar expresses the hidden anger inside the singer, as well as the troubled mind of the man he sings about, as the song builds up a slightly rockier structure near the end. The closing statement here is for Stef Flamings bass, and a bunch of ducks that ended up in the recording for reasons unclear to all but him.

Invictus - The Captain of my soul, is build up in a well though out manner. The versus are based on a poem by William Ernest Henley, with choruses added by Andy John Bradford. The track starts with acoustic guitar and them some drums/percussion that make it into a song that could've been played at the harbour side (replace drums by barrels and you're there). The keyboards support the vocals further, as folk violins almost. Only halfway, in a very subtle way, the electric guitar joins in, but the power of the song remains with the percussion. Different from the other tracks, a little gem.

Sails off the bay starts with a Spanish guitar intro, and as the lyrics tell the thoughts and dreams of a man, or a boy, wanting to go sailing, the electric guitars of Colin Tench and Stef Flaming gradually help building it up into a powerful folk rock track. That guitar work continues into Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore, which starts as a mix of folk guitar with an 80s pop rhythm underneath. That ends quickly, as the vocals get layered in a surprising way, and the verses appear to contain unexpected stops - mimicking the waves breaking on the shore perhaps? A track that is not catchy, and that can either make you return to try and grasp it, or skip it if you get annoyed by it (I choose the former). It is the only track that has a real rock ending, with rolling drums and everything, and a single bass note at the end.

With that, we come to what may have been intended to be the best track on the album. And even if not, it succeeded in becoming that. For 6000 friends, the band is extended with Andres Guazzelli, who took care of orchestration, making everything sound perfectly integrated musically (he's an expert on film music, and it shows), and Lorelei McBroom (the high vocal from The Great Gig In the Sky) on guest vocals. Again a song that tells of modern frustrations: a man with a 6000 online friends and a woman attending every party she can with her friends, both finding out that none of their friend are real, and there is no real love in their lives. Especially the way Lorelei sings the second verse, the story of the woman, can make ones eyes water - either because of the lyrics, or the wonderful voice.

After that, it is almost impossible to not listen to closing track Fly Away, which starts with acoustic guitar and piano, which only after 4 minutes are joined by the rest of the band, building into a slow, electric folk rock song. The guitar leads, but never too overpowering and leaves room near the end for the keyboards to put down an almost symphonic ending.

I love progressive rock, but I also love good lyrics, and music that expresses emotions other then fun. This album gives me just that - and that is why I keep playing it. I hope the descriptions above have given the reader some insight into this wonderful album, as well as into the mind of this humble reviewer and music lover.

Report this review (#1347901)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Good day to you all. I'm Andy John Bradford and I've written some nice little folk ditties, or perhaps sea chanteys if you like, that you can enjoy singing along to at your local tavern while downing a pint or two with the local lads.

I was just down by the shore for a couple of minutes trying to get the right feel for the album. The wind was a-blowing and the waves were crashing in. The gulls were in the sky calling out. But a storm started blowing in and the thunder was a-rumbling so I thought it'd be best fer me to head indoors. Now I'm going ta play for you an old traditional number and I'm just going ta be a-strumming away like this here, and you can all sing along if ya know the words. "Hail you own, boys / An' let her go boys / Sailing home to Mingulay".

Now I've got me a few friends along ta help out with the music and on electric guitar and some acoustic as well I've got Mr. Colin Tench, whom some of you may know from Corvus Stone or perhaps Bunchakeze or Minstrel's Ghost. He's got a good feel for the music and plays some fine guitar, maybe going a little toward the Pink Floyd sound here at the end of the song.

Now here's another fine guitarist but I've asked him to come in on bass. Mr. Stef Flaming of the band Murky Red. And well, now we're going ta need a drummer you say, and for that we've got Mr. Victor Tassone from Unified Past. Oh, yes, the keyboards are being handled by Mr. Marco Chiappini whom you can hear on Minstrel's Ghost and Mr. Tench's band project CTP.

And now yer surely thinking that this is not looking like it's going ta sound like any folk band singing sea chanteys and true enough, it's starting to look like a prog band now. Speaking of prog, I'm liking the Pink Floyd sound a bit lately and so we should get a kind of Great Gig in the Sky singer in here for a song, maybe "6000 Friends". How about Ms. Lorelei McBroom from Australian Pink Floyd to do that bit there? Ah, now we've got some very fine music going on.

Just one more thing, some piano and orchestration would be a nice touch to make this album of folk ditties sound really more like a prog rock album. An' so here's Mr. Andres Guazzelli from Argentina. Maybe you've heard his piece "Wish You Could Hear" which features Mr. Tench on guitar as well.

So, I'm hopin' ya like the songs now. At the heart, it's me singing and strumming away. But my musical friends have gone and turned this into an album with a strong seventies rock vibe and really made the music come alive. I never knew it could sound so good.

So step inside and an take off yer coat. The storms a-coming in but it's cozy and warm in here. Grab a pint and sit back and hear the band play. And once ya know the words, feel free ta sing along with us!

Report this review (#1526170)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars For me, one of the more illuminating aspects of this "supergroup" release is learning that ROD STEWART/SUTHERLAND BROTHERS essentially ripped off the "Mingulay Boatsong" for one of his many mega hits, "Sailing". The meter and most of the melody of his arrangement is more than influenced by that 200 year old shanty.

I don't mean to diminish this enthusiastic release by implying that I'm otherwise unimpressed, but this is really singer songwriter folk with full rock backing and massed oft repeated choruses. Apart from Colin Tench's guitar style, at times, and the presence of a vocal member of AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD, I don't really get the FLOYD comparisons, but agree that fans of certain aspects of STRAWBS and JETHRO TULL might enjoy what's on offer here. The strummed acoustic guitar style, Andy John Bradford's vocal inflections, and the general song structures put me in mind of STRAWBS circa "Bursting at the Seams", but without its dark Goth side and, paradoxically, without its chart ready hits. The over busyness of some of the arrangements bring to mind TULL, but more the arty "War Child" style than "Heavy Horses". Other occasional points of comparison could be MOTT THE HOOPLE (on "Six Thousand Friends",Bradford goes "All the Young Dudes" on us) and RUNRIG, particularly their nautical proclivities. All to say that this is an enjoyable listen but far from challenging even in comparison to the less complex works of the aforementioned.

Probably the best tracks here are the Boat song itself and the heartfelt "5 O'Clock Line", but neither really awaken stirrings deep inside, and, while nothing is ghastly, the social commentary of "6 Thousand Friends" is a bit more simplistic and direct than even most folk singers might advise. So, "Return to Mingulay" is rounded up to 3 stars because admirers of the fusion of folk music and anthemic pop, or of Old Spice aftershave, might be rendered weak-kneed by its oceanicity.

Report this review (#1783997)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2017 | Review Permalink

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