"Mother's Ruin" CD
Metal Invader review
Oliver Wakeman (son of Rick Wakeman member of the almighty 'YES') is one of the most talented musicians in the Hard Rock scene of our days and he has proved this fact with many great works in his carrier.
'Mother's Ruin' is just another one. This is a work for everyone who likes nice melodic music with great performing that will make you spend very nice your listening time with songs that sound very joy able, while in the same time offer you many other different and strong emotions from melancholy to happiness and farther.
With modern compositions that are combined very clever with the 70's feeling the final result is as expected, really great! Personally I truly enjoyed all this work from the beginning until the end and I have heard it many times by choice in my free time ever since, something that proves to me that it is an album that al least deserve my respect and that stands on top of my recent discography.
After all when such a musician respects himself, as Oliver Wakeman does in his works, it is always sure that he will offer us works that will also respect his fans, something that is not so easily found in our days.
June 22nd 2007
New Horizons website review
One of the things that is refreshing about Oliver Wakeman is that he seems able to turn his hand to pretty much anything and make a damn fine job of it. Each of his previous works to date have had a very different flavour and 'Mother's Ruin' once again offers something quite different to what has gone before. Rather than being an Oliver Wakeman album, this is billed as the Oliver Wakeman Band, and the emphasis is very much on the band here.
Oliver himself demonstrates his mastery of the keyboards as one might expect, but never at the expense of his colleagues who put in some stella performances throughout, but rather by working with them allowing the different instruments to contribute to the bigger picture. No over blown egos here, just a group of superb musician delivering quality music.
Musically Mother's Ruin is an album that has much in common with the rock band's of the Seventies, there are certainly aspects of the album that seem to draw from the likes of Deep Purple for example. The album is also one that delivers the goods with a nice mix of styles ranging from upbeat pacey numbers to the ballad, and delivered with a modern edge and played with passion and feeling.
The opening track 'Don't Come Running' is perhaps fairly representative of the rock style with it's solid rock vocal melody supported by fairly pacey keyboard work and a strong driving rhythym section keeping things moving nicely along. The instrumental break just past the half way mark see's some nice keyboarad work from Oliver and some fine lead guitar work.
'The Agent' keeps thing moving along nicely with some strong keyboard playing that is vaguley reminiscent of Jon Lord. Guitar and bass work provide a heavier edge to the sound which works well. My only criticsm is that the vocals, while very clear and precise, seem at times to lack power that a track such as this really deserves.
The mood eases up a little with the slower paced "In the Movies", which is generally a far more melancholic piece. Moon's vocals are perfectly suited to this type of track and he does a superb job throughout. Nice use of piano punctuates the track which gradually builds up and their are some superb pieces of orchestration throughout the latter stages.
'Walk Away' is a classic rock anthem if ever there was one. You can almost see the the eighties hair styles when you listen to this song which is easily up to the standards set by the likes of Whitesnake (a band which I might add that I'm very fond of). Clear crisp lead guitar work and a solid bass line drive the music along while the keyboards weave some great variations around the the main theme. The simple refrain is very catchy (without becoming in he least annoying) all of which makes for classic rock in the finest tradition - very hard to fault!
Next we move to the title track of the album with 'Mother's Ruin'. This song is one with a strong environmental message concerning as it does the mess that human beings appear to have made of our one and only Mother Earth. That said this is not a song that preaches from the pulpit, but rather it states it's case and leaves the listener to make their own conclusions - as such it works very well indeed. Musically there is quite a lot of variety here, with the sound becoming more heavily layered as the track develops. Oliver switches effortlessly between piano and synth sections and once again the guitar is used to great effect throughout.
'Calling for You' is another upbeat rocky number and while this is certainly a good enough track I did not really find anything of particular note here apart from some great bass hooks that give a slightly funky edge to the sound.
The mood and the pace slow right down again with the rather moving 'If You're Leaving' which is something of a ballad. Great vocal work throughout carry this one along supported perfectly by layered yet restrained keyboard work from Oliver.
This track leads nicely into 'I Don't Believe in Angels', which leads in with a great vocal melody with a piano accompaniment in a very low key fashion. The track quickly picks up the pace however and it's not before before the pace is fairly flying along. Oliver excels with the keyboard work in this number, and I have to say it's probably as close as he comes to a Yes style of playing. The main keyboard section is followed in turn by a perfectly timed lead guitar run before the pace comes right back down again and the song runs out with the vocal / piano mix that it began with.
