Crises is my favourite of Mike Oldfield's eighties CDs. As with its direct predecessor, it contains one long piece which took up the whole of the first side of the original vinyl and a set of shorter tracks, five in this case, on the second side. The shorter songs on the earlier albums were often a lot weaker than the longer pieces. Partly that was because Oldfield's musical style was not transferring well to shorter pieces but also, the lyrics were often quite dire.
Experience clearly helped a lot but also collaboration with other musicians. On Crises, the most notable name is Jon Anderson of Yes who is creditied with lyrics and vocals on one song "In High Places" which really sounds as though it could have come from a contemporary Yes album.
The opening track, "Crises" is classic Oldfield music and in places harks back to his first album "Tubular Bells" so fans will reconise the motifs and see how he takes them forwards in a more rock based style.
Moonlight Shadow is Oldfield's finest short song. The great lyrics of this dark lament really give Maggie Reilly a proper showcase for her fine voice. Also, on this track we get to find out that Oldfield really can play a proper blues style guitar sole. It's one of those songs that everyone has heard which stays with you for a long time.
This is probably the best introduction to Oldfield's later output for anyone who knows him only as the "Tubular Bells" man.