Friday, June 27, 2014

Mike Oldfield - Discovery

This week (June 25th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Discovery, the ninth studio album from English progressive-rock musician Mike Oldfield. The 1984 album charted at number 47 in New Zealand, number 15 in the UK, number 3 in Austria, Norway and Sweden, number 2 in the Netherlands, and number 1 in Germany and Switzerland.

Assisting Oldfield on the record were Maggie Reilly and Barry Palmer on vocals, and producer Simon Phillips on Tama Drums.

Side one heads off "To France" with a light, folk sound. Reilly provides the angelic vocals here. As the first single, it hit number 48 in the UK, number 23 in France, number 12 in Italy, number 9 in Austria, number 7 in Switzerland, number 3 in the Netherlands and Spain, and number 2 in Belgium.

"Poison Arrows", with Palmer on vocals, is next. This is another track that I know I have heard before, one long lost in the recesses of my mind. It has a solid 80's Euro-pop quality.

Reilly returns on "Crystal Gazing". The song has a steady beat that keeps time throughout.

"Tricks of the Light", the upbeat second single, peaked at number 91 in the UK and number 46 in Germany. Both singers appear on this track, though their vocals were recorded separately.

The rocking title track "Discovery", a song about secrets coming to light, closes the first half.

Side two opens with "Talk About Your Life". This one reminds me a bit of Kate Bush, thanks to the combination of Oldfield's composition and Reilly's vocals.

"Saved by a Bell" has a quality of childlike innocence and wonderment to it.

The album closes with the twelve minute instrumental track "The Lake".

I was familiar with Mike Oldfield from the 70's track "Tubular Bells", but Discovery was the first of his albums I have ever listened to. For a first-time visit, I found it entertaining. It could certainly warrant a return visit.

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