The final piece 'Wall of Water' also happens to be the longest on the album. While I confess that these days I tend to be a little wary of 'epic numbers' I actually found that the length of this track was not a problem. Of all the tracks featured this is the one that is most closely associated with the progressive (rather than the classic) rock style, and it works extremely well indeed. The song has the changes of direction and pace commonly found in progressive numbers, but the thing that really makes it is the fact that everything fits so well together. Moon puts in a stellar performance on the vocal front and I have to say David Mark Pearce's guitar playing here is nothing short of inspiring.
In conclusion then I have to say that I really loved this album, and this may be in part because it reminded me so much of the type of music that first got me buying albums. Having said that there is far more to this album than simple nostalgia. The songs are well thought out, very well performed and the production is very good indeed. All things considered I truly believe that Oliver Wakeman has come up with a winning album here and I can highly recommend it to all our readers.
18th November 2007
Like father like son they say (and they should know) and in this case this applies to Oliver Wakeman, first-born son of the great Rick Wakeman (YES) and his first band-album, following five instrumental releases and several other co-operative and feature works.
A good musical turn for Oliver Wakeman is this Mother's Ruin (2005) which, although different, stays loyal enough to the well-known progressive, neo-symphonic and New Age forms that he inherited from his father and his past works with Steve Howe. A brave decision for Oliver, as he decided to go diving into the frozen (nowadays) waters of the 80s melodic hard rock, albeit coming out unharmed and, even more, inspired, since this alloy of that melodic rock with a more sophisticated, dare say classicistic, musical approach, bound together in the form of normal songs with a start, a middle and an ending, produces an impregnated synthetic and lyric total of a higher level. This bridge over such an approach and the neo-prog elements and instrumental interludes that Wakeman loves so much, twine a totally agreeable and exquisite feeling which, also due to the excellent engineering and production, tends to an objective audiophile experience.
It is definitely not an album to listen to while on the road, neither an album that you will dance to or enjoy at a rock club. Wakeman's music, even in its most mainstream expression herein (if we dare use this term for this album), is food for thought and senses. It simply needs its time to mature as an acoustic feeling, needs patience to fill the spaces and it definitely requires devoted listeners.
Excellent performance, from excellent artists, with moments of dominating ambience and instances of a heavier, more staccato temper, masterly interchanging within each song. Oliver Wakeman is traveling through time, using a time machine that brings him back to this day and projects him into the future of the melodic progressive scene, traveling along the long route mapped out by his forefathers YES, but also Camel, King Crimson, Goblin, Edgar Broughton Band and, the more contemporary, Dream Theater.
For the ones that have already followed Oliver Wakeman's career so far, this album will be a pleasant intermission to his, undeniably, hard to follow past. For everybody else, this is a good chance to initiate in this kind of rock music before they decide to move on to more classical 70s and 80s samples of the kind.
Of Course the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the person involved is, oh boy, another neo-classical composition. Well, Wakeman takes a different approach on his latest release'Mother's Ruin' where he produces a more collaborative effort, filled with songs and not overdrawn sub-symphonic compositions that he is mostly known for. And like his father, his keyboard prowess is in full force adding a new dimension to his style as well as exposing a more rock side to his playing.
Rock side you ask, oh yes.'Mother's Ruin' of course has the progressive elements to it when it comes to his keyboard playing, but the album itself has a heavy element to it, and rocks with a groove where all the soloing, whether it being on keys or guitar, has a prominent place as well. And that is the thing about this record; it's has hooks and catchiness that is often absent from many progressive rock releases, making it a more accessible album for the masses. In fact, due to the more'band' oriented sound, you could probably call this a record by the Oliver Wakeman Band, but we won't go there.
Songs like'Don't Come Running,''Calling for You,' and the title track are at the forefront of the records hard rock side; hinting at some keyboard heavy AOR in the style of bands such as Millennium and Presto Ballet, where the arrangements stay within a more straightforward style, with no overzealous improvisations. But as we know, Wakeman is much capable of producing the compelling melodies and arrangements that opens up the mind with his ear candy. Cuts such as the emotional groove of'I Don't Believe,' the neo-prog overtones of'The Agent' and the ethereal'Walk Away' are examples of his prowess for the sophisticated melodic approach.
