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Utah Saints
Utah Saints
Offered by themediamerchants
Price: 9.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Chart-friendly rave for a whole album?, 20 Jan 2013
This review is from: Utah Saints (Audio CD)
Utah Saints' first album is a bit of a mixed bag. There are highs (What Can You Do For Me, I Want You, States Of Mind) lows (Believe In Me) and some in-betweens (Soulution, Too Much To Swallow). While the in-betweens outnumber the highs, the whole album outshines the lows. If you can overlook the fact that the drum patterns start to sound a little repetitive by the finish, and skip over Believe In Me (which isn't so much bad, as just a little dull), then this is a pretty good album. Opener New Gold Dream, sets the tone somewhat, with its ravey rhythms, chugging synth bass, and half spoken vocals. This is what you get for the next hour or so. That said, there are some real catchy hooks amongst all this. What Can You Do For Me, with its Annie Lennox-sampled warbling is one, as is the Cloudbusting sampling Something Good, and the high octane third single I Want You. The strongest non-single track on the album is States Of Mind, where the Saints inject some further texture into things with worldy sounding flutes and swirling wind effects. It's not all high tempo, either. Soulution and Too Much To Swallow turn down the BPM and provide a nice contrast to the dance oriented rest of the album. There's even a decent remix, giving What Can You Do For Me a bass and piano heavy workout. Altogether, a slightly more than 3 star album. If you like your rave chart-friendly, call it 3 and a half and you'll be happy.

Five Miles Out
Five Miles Out
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: 33.60

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldfield finally gives in to his prog-rock tendencies, 8 Oct 2005
This review is from: Five Miles Out (Audio CD)
With Five Miles Out, Mike Oldfield seemed to finally dispense with the new age element of his music (which had been hanging by a thread for his two prior albums), and concentrate fully on progressive rock. Fans will be divided on whether this is a good thing. The album opens with the mammoth Taurus II (following on from Taurus on QE2), which sees Oldfield revert to his earlier song structuring - a series of untitled and segued movements around a central theme or refrain. As indicated before, there is much more of a feel of progressive rock than new age, and we are treated to a section of Morris music (of which Mike is such a fan), as well as a vocal section (sung by the angelic Maggie Reilly). The first of two more pop-structured songs, Family Man, is a sexual and powered narrative around one man's resistance to a prostitute's advances. (If the subject matter is enough to put you off, consider that this track was a top 40 hit for Blue-Eyed Soul duet Hall & Oates a couple of years on from this album's release.) The burning bass strings, screaming guitars and sultry vocals provide a real highlight of the album so far. Following this is the second opus, Orabidoo. This is another multiple movement track, and opens with a gentle (but quite piercing, in places) music box melody. Gradually the tempo speeds up, and the mood and melodies change, before we are brought back down with a quaint folk-type ditty. Mount Teidi is a simple, but effective, piece built around a synth hook, and military-style drumming. It is possibly the most upbeat track on the album, and is welcome after the sometimes difficult listening of Orabidoo. The real highlight of the album is kept till last, however. Five Miles Out(a paean to Mike's flying days, and one stormy incident in particular), is simply stunning. It is the second track following a more conventional pop structure (more conventional - but only just!), but the instrumentation and content is anything but ordinary. From the ominous rumble of the opening strings, though the synthesized 'radio communication' vocals and troubled mid-section, and into Maggie Reilly's uplifting vocals to bring us in to land, Five Miles Out is one of Mike's best songs full stop, never mind just on this album.
The production on this album does, admittedly, sound a little dated, but this is arguably Mike Oldfield's best 80's release.

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