Oceans 5 – Return to Mingulay (2013)
Melodic Revolution Records – 2013
Actually titled Andy John Bradford’s Oceans 5, this is a must have for fans of mid to late period Strawbs, also with a nod to the ballad oriented songs of David Gilmour/Pink Floyd. The emphasis is on The Strawbs folk rock as Oceans 5 has plenty of both good-feel toe-tapping tunes along with rich beautiful forget-me-not ballads (track 3 “Empty Hands” and track 4 “5 O’Clock Line”).
Some may see an assembly of musicians that came together to make this recording, but proof is the result of how unlikely chemistry may very well produce a new glowing concoction. Perhaps potion is a better term. Sing-a-long, consistent, excellent, and keeper are among the words I would deem this highly enjoyable release. Not without some touches of humor, haunting and interesting story telling tunes are included. Fine production and playing (guitars) by Colin Tench along with founder and frontman Andy John Bradford (vocals and 12 string guitar), Stef Flaming (bass), Marco Chiappini (keyboards), and Victor Tassone (drums). Cover and booklet art by Sonia Mota ( who many may remember did Corvus Stone’s art. A very nice package with cool art, info, pictures and lyrics.
Track 6 (“Invictus the Captain of My Soul”) has a tad flavor of David Gilmour and what could be a radio hit, sounds a bit like Graham Gouldman of 10cc solo material. Track 8 (“6,000 Friends”) features Pink Floyd songstress Lorelei McBroom doing some soulful soaring voice. This could be an Oceans 5 classic.
Last cut Track 9 (“Fly Away) continues the sentimental atmosphere and memorable song category. A perfect set-up, lay-out, and then hook! This could get big but stays cool, flows nicely, also pleasant, and then, yes it does get big. Nothing else would have sufficed to capture the end of this ear-friendly folk rock disk. Nothing grandiose but certainly a refreshing and well-done solid set of songs and welcome addition to this listener’s collection.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson June 30, 2014
1. The Mingulay Boatsong
Part 1 Up 5he Rises
Part 2 The Minch
Part 3 Mingulay Boatsong
2. The Whitby Smugglers Song
3. Empty Hands
4. 5 O’Clock Line
5. Invictus the Captain of My Soul
6. Sails Off the Bay
7. Dancing with the Rhythm of the Shore
8. 6000 Friends
9. Fly Away