Along with vocalist Moon Kinnaird, Axeman David Mark Pearce, skinsman Dave Wagstaffe, and bassist Tim Buchanan, Oliver Wakeman and Co. sort of bridge the gap between progressive rock and AOR. Not that this is a full-on neo-prog release, it's is some of the most highly complex melodic song structuring to surface in the technical music world.
Reviewer: Tommy Hash
Prolusion. Although "Mother's Ruin" is the ninth album in the general discography of English keyboardist and composer Oliver WAKEMAN, it marks my first acquaintance with his work. The history of the artist's activity in the field of progressive music is as widely known as his genealogy, so I don't think readers will benefit anything else if I enlarge this paragraph with... you know what. Novice? Check Oliver's Bio at his website.
Analysis. That being said, the winds of English Classic Art Rock Society blow free over "Mother's Ruin", in which is certainly no wonder since Oliver is no nominal member, by far, of that organization. Six of the nine tracks on the disc reflect a typically English modern approach to classic Symphonic Progressive, bringing to mind the names of Arena, Landmarq and Asia amongst others, though Oliver's style of playing keyboards has much common ground with that of his father. However the opening number, Don't Come Running, reminds me more of GTR - just having a great keyboardist and using pronouncedly heavy guitar riffs (the latter peculiarity being typical of most songs).
There are two more fast-paced rockers on the CD, Calling for You and I Don't Believe in Angels, with the most impressive solo sections still coming from Oliver and, to some lesser degree, guitarist Dave Mark Pearce. The construction of guitar riffs on the former refers directly to '70s Hard Rock, and Dave has succeeded in reproducing the distinctive spirit of the genre. Walk Away is the last up-tempo song with a steadily rhythmic groove. Unlike the aforementioned three however, this piece isn't notable for its effective chord changes and is basically a trivial AOR opus, full of unnecessary repetitions.
There are some notorious hooks, but are these part of what we love our music for? In the Movies is essentially ballad-style Prog-Metal with inventive string arrangements and touching dramatic vocals. Besides, there are three different instrumental sections, the piano- and strings-laden finale sounding just a bit less ornate and compelling than those involving all the group's instrumentation. If You're Leaving is a plain ballad, but the delivery is so convincing and sincere that even a lyrical plot (love-affair for sure) doesn't sound annoying.
Whether accidentally or not:-), the longest three songs - the title track, The Agent and Wall of Water - turn out to be the most eventful, each manifesting plenty of essential progressive features, at times in conjunction with some definitely unorthodox decisions seemingly destroying the symmetry of harmonic constructions. Just listen to how both masterfully and precisely the group accelerate their pace while following Oliver's cunning trick not long before the finale of The Agent, which though, is just one of the many gripping moments here.
While not being largely instrumental in the narrow sense of the concept, each of the three contains numerous non-vocal interludes and is rich in dynamic transitions in general, now moving within the realm of vintage Art-Rock with certain hints of early Rick Wakeman, now transforming into lushly symphonic Cathedral Metal which is beyond any comparisons, now obtaining an almost chamber sound, and more. I am also much impressed with Moon Kinnaird's singing, partly because his manner reminds me of that of Damian Wilson, and I make no secret of the fact that I find Damian to be one of the very best vocalists to appear on the British progressive scene during the last fifteen years.
Conclusion. While not everything on this recording fully suits my personal vision of the development of contemporary progressive music, the taste and professionalism that run all through Oliver Wakeman's "Mother's Ruin" raise this album much higher than some of the vintage Progressive-related releases I've heard in recent years. I highly recommend this CD to fans of modern Art-Rock / Neo.
VM: Agst 18, 2006
'Rock Report' web site in Belgium
Oliver, the eldest son of Rick Wakeman, had written and appeared on various albums before he released his first solo album, 'Heaven's Isle', in 1997.Since then he has written or co-written another 8 albums, working with musicians such as Karl Groom, Tracey Hitchings, Steve Howe, Clive Nolan and others.
'Mother's Ruin' is the title of his latest studio project and it sees a change in direction from his recent instrumental releases. It?s a collection of intelligently written songs that will please a wide audience. Indeed, with these songs Oliver not only aims at progrock fanatics, but at lovers of melodic (hard) rock as well.
