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Mike Oldfield - Crises CD (album) cover

CRISES

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.45 | 386 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is an attempt to help broaden Mike Oldfield's listening audience. It is made up of one side of short, mostly vocal songs (on my copy there are 6) and one side is one long track, mostly instrumental.

The short songs are mostly decent, a few of them poppy but not too overwhelmingly cloying. Apparently "Moonlight Shadow" was a big hit in some countries and it sounds like a song that would have been a hit in the 80s. "Mistake" is another song in the same vein but only available on the North America version and it could have easily been another hit. One of the songs on this side has Jon Anderson from "Yes" doing a guest vocal. Jon shares writing credit with Mike on this song "In High Places" and it is one of the best vocal tracks on any of Mike Oldfield's albums, especially once the full instrumentation comes in. There is one instrumental song called "Taurus 3" which highlights some amazing acoustic and electric guitar work, but alas it is too short. Roger Chapman also guests on one of the vocals, but the song is quite underwhelming and probably the worst track on the album. Not a lot of interesting stuff, but at least it is well produced and the sound is great, so that helps make up for a lot.

Of course, the best track is the side-long title track "Crises". This is mostly instrumental except for a few mostly unnecessary vocals by Mike himself. Not a bad singer though, so I don't know what he didn't sing more, probably to concentrate on what he does best, instrumentation. "Crises" has everything in it that he is famous for, great instrumentation, composition, mood and meter changes, a very nice balance of sound and instruments with interesting rhythm throughout. I don't feel that there is a returning melody on this track which is fine, it is probably more of a continuous suite than anything, and it stays consistently good throughout the entire twenty minutes that it plays. This track is as good as anything essential that he has released including "Ommadawn", "Tubular Bells", or "Hergest Ridge".

The more pop oriented songs bring the essential-ness of the album down, but at least there is enough variety among the short songs to keep it all interesting. After the popularity of this album, Mike will release a follow up album to try to copy it's success named "Discovery". That album unfortunately fails in most every aspect because of poor production and sound quality and all uninteresting pop songs except for only one 12 minute instrumental. "Crises" proves that the mix of pop and prog can work where in contrast "The Discovery" shows you how to do it all wrong. If you have a choice, look for "Crises" as the better album. But if you are interested in what Mike's essential albums sound like, get one or more of the 3 essential recordings that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. As for this album, I consider it good but not essential. 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |

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