Mike Oldfield – Discovery (1984)
This was as far as I recall one of the first records by Mike Oldfield I heard, the first song I listened to by him was Moonlight Shadow. And thus Crisis would be the first lp by him I laid ears on.
Discovery (or as a local DJ used to pronounce it: Disco Very (sic)), is not my favourite lp by Oldfield, but not the worst either. Personally I guess my eternal # 1 is Ommadawn. What I think about the songs here are as follows:
To France: Obviously an attempt to make Moonlight Shadow 2, and not a bad attempt either. I love the way the lyrics weave around the melody, and Maggie Reilly’s voice is sweet as ever. The guitar solos (both acoustic and electric) also works well for me.
Poison Arrows: This has been ruined for me by the Zombies re-make made a few years back. Still an ok song, I imagine it’s a return to the mood Oldfield had when he made Shadow on the Wall. There is some of the same gloomy-ness. The delay/phaser effect on the drums are supercool. Even the faux werewolf howl in the end comes out not too tacky.
Crystal Gazing: Here we are in Family Man territory, again a return to earlier moods and recipies from Gordon Mikefield. This is not the most exciting song. A bit gumpetung, and too repetitive without being hypnotizing (and me likes monotony when done properly).
Tricks of the Light: Is a song I don’t really like.
Discovery: Again a bit of a Shadow on the Wall feel here. I remember liking this song a lot back when the lp came out, but I was a sucker for powerballads then. Not as much now
Talk About Your Life: I love this song, easily the best song on the record, the vocals are majestic and all comes together in a higher synthesis. It still speaks to me as powerfully as it did in 1984.
Saved by a Bell: A bit of a Disney-banger here. A universe-themed grandiose epic 70’s style rock-ballad. That works!! Much better than the title track. Love it!
The Lake: The final song and the only instrumental on the lp. Starts off with faux pan flutes in delay loop. Urgh, It sucks. Sorry to say, but if I was randomly shuffling through this lp I would never listen to the entire song. And then the progressive stuff comes in. Not good, I really don’t like this. Gumpetungt and uninspired. Western guitar??
My final verdict is that this isn’t Oldfield’s finest hour, but still an ok record to put on once in a while.