The instrumentation is dynamic (as always) and the production is well-finished. This is - as far as I?m concerned - Oliver?s best album to this date. Don't let it slip out of your hands!
Oliver Wakeman is new age meets rock fabulous! He is the Son of legendary Rick Wakeman of the rock group 'Yes'. Oliver's album Mother's Ruin definitely gives off a nice Yes vibe but leaving enough room to explore and create his own style within.
'Don't Come Running', 'The Agent', 'In the Movies', 'Walk Away', 'If You're Leaving' and 'Wall of Water' are not only tunes to rock out to but they relish in incredible sound and feeling.
Oliver Wakeman and his band have put together a great sounding album. Check out Mother's Ruin for yourself and see if you discover some pretty terrific music as I have.
Reviewer: Lynda Dale MacLean
In the hinterland between prog and metal, lies the opening track on this album it's got all the power of rock but all the attributes of prog on a four minute song that wouldn't have been out of place on the last Rick Wakeman band-recorded studio album, with wailing synth solos, electric guitar and those smooth but soaring vocals so beloved of the Wakeman fraternity.
‘In The Movies' is a big languid symphonic ballad, filled with mountains of superb keyboard work, then the eight and a half minute: ‘The Agent' continues in a similar vein to the opening track with a sound more akin to a vastly souped-up 70's era Rick Wakeman-esque slice of AOR rocking prog, with organ, synths, guitar and rhythm section following a high-flying course of soloing and duelling in between the extensive song portions.
The pace decelerates somewhat for the anthemic prog-AOR ballad that is'In The Movies' although its developing, building approach gives the song more of a dynamic quality from tender to impassioned and powerful. Then you get 3 tracks that are back to the prog-metal-esque openers, before another ballad creeps in.
The four and a half minute'I Don't Believe In Angels' mixes both with some seventies sounding wailing Moog and organ-like soloing along the way amid fiery rhythms and expansive electric guitar riffs.
The album ends on the ten minute'Wall Of Water', a song that starts slowly but builds into another seventies sounding Rick Wakeman styled mix of lyrics and solos.
Oliver has certainly inherited his father's keyboard talents, and these are much in evidence right across this album, at times so much so that you feel you could be listening to a new AOR influenced album by the man himself!
Mother's Ruin is what could be generically called a progressive hard rock album. Such vague descriptions only begin to describe the latest release by Oliver Wakeman. A lot of thought and effort has gone into the making of this album, and it shows. Oliver, as always, is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast of musicians, who seem just right for the parts they play.
The songs themselves (which are very well suited for live performance) are energetic (nicely offset by a couple of slow tempo pieces), edgy and upbeat. I didn?t expect Oliver to be quite so hard edged, but I?m glad to say I am very pleasantly surprised! Knowing Oliver, it shouldn't really be so surprising, as everything he does he does with passion, and he is committed to excellence.
Oliver utilizes a nice variety of keyboards throughout the album, ranging from synths to organ to my favorite, the piano. I also enjoy the extra sound effects added mostly at the beginning or ending of some tracks it makes everything just a bit more interesting. The album was well recorded, sounding great on any type of player. The placement of the songs offers a nice variety throughout.
Mother's Ruin starts off with a rather rocky upbeat track titled Don't Come Running. Straight ahead hard driving rock is a great way to open an album (or live show for that matter) and this song fits the bill perfectly. I am particularily impressed with Dave?s (Wagstaffe) drumming here. The storyline seems to portray someone's friendship gone bad and the coming to terms with the reality that it's over.
The Agent is a more industrial sounding track regarding the bad ethics of someone working in the business side of music. This is certainly one of the heavier tracks, with some nice guitar solos and of course plenty of great synths (representing the good side of the musician that loves his music - yeah!) which offset the heavy (evil side) of the Agent!
In the Movies deserves to become a classic, and would be, given the proper exposure on radio, or if the song was featured in a (no pun intended) movie. This is one of the slower tempo tracks, and one of my favorites. This song has wonderful voice and sincere piano, both speaking from the heart. Oliver pays a tribute to his dad on this one, with a wonderfully sounding synth solo, (resembling something from Recollection on the Journey to the Centre of the Earth album) which fits perfectly into the musical context of the song. The message speaks the truth.
