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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Oldfield's rock songs
By a stroke of good luck Mr Oldfield was asked to perform at the 2012 Olympics and this release reflects a burst of energy and it certainly comes across that all had a good time making this. It is beautifully reflective in parts; Dreaming in the Wind is particularly good and the upbeat Moonshine is one of Mike's catchiest songs to date. It certainly isn't Tubular Bells...
Published 4 months ago by Ben P

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
What a huge disappointment. Would i buy and listen to this kind of music if it was not Mike Oldfield? NO i would NOT.
Like other people have said, its dull, boring and quite simplistic. Chris De Burgh can write better songs than this!!! The Instrumental CD is even worse. The only reason i can think this was added was to pull in true Oldfield fans who love his...
Published 3 months ago by Andy


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man on the mend....Straight in at number 12 in the UK Top 40...Way to go Mike, 11 Mar 2014
This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
Like most people here I have been a fan of Mike O since the onset. But you don't have to like all his music to be a fan. In fact Tubular Bells wouldn't be my first choice. Mike was so unhappy with the original recording of TB1 that he went back into the studio in 2003 and did it all over again. "Music of the Spheres" which to my knowledge was Mikes last release prior to MOTR was too off the norm for a lot of his fans although I do believe it hit number 1 in the UK Classical charts at the time.
So to be honest Man on The Rocks is way more than we could have hoped for. Take "castaway" for example..Listen to the way he layers the sound as the track goes on. At 49 years of age my wife laughed at me as I waited in anticipation for the release which in keeping with Mike's form was delayed as usual. When it arrived I was afraid to listen to it so waited for the right time. The instrumental version went first.After the second track I felt my eyes welling up. The familiar guitar wailing that only Mike O can achieve had me blubbering like a kid. So I decided not to,listen to the vocal version for a number of days. Every tune just grows and grows on you.To date I have not met one of my friends who are fans say anything negative about the album. Even my 16 year old lad wants a copy on vinyl. Long may it last and best of luck Mike in the UK Top 40 Albums. Crashing in at number 12 is an amazing feat for an old fella lol.
Buy this album...You wont regret it..
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the rocks - shaken and stirred., 11 Mar 2014
By 
dalek78 (Sheffield, S.Yorks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mike Oldfield just doesn't do vocal tracks well enough., 10 May 2014
By 
Graham Butler - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
Looking back over the collection, with very few exceptions, Mike's vocal tracks invariably come across as simplistic and in no way feel like they came from the same pen as his more substantial, sometimes inspirational, instrumental works. This album lacks ideas and any spirit. I'll be parking this one at the bottom of the pile, and I get no pleasure from saying that !
Very disappointing....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rare bird for Mike Oldfield, 5 May 2014
By 
ds "Lagerd" (West Allis, WI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
This is a rare bird for Mike Oldfield. For starters I like it quite a bit. Oldfield is as gifted as any in writing catchy, hook-laden melodies when that is his aim. There are plenty such songs on MAN ON THE ROCKS and they run the gamut from slow to upbeat and from pop to rock. In another era this album could spawn as many as four hit radio singles. Thankfully Oldfield doesn't concern himself too much with the singles game, nor do I. I believe an artist retains a higher degree of integrity when he's not married to the need for mainstream acceptance. Now, he may actually garner more mainstream exposure with this album but (I submit) that would be more a result of happenstance than by design.

Since this is an all-vocal album my inclination is to compare it to his other vocal (or partial vocal) albums. But to me there are no real equivalents in the Oldfield canon. EARTH MOVING seemed to lack continuity as it utilized several vocalists and employed an AOR production relpete with the dreadful '80s studio applications. HEAVEN'S OPEN is barely worth mentioning due to its utter inferiority. Yes, it featured one singer (himself - and I generally like Oldfield's voice) so it did have continuity - but only in the negative sense. For convenience' sake I'll include many of his earlier eighties releases together (ISLANDS, DISCOVERY, CRISIS, 5 MILES OUT and QE2) as they are all similar in many respects; good recordings that include many catchy pop-ish tracks each, but Oldfield employed so many different featured vocalists (like Kevin Ayers, Roger Chapman, Jon Anderson, Bonnie Tyler, Barry Palmer, Maggie Riley, et.al.) as well as lengthy progressive instrumentals on those very same albums. Hence continuity was lacking.

On MAN ON THE ROCKS Luke Spiller is the only lead singer and even though this album varies stylistically from pop to adult alternative to rock there is a sameness from beginning to end that Oldfield's vocal albums have rarely (if ever) possessed. Some have stated that this has the feel of a Spiller solo album. I tend to agree as there is very little of the patented Oldfield guitar riff-age and phrasing of yore. In fact one has to listen very attentively (and know exactly what to listen for) in order to identify it. But that's OK and I bet that was by design. I think he just wanted to be lead guitarist in a band for a change. And I, for one, appreciate that change.

I've had this CD for some time and haven't felt the need or urge to listen to Disc #2. I can't imagine the value in hearing vocal-less tracks. I'll eventually get around to it though. I'm impressed that Mike Oldfield, at this point in his career, was willing to switch gears again and put forth a great product. I'll include him with a host of classic artists (like Hackett, I.Hunter, Hiatt, Steeleye, I.Anderson, etc.) who in this new decade appear invigorated and not at all feeling their age. Cheers.

