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4.1 out of 5 stars294
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: VinylChange
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
There are 2 camps of followers of Mike Oldfield, those, like me who prefer the long instrumental pieces, whilst others have a preference for the shorter singles / songs Mike has produced. One thing is for sure, whatever genre of his music you like, there is no other artist who has such a varied and unique back catologue as Moke Oldfield. Remember, the last album he brought out was a 'classical album'.....Man on the Rocks has grown on me...Sailing was the 1st song to be released / played on the radio and it is a catchy little ditty. Moonshine is brilliant, especially the Irish melody and rhythm, Man on the Rocks is very powerful, very Pink Floyd. Castaway has a hypnotic feel to it, then my favourite - Minutes, not everyones favourite, but it is a very well crafted 'pop' song. Chariots is pretty spectacular, as is the rock driven Irene. I give myself away is sublime. Dreaming in the Wind is another catchy potential radio song. Only tracks to take a bit longer to grow on me are Nuclear and Following the Angels.
It has to be said that Mike Oldfields distinctive guitar sound is here, as good as ever with some quite astounding solos!! Add to that the sleak and polished production....and not forgetting the amazing vocals from Luke Spiller, and you have a brilliant return to form. Worth a listen (or two!!)
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2014
After the first listen I liked 3 songs and thought the album was garbage. After some subsequential listens, other songs started to grow on me, and after 6 days owning the album, I love it. Don't judge after the first listen, it needs more chance. Great vocal album, Mike, now time for a long complex instrumental on your new Mac Pro! 😃
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2014
As a life long fan of MO this new offering is up there with his best albums, fantastic guitar pieces blended with the inspired choice of lead vocalist Luke Spiller. Luke's vocal range helps to bring each song theme to life and MO really has a story to tell. For me the outstanding tracks are Man On The Rocks (about addictions and a way out of them) and Minutes (about missing the one's you love). MOTR is over 6 mins long and has all the classic Oldfield elements including a feeling of building strength and determination being poured into the listener by the power of the guitar. Whilst Minutes nearly 5 mins in length is pure Oldfield pop, you would never know there was a 30 year gap between this and Moonlight Shadow. I have mentioned Luke but the rest of the musicians featured on the album are a delight to the music lovers ears. If further evidence is needed just immerse yourself in Disc two the Instrumental version, it is Rock music as it should be, with such depth and clarity that each instrument engages your mind and keeps you coming back for more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2014
I don't normally review music since it's highly subjective. What does it matter what 'I', a mere stranger likes or dislikes? A bit like food, I'm going to say bad things about cheese because I hate it, whereas you will sing its praises if you love it!

Anyway, back to the music (Mike's 25th studio album) which is absolutely fantastic! In a departure from his recent work this album is all vocal based but bears all the hallmarks of classic Oldfield from that sublime guitar sound, rocking melody lines and superb vocals from young Luke Spiller of up and coming band 'The Struts'. It is very clear on first listening that Mike has put his heart and soul into this work by the strength and depth of such pieces as 'Castaway', 'Nuclear', 'I Give Myself Away' and the stunning title track 'Man On The Rocks'. The more light hearted songs 'Sailing' and 'Moonshine' are good 'sing along' tracks which are immensely enjoyable and are very radio friendly.

This album shows without doubt that Mike Oldfield is back and means business!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
If you are waiting for TB-2014 or Ommadawn-2 - it's not your album.
If you are waiting for postive guitar music from Mike and for the songs in style of Crises - that is it!
Young singer Luke Spiller perfectly fits for the Mike's music. Sea wind and a portion of sunny weather from Bahamas are in these songs.
One hit following another, no instrumentals at all - and the best album by Mike for the last 10 years is here.
Listen before buying - if you'd like such songs as Sailing, Nuclear, Moonshine, title track - you would like the whole album.
If you like it - buy this Limited Superdeluxe edition.
The third CD presents demo-version of the album with Mike playing all instruments in company with the drummer and with vocals by Mike.
If you like not polished sound but sincere music - this additional CD would be true Man on the Rocks for you. Authentic Mike Oldfield. Demo version of the song "Whiskey in the Wind" (Moonshine) should be included on the main album. Real hit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2014
I'd heard previews about how good this album was - and they weren't kidding. From the first play through, the gorgeous music invaded my head and I'm still humming it now. Avaliable in several formats, I opted for the 2 cd pack with Vocal and Instrumental versions giving me the option, depending on my mood.

'Sailing' does not, as you might have surmised, feature Rod Stewart, but is in fact a soaraway, majestic beast of an anthem, which you will be humming for days, nay weeks, after you have heard it! I've not see a 7-letter lyric stretched out to such an extent before..... 'Sai- ai -ailing" but it works - brilliantly!