Walk Away is sort of an 90's American rock song at first listen, but the song grows on you. There's a nice flourish on the keyboards. It's a lighter, bouncy melodic, fun song! It is a well placed change of pace on the album.
The title track, Mother's Ruin, is what I would call a progressive waltz with a kind of a Doors feel to it. I like to say it's hauntingly delicious. The beginning is a bit deceptive in regards to the direction the song takes. When it's over, you make a mental note to play that song just one more time before you put the CD back in the case. This is one of those songs I am sure will continue to grow on me over the years.
Calling for You, another up tempo hard rocker. A great song for driving down the highway. The guys just let loose and have a fun time with this one, I'm sure. Another change of pace that adds to the overall variety of the album.
If You're Leaving, a slow dancer begins with Oliver's trademark soft piano with Moon's voice coming in ever so gently. Although the lyrics portray the end of a romance, the song seems to be quite romantic sounding. Delicately performed, the balance in the band is perfect for this song, with a nice sprinkling of guitar solo added for just the right texture. Very nicely done and should be well liked by many who hear it.
I Don't Believe in Angels, in my opinion, is the best song on the album. It is very dynamic with soft, subtle moments countered by bold, strong passages that equally command your attention. There is some rather frenetic synth that some people are just going to love! I feel as if words alone can't describe this track to its fullest impact, so give it a listen and see if you're not left sitting there after the song ends saying WOW, this is something special! Very special indeed.
Wall of Water concludes the album and is the longest track at over 10 minutes. Summarizing the events on the album, and the sense of impending doom. However, the music seems to offer a sense of security, perhaps helping to cope? It certainly seems to fit with the overall message of the album that although there is doom and failure all around, there is also a feeling of confidence that we will survive to see another day and perhaps a new beginning.
One redeeming quality of many of these songs is that everytime I hear them, I hear something just a bit differently and also get a different interpretation of the lyrics. Do yourself a favor, buy the album, give it a couple of spins and tell your friends just how good this one is!
Listeners of Oliver?s previous work will recognize some familiar sounds and stylings on Mother's Ruin. I dare say that this album goes a long way in defining what is becoming the Oliver Wakeman sound and style!
Well done Oliver!
The very beginning startled me, really!!! Oliver wanted to make us fall off the chair, probably!!! Nothing wrong with that, though!! And then came the guitar, heavier than I'm used to and I didn't know what to think at first. I thought that it was a little "Arena" influenced. I love Clive's bands, but Arena is the one I really can't relate much to (Bruce loves it, though!). I prefer Pendragon, Strangers on a Train... I heard the whole album still in a "state of shock" because of the beginning. But I NEVER get myself get influenced by a first hearing of a work of art and I learned that from my father. He always tells me: "never form an opinion about a work of art only by your first impression, take your time, sometimes you might be expecting something different and then you get biased". And it's quite true.
Then I listened to the CD again, many times, and following the lyrics, paying attention to all the details and also the message it wanted to transmit.
All I can say is that the more I hear it the more I like it, and every time I hear I pay attention to some new detail, some new sound, something I hadn't paid attention to before and it's a very enriching experience. Oliver did it again, another masterpiece!!!
Yes, some of the guitar is a little heavy, but it goes so well with everything and it's quite adequate for a band and for live performances (as many people already pointed out).
Everything seems to be right where it's supposed to be, everything perfect. Vocals, guitars, drums, bass, keyboards. Wow, GREAT solos, Oliver is getting better and better (as if it were possible!!! ;-)
All through the album we can see Oliver's style, he already has his "trademark", which is quite good! When we hear Mozar, for example, we know it's Mozart, so nothing wrong with some typical musical phrases and a personal style, on the contrary! The Agent referred me to many other songs by Oliver (some tracks of "3 Ages", "The Hound"), it's quite an "energetic song" (as Bruce wrote on his review) and the keyboard solos are breathtaking. Not to mention the lyrics. I think that most musicians nowadays would identify themselves with what's written there. It portrays very well this sad situation of the music industry, where the artist is just an object to be sold. All "agents" should listen to this song!!
