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Wakeman, Oliver: Mother's Ruin

Oliver Wakeman has some serious footsteps to follow in considering his dad is the legendary Rick Wakeman . On his latest album Mother's Ruin, Oliver put together a hard hitting prog-rock band that will make his father proud. Shades of Arena, Pendragon, Saga, IQ, and of course Yes permeate the nine tracks on Mother's Ruin, but in no way is the music here a copycat of any of those bands, as Oliver's songwriting and musical skills really shine, as does the talents of his band. Joining the keyboard ace is singer Moon Kinnaird, guitarist David Mark Pearce, bassist Tim Buchanan, and drummer Dave Wagstaffe, and their combined efforts result in an album that is long on catchy melodies and adventurous instrumental passages.

Wakeman's nimble synth lines and powerful orchestrations mix with Pearce's crunchy power chords and Kinnaird's gutsy vocals on the first two uptempo rockers, "Don't Come Running" and "The Agent". These are two great ways to kick off this album, with plenty of gusto and blazing instrumental interplay. After the moody yet passionate "In the Movies", led by Wakeman's gorgeous piano and Kinnaird's emotional vocal delivery, the band again hits you head on with bombastic prog on "Walk Away", featuring searing guitar leads and an array of keyboards.

The title track is a melodic number that mixes some metal guitar riffs with acoustic sections and plenty of orchestrations, and the band goes for a more straightforward heavy rock piece ala modern day Uriah Heep on "Calling For You", highlighted by Kinnaird's histrionic vocals. After the gentle pop number "If You're Leaving", a song that should appeal to fans of Asia, Wakeman leads the group with some dizzying synth melodies on the hip "I Don't Believe in Angels". This piece not only has a great hook and some intense grooves, but Wakeman's tone and dexterity really rivals dear old dad. The closing epic "Wall of Water" is a wonderful piece, very Yes-like, and a great vehicle for the band to show their chops yet weave some intense and adventurous song structures amidst a story of a life gone astray.

This is very good stuff, and one of 2005's late surprises. Kudos to ProgRock Records for getting Oliver Wakeman and his talented band into the prog spotlight. I'll be watching carefully where they go from here.

Track Listing
1) Don't Come Running (3:45)
2) The Agent (8:36)
3) In the Movies (5:11)
4) Walk Away (4:25)
5) Mother's Ruin (6:11)
6) Calling For You (4:02)
7) If You're Leaving (4:51)
8) I Don't Believe in Angels (4:32)
9) Wall of Water (10:42)

Added: December 6th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Oliver Wakeman Website
Hits: 5956
Language: english

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Wakeman, Oliver: Mother's Ruin
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-06 14:06:57
My Score:

This isn't what I expected. After listening to keyboardist Oliver Wakeman's recent impressive yet indulgent instrumental solo albums (remember who his father is), who could blame me if I wasn't ready for the well-balanced communion of virtuoso instrumentation, smart lyrics and accessible melodies? Mother's Ruin is a solid and sometimes epic rock album with progressive and pop overtones. Sure, Wakeman's grandiose style is all over songs like the rocker "Calling For You" and the power ballad (yes, power ballad) "In the Movies." And he's surprisingly adept on the acoustic guitar, too. But intricate story songs like "The Agent" and the political title track prove Wakeman is not only a superb musician; he's also an intelligent storyteller. Wakeman wrote everything you hear on this nine-track disc, but credit his sharp four-man band for helping make Mother's Ruin an intriguing and satisfying listen, and singer Moon Kinnaird's voice, an amalgam of Michael Sadler, John Wetton and Rob Sowden, injects these songs with enviable passion. Comparisons to Saga, Yes, Asia and Arena are inevitable, and Mother's Ruin does sound a tad dated in spots. (Call me crazy, but the verses on "I Don't Believe In Angels" remind me of the Eagles' "Wasted Time.") But ultimately, Wakeman has crafted an appealing album that your prog-hating friends can love just as much as you.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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