Year of Release: 2005
Label: ProgRock Records
Catalog Number: PRR235
Total Time: 52:19:00
Contrary to his previous releases, this is the oldest son of Rick Wakeman's very first group effort. Over the years Oliver Wakeman 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has recruted a real band so it's such a shame to learn that for live gigs the album's lead vocalist Moon Kinnaird has been replaced by a certain Paul Manzi.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 bass player Tim Buchanon 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 didn'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 absorb this superb melody, you will be hooked for life! Next up is probably the most radio friendly song of the lot. "Walk Away" has this sing-a-long 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 singing along.
It is not because Oliver is a keyboard player that the music gets inundated with synths and string sounds. 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 title track, "Mother's Ruin" gets closest to the approach his dad 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 focused on a fantastic synth solo. Based around a soft babbling piano, "If You're Leaving" contains the same quality as well-known 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 "pi?ce de r?sistance" 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 cellphone 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!
Don't Come Running (3:45) / The Agent (8:36) / In The Movies (5:11) / Walk Away (4:25) / Mother's Ruin :6:11) / Calling For You (4:02) / If You're Leaving (4:51) / I Don't Believe In Angels (4:32) / Wall Of Water (10:42)
Oliver Wakeman - piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar
David Mark Pearce - electric guitars
Moon Kinnaird - vocals
Dave Wagstaffe - drums, percussion
Tim Buchanon - 4- and 5-string basses
Heaven's Isle (1997)
Nolan/Wakeman - Jabberwocky (1999)
The 3 Ages Of Magick (2001)
Nolan/Wakeman - The Hound Of The Baskervilles (2002)
Purification By Sound (2003)
Mother's Ruin (2005)
Enlightenment & Inspiration (2003/2007) (avail as an iTunes download0
Coming To Town (2009)
The Strawbs - Dancing To The Devil's Beat (2009)
Coming To Town (DVD) (2008)
Genre: Symphonic Prog