Then comes my favorite one (so far!!), "In the Movies". Well, I'm a romantic person with a very strong classical background, and I also love "ballads". I think it's wonderful when a song succeeds in creating images in our mind (many of Oliver's songs do that to me) and this one is like a video clip to me, I hear the rain falling and I can imagine a scenario. And I got quite impressed by the lyrics because it has a lot to do with my feelings... being so romantic, I always tend to think that life has to be like "in the movies" and this created a lot of frustration, of course, as life is never like in the movies. When I was younger, I used to go to the movies and come out at the end of the movie crying (even if the movie was a comedy!), I resented a lot that life was not perfect and beautiful as we see there. But life is the way it's supposed to be, and it's good, of course! And then there's the keyboard solo that gives us the goosebumps!!! Bruce and I call it the "Recollection style solo" because it reminded us a little of Rick's solo in Recollection (Journey).
Maybe that's why some people commented that the album sounds a little "Journey style". But, I'd say that it's similar BUT it's also quite different, as Oliver already has his own style, so I don't think it sounds like Rick, it definitely sounds like... Oliver! Again, nothing wrong with the idea of getting influenced by other musicians, which is probably the case there, as Oliver always says he loves his dad's work. Some of Beethoven's works sound quite like Mozart, also Rossini's (the Barber of Seville Overture is a good example). I like to say that "In the Movies" is a "The Healer" style song (from 3 Ages of Magick). It has that flavour, which makes me feel in Heaven!! The same with "Burgundy Rose" (from Jabberwocky), "A Picture of a Lady" (The Hound - I'm glad to hear that Oliver is playing this wonderful song live in his gigs, how I wish I was there!!!). Ah, how I love when Oliver creates this kind of mood, it's so soothing, pure beauty!!!
I always get amazed as to how Oliver can sound "symphonic" in his albums... we can hear an orchestra there, no kidding!!! Some musicians now regret that they can't afford to have an orchestra playing with them to record an album and tour.. but Oliver performs the "magick", we can hear orchestra in his albums (and also Clive's), even when we know there's none!! (another good example is the Hound's overture)
"Walk Away", at least in my opinion, is a little more pop style and it would be a good one for the radio. Quite good too and some wonderful keyboard songs. It's another good one for a live performance! The whole band seems to be quite in harmony in this song, and each artist can show his skills quite well. Many wonderful solos.
"Mother's Ruin", another excellent one with another very good message for our times. It has a "waltz" flavour once in a while, very well done. I can feel the passion there, and also despair, sorrow, a cry of anguish for the earth which has been so abused in modern times. It's a very powerful song! It's so amazing when our mind can "mingle" with the melody, when there's a harmony between both and we can really feel so many emotions through the music. Very beautiful piano throughout the song!
"Calling for you" is another one with a "heavier" kind of guitar sound and quite good for live performances, I'd think.The more I hear it, the more I like it!
"If You're Leaving" is my "second favorite". Funny, the first three times or so that I listened to the album this song didn't catch much of my attention, and then one day I woke up with the song in my head and I kept singing it over and over in my mind (and I think it's a good sign). Well, it starts with a wonderful piano, give me piano any time, you know, it's my beloved instrument!! Another one that create images in my mind and that could be a soundtrack of a movie or a good and well done video clip. I love the way it starts, slow, delicate (again a little bit of "The Healer" style) and then it grows and grows and then another breathtaking keyboard solo, wow!!!! You know, Oliver made magick again... made me like heavier guitars!!! The guitar just sounds perfect in this song (as in all the others, anyway). I still keep singing and humming the song all day long, even Chris already knows some parts!!! The guitar solo is also very beautiful, right at the end... it keeps us wanting for more as it fades away!
"I Don't Believe in Angels", another one with quite a strong message for your strange times when looks is all that matters... Funny, it was the first one which called my attention, even before we bought the album, by the samples on the website, the "wawa moog" solo is quite beautiful and impressive. Again it starts in a slow pace and keeps growing and growing, getting richer in sounds as it develops its theme. And it has a great Hammond solo, I just love Hammonds, even more than moogs, you know. Another one with a great guitar solo the way I like, very classical style (a little in the style of the solo in "The View From Here". I like the way it finishes, quite "abruptly", I'd say, and it suits well the style and also the theme.