BTW, the Freddie Mercury resemblance is so fleeting as to be virtually non-existent. Too bad. A Mercury/Oldfield collaboration would've been intriguing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars man on the rocks mike oldfield, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
Highly disappointed as prefer Mike Oldfield in his usual field of great percussionist and guitar playing etc....I have never been a lover of his tracks with words especially this CD...I like to let my mind wonder and not be controlled by other peoples words....On the deluxe version I have a 2nd dvd of just the music but not really into this like most of his other works especially his earlier work. Its ok but I wouldnt go mad over it as have done so many times before with his instrumental works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the fans, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
My review of this album is of the three CD deluxe edition.
Main album - 3 stars
Instrumental album - 4 stars
Demo album - 4 stars

If Music Of The Spheres had you thinking Mike had returned to his melodic and adventurous best, then Man On The Rocks will be a somewhat frustrating listen..... at least at times.....

I appreciate why some reviewers refer to this as a progressive rock album, but the reality is that this release has little of the experimental nature of many great progressive albums. Sure, drop the names of any given Prog Rock artist or band that this album might sound like, but the fact is this is a derivative album at best. It isn't even derivative of Mike's own material.
Production-wise, this might be Mike's least adventurous album to date. Lyrically there are some awkward moments as well (Minutes and Chariots being the main offenders for me). Chariots simply put is a rip-off of Not Fade Away. Castaway is a frustrating listen.

Tracks that do make this a worthy venture without making it a revolutionary one are Sailing, I Give Myself Away, Man On The Rocks, Dreaming In the Wind, and Following The Angles. That in itself is half the album, and a worthy purchase for long term Mike Oldfield fans.

The instrumental disc is great. I'd argue that this could have been the main album with the vocal disc being the bonus disc.

The instrumental album hangs together better, added to this the weaker lyrical content from the main album is (obviously) absent. While the instrumental album isn't a 'Music Of the Spheres' it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. other than absent vocals though, there are no mix/production changes from the main album. For a song such as Sailing however, there is an element of something missing, and more of a feel of 'this is just a backing track'.

I can appreciate why some reviewers are suggesting you buy the deluxe version just for the instrumentals. I suggest you dig into your wallet a little further though.

The third 'demo disc' shows that while many of Mike's ideas of the album have been 'recognised', they were not fully 'realised' on the main album. They certainly were not added to during the studio sessions. The production is a little muddy on some tracks, but this is a demo album, and hence a minor gripe.

In some cases the demos benefit from less production and reveal the gems within the songs. The demos are great to have, and present Mike's ideas at a relatively mature stage. All the vocals and arrangements are mapped out similar to the main album.

Because they are delivered in a more honest (i.e. less produced) manner I like many of the demo versions better than the main album tracks, for example Moonshine. Added to this, Man On the Rocks sounds more fragile and perhaps captures the intent of the song better. Castaway, as a demo, benefits from the 'less is more' production and more restrained vocals.

Minutes is almost redeemed on the demo album. It is more up tempo, and less pedestrian. I am still not a fan of the song, but Mike's demo does present a more redeemable offering.

Following The Angles and I Give Myself Away, as demos, sound like Peter Gabriel at his melancholy best. Two wonderful songs and performances.

Mike has obviously recognised the stronger tracks on the album. Sailing, I Give Myself Away, Dreaming In the Wind, and Following The Angles are all offered as worthy alternate mixes on the third disc as well. The differences are notable after a few listens without (once again) being revolutionary.

Over the decades, Mike's vocal albums have often presented a few standout tracks among a number of average ones. In this light Man On The Rocks is consistent. Of all Mike's albums, Islands was perhaps the worst offender. This album is better than Islands however. While Islands however offered more variety, Man On The Rocks offers more consistency. I'd rate it alongside QE2, but for different reasons. QE2 was a far more adventurous album with better production. Man On The Rocks probably has more consistent songwriting, and five tracks that make it a worthy purchase.

For those new to Mike Oldfield, go for Music Of the Spheres as an excellent example of Mike's more recent instrumental work. If it is vocals you're after go for Five Miles Out or Discovery. This album sits among these two, but a 'star' or so behind.

My recommendation for Mike Oldfield fans is to buy the three CD version of the album. If the 'sticker' is true to its word (and when have stickers ever lied?) then this version of Man On The Rocks might be difficult to get at some point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best new sound, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
Delivered on time , present for my partner we both enjoyed it really different and enjoyable best new sound we heard in a while
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good at all, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
Being a fan of Mike Oldfield for years, I wanted to like this. But it's just not very good at all. It's a mash-up of different styles with songs that seem like Eurovision pop, U2 /Irish rock, The Shadows, Chris Rea and then some other styles I don't think have a name. Most of it is harmless (and soulless) enough, and you could certainly listen to and maybe even sort of enjoy some of the more catchy tunes on the album. But the lyrics are appallingly bad. So bad, that at times it's embarrassing listening to them! They sound like an attempt at poetry by an illiterate teenager! Mike, you don't have to sell your soul just to get two lines to rhyme!

Mike Oldfield can write better songs than these. In fact, he has written a lot of songs which are better than these.

By the way, if you're considering the Deluxe version for the instrumentals, don't. These are just tracks with the singing removed - basically karaoke tracks.

I don't particularly like the singer either. But that's a personal preference. Perhaps Mike should have had a few different guest singers. As it is, Mike seems to do little more than play guitar solos on this; so it feels more like a Luke Spiller album written by and guest starring Mike Oldfield than anything else.

If this was released by an unknown, that person would remain unknown. But since It's Mike Oldfield, it will get a listen and an audience. But unless you're curious, I'd give this one a miss. I hear he's working on a new instrumental album, maybe even a prequel to Tubular Bells. I'd wait for that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine return, 29 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
After so long away, this was (on the part of the fans) a highly anticipated album. It does not disappoint. From the opening track (Sailing), which my 20 month old daughter dances to every time it is played to what will I reckon become a classic (Moonshine), this is one of the most diverse albums MO has produced in a long time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man On The Rocks - ROCKS!!, 27 Mar 2014
By 
MarkB-MOF (Middle-England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man On The Rocks (Audio CD)
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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