Return to Mingulay
(2013 - Melodic Revolution Records - USA)
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 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 know the fine assembly of musicians that came together to make this recording. This is sterling proof 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, there are haunting and interesting story telling tunes 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). The cover and booklet art is by Sonia Mota (who many may remember did Corvus Stone’s art). A very nice package complete with cool art, info, pictures and lyrics.
Track 6 (“Invictus the Captain of My Soul”) has a tad flavor of Dave Gilmour and what could be a radio hit. It also 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. Top notch!
The last cut, track 9 (“Fly Away") continues in the sentimental atmosphere and memorable song category. A perfect set-up, lay-out, and then hook! Excellent song writing. This could get big but stays cool, flows nicely, and then yes, it does get big. Nothing else would have sufficed to capture the end of this ear-friendly folk rock disk. Not real grandiose but certainly a refreshing and well-done solid set of songs. A welcome addition to this listener’s collection.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson June 30, 2014