From here the album goes off into different moods, my picks would be 'Chariots', 'Man on the Rocks' and 'Castaway' but there's not a naff track in this sumptuous offering from the maestro. Guitars talk to you, the listener and lull you into their various moods.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
It's been a long time since his last album and boy he more than made up for it. SAILING was the first single from the album that give us a taste of things to come MOONSHINE gets better the more you hear it MAN ON THE ROCKS the title track is good it makes you want to sit and listen to the whole album and you find yourself singing alone to the songs till you get to the last track I GIVE MYSELF AWAY I felt sad but in a good way so the only way to make me smile again is to play the whole album again and again until I learn the words to CASTAWAY LOL love the album I give it ten stars if I could thank you Mike Oldfield you made my day ......
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2014
Known for his incredible ability to compose in a multitude of styles and genres, Oldfield unleashes a powerful new recording of sublime guitar solos, a mixture of rock, blues and even celtic-tinged tracks, all accompanied by The Strut's Luke Spiller, who is able to adapt his vocal style to meet the demands of each style of song. From the opening track, 'Sailing' which is heavily featured on Radio 2's A-List at present and is the carefree and catchy mainstream set-piece, through to some powerful Rock numbers like 'Castaway' with Oldfield's trademark wailing electric guitar, and 'Chariots' with some crunchy guitar and Bluesy Organ chords. My personal highlight is 'Moonshine' a hugely uplifting and gently building track with a terrific prolonged guitar riff that leads us through to the aforementioned Celtic section which breaks through to a gloriously celebratory guitar solo that is unmistakably Oldfield.

In summary, these are 11 brilliantly crafted and produced songs that act as a testimony to fact that Mike Oldfield is one of Britain's most diverse, creative and gifted composers, whether that be of 50-odd minute instrumental works or standard format commercial songs. Here's to another chart hit - and well deserved!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Man on the Rocks is Oldfield's first new release for six years and the news that it would be a vocal album caught many people by surprise. Oldfield has written some classic songs over the years ("Moonlight Shadow", "Shadow on the Wall", "To France") but also some less inspired ones - albums such as Earth Moving sounded like a very tired man looking to extract himself from a record contract with maximum speed.

Whilst Man on the Rocks does sometimes highlight the more workmanlike nature of Oldfield's song-writing (lyrics are a little clunky at times, for example) there's still plenty to enjoy here - particularly Oldfield's guitar-playing.

The title track has a stand-out guitar solo from Oldfield which helps to make it one of the highlights of the album, another noteworthy song is "Castaway", a Queen-tinged track that starts slowly but builds nicely and features another quality Oldfield guitar solo.

Whilst the majority of the album is in rock orientated, there's the odd change of pace, such as the gentle "Following the Angels", which provides a good contrast to some of the rock bombast found elsewhere. Luke Spiller of The Struts handles the vocals, he wasn't someone I was previously familiar with, but he commits to the material and does a very good job.

There are a few missteps, opening track "Sailing" is pleasant but not particularly memorable and "Minutes" is rather throwaway, but overall this is a solid album. If you liked Oldfield's song-writing of the 1980's and early 1990's, then the tracks here will appeal as they could have appeared on any of his albums during that period.

Produced by Stephen Lipson and running for just under an hour, Man on the Rocks has plenty for the Oldfield fan to enjoy. And whilst the two-disc set (disc two featuring instrumentals of the disc one songs) might seem a little superfluous, it's the one to go for - as disc two works quite well as an instrumental album in its own right.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
Having emerged from retirement to perform at the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, many fans might have expected Oldfield's first new album for six years to be a return to his famed instrumental epics, but instead, he's gone and surprised us all by releasing a rock album.

"Man on the Rocks is Mike Oldfield's first song-based album since 1991's "Heavens Open". But where his previous vocal albums under the original Virgin contract were heavily commercial affairs with little of the artist's trademark sound, this is a set of songs on Oldfield's terms, with perspective and maturity fuelling the writing, which from a lyrical point of view is surely his best. You only need to glance at the sleeve notes on each track to know that this is also a deeply personal album.

However instead of singing the songs himself, as he did on "Heaven's Open", Mike has enlisted the vocal talents of young rocker Luke Spiller (of The Struts) to take the lead, with Oldfield only cropping up on backing vocals now and then. Perhaps this album might have benefitted from being released as a collaboration project, as at times it does feel more like Spiller's album than Oldfield's, having such a dominant vocal presence.

The opening track, "Sailing" with its familiar Moonlight Shadow-esque chords, does get the album off to a misleading start, and after a brief celtic stint with "Moonshine" we're firmly rooted in dark and emotive AOR for the best part of the album. The mood is a modern take on the classic 70s rock sound and the production on the album is second to none - as you might expect from any Oldfield release - and Oldfield's trademark guitar has never sounded better, alongside some really great vocals from Spiller. Standout tracks on the first few plays include "Chariots", "Dreaming in the Wind" and "Castaway", both equally moving.

I'm primarily a fan of Oldfield's instrumental work, so I did approach this album with a degree of trepidation, but it was a pleasant surprise, with some great songs, catchy choruses and lovely melodies. I bought the deluxe edition for the simple reason that it comes with a second disc of instrumental versions, so that satisfied me no end. If disc one is more Spiller's, then disc 2 in undeniably Mike's. I dare say it's an album that takes several listens to appreciate, but at the same time, it may also be the finest song-based album from Mike yet.

At least I'm hoping that now Mike Oldfield has satisfied his creative curiosity through this album of rock songs ,that he'll soon be returning to more familiar textured soundscapes - with the odd bell thrown in for good measure!
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