Elias "ProgFather" Metallinos
Andy John Bradford is a guitarist, a singer and a songwriter who created OCEANS 5 with the contribution of fellow musicians from other bands. “The Return to Mingulay” is a remarkable concept piece of work that focuses on nautical stories that the OCEANS 5’s ship encounters during its route.
In the opener, “Mingulay boatsong”, John Bradford’s journey stunningly kicks off with waves blasting and seagulls heard flying. Each song of the album tells a different story; those stories that sailors fable at the end of their voyage!
All songs have been crafted with the same prog-esquely tested recipe! The album is highly listenable, without changing rhythms, without impressive soli, but with well-made dosage. In the first place, there is the loose vibe and the expressive voice of Bradford while in the horizon we meet the suspended sound of the guitars accompanied by lush keys. This atmosphere is dominant throughout this record and is gradually embellished with sound effects and other sounds that are harmonically bound on a music wall. A wall that, through his amazing cover, hustles to set us in its musicscape; this is cover artistry for sure!
Several melodies remind me of “The division bell” of PINK FLOYD in the meta-Waters era; also, reminiscent of “Soul asylum” of “Runaway train”.
All musicians give one of their best performances here and this is unquestionable looking back at their bios! The crew of Mingulay, except from the captain Andy John Bradford, consists of Colin Tench from CORVUS STONE on guitar, Marco Chiappini (GANDALF’S PROJECT) on keys, Stef Flaming (MURKY RED) on bass and Victor Tassone (UNIFIED PAST) on drums. Also, the jaw-dropping guest appearance of Lorelei McBroom at the song called “6000 friends” (she was the backing vocalist in one of PINK FLOYD’s tours) easily reminds me of “The great gig in the sky”.
What misses from this album, though, is a new and, maybe, innovative idea, a “click” of differentiation that would offer a new fresh sound. Yet, this is a very interesting work, more rock than progressive rock, with elements that bring something familiar into my mind; something that I was listening to for a long time or/and something that others recommended to me before my contact with OCEANS 5’s music.
A very smart idea was created and implemented with the best possible way here and I am sure that OCEANS 5’s potential just started to unfold from their very first album!