"Wall of Water" makes the "Grand Finale". There's a little of everything in this song, again I can feel "Oliver's style" quite clearly, that "3 Ages" mood once in a while, some "Hound", some of the new age albums, but it's also like a summary of the whole album, even being the last track, it sounds like an overture, I'd say. Magnificent!
Regarding the themes, one can think that the album is gloomy and pessimistic about life in our troubled times, but, as always in Oliver's works, we can feell the "healing" effects that come exactly through music!
While I keep playing the album over and over, I just can't wait for the next ones!!!
Well, I could go on and on talking about the album being so rich!!
"On the Rocks" Review - 'Album of the Week'
Contrary to his previous releases this is the oldest son of Rick Wakeman's very first group effort. Over the years Oliver has released many solo albums next to collaborations with lots of guest musicians such as “Jabberwocky”, “The 3 ages of magick” with Steve Howe and “The hound of the Baskervilles”. For “Mother”s ruin” Oliver has recruted a real band so it's such a shame to learn that for live gigs the album's lead vocalist Moon Kinnaird has been replaced by a certain Paul Manzi. Also the album's bassplayer Tim Buchanan sees a replacement going on tour with Paul Brown filling in the vacancy. Paul has a pedigree in British progressive rock having played for Hybrid, Medicine Man and Janison Edge. With Dave Wagstaffe (Landmarq) taking care of all drum duties and the ace guitarist David Mark Pearce the line-up is complete. Having played on Oliver and Lisa's wedding alongside Steve Howe for sure David was the ideal choice ! “Mother's ruin” is the first Oliver Wakeman release for the Progrock Records label and I'm convinced that this will be a wise move for both artist and label as it will most certainly translate itself in a much bigger exposure worldwide.
The album opens with two fierce rockers already illustrating that this is above all a rock band. But as time evolves they shed a more detailed light onto the band's output to prove that this is more than just a rock band. During'The agent' Oliver plays the synths exactly the way his dad did during his “Journey” period. In fact if you wouldn't know you'd think Rick is guesting on this album. However both Oliver and his younger brother Adam must have received the keyboard and Moog virus with the breast milk (after all they are from the same mother, Ros !).
Not only did they inherit their father's skills but both are also excellent composers. Here on this album I had shivers down my spine when I heard the absolutely stunning'In the movies'. Every single detail sounds absolutely right with Moon's voice delivering just the right timbre for this kind of song. Once you absorbe this superb melody you will be hooked for life ! Next up is probably themost radio friendly song of the lot.'Walk away' has this singalong percentage which is only reserved to the very best AOR songs worldwide. The bit in the middle where things slow down a little will be ideal in live situations where I already can hear the crowd sing along.
It is not because Oliver is a keyboard player that the music gets inundated with synths and stringsounds. Oliver plays the role of an important part of the band delivering the right amount of input where needed without over arranging it all. Maybe the titletrack ‘Mother's ruin' gets closest to the approach his dad has launched with releases such as “The gospels” and “Return to the centre of the earth”. The piano merely is used to introduce an acoustic side to the song which nicely contrasts with the modest guitar chords. However the spotlight rightly is focussed on a fantastic synthsolo. Based around a soft babbling piano,'If you're leaving' contains the same quality as wellknown classic rock antics as delivered by the likes of Foreigner, Toto or even Richard Marx. Especially Moon's way of singing suits this song perfectly. Moon has the quality to feel right whether it concerns a ballad or a fierce rocking anthem. In fact he illustrates his versatility perfectly during'I don't believe in angels' which begins slowly only backed by piano before the full band injects some decent rock'n'roll fuelled by Oliver's synths which later on are switched towards a rousing organ. The end of the song gets back to the feel of the beginning with only voice and piano.
The album closes with the longest track being the 10'42” long ‘Wall of water'. It's like a mini musical featuring different kinds of atmospheres all condensed into one powerful ball of energy. It's kind of their'pièce de résistance' as it not only illustrates the technical skills of every single musician involved but it also proves the quality of the composing skills of Oliver Wakeman. The song even includes the sound of a cell phone to enhance it all and towards the end you can hear the tiny ball doing rounds in a spin of the roulette. You can safely place your bet on this album as “Mother's ruin” surely is a winner for Oliver Wakeman, for the band, for Progrock records and most of all : for YOU !
John 'Bo Bo' Bollenberg