Millo, Mario - Oceans Of The Mind

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Red Moon Music
Catalog Number: RED 01-008
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:05:00

No doubt the music of bands such as Split Enz, Men At Work, Crowded House, INXS, Midnight Oil are loved the world over and contain some interesting twists and turns. Fact is, all of these bands hail from Australia, yet where progressive rock is concerned, sadly few bands have emerged there since the seventies. Only one band has really stood the test of time and is still regarded as one of the best symphonic rock bands ever to emerge from that territory. This led the band to briefly reform in 1994 when they became one of the headliners of the famous Progfest festival held in Los Angeles. Of course we are talking of Sebastian Hardy here, the band led by the wonderful guitarist Mario Millo and who released only two albums, later issued on CD by Musea: Four Moments and Windchase. After the group disbanded Millo assembled a new outfit that released one album under the name of Windchase. Since the split of that band, Millo has been hailed as one of the most important musicians in Australia, mainly delivering loads of film scores. However, a while ago Mario started writing and recording new material that still contained a fair amount of the "old" Sebastian Hardy magic. Now even helped out by his own daughter Jess, the music sounds more contemporary, although Millo's superb guitar playing still remains the backbone of it all. In fact I am pleased to say that due to the sudden revival of progressive rock, the original Sebastian Hardy line-up has reformed, having done a short tour in Japan in July 2003. The band performed during the second part of the concert with the first part being devoted to Mario's new solo material. To top it all, Mario Millo has been asked to be support act when Yes tours Australia again. So it looks like all spotlights are once again turning towards Australia's finest prog outfit.

So let's see whether at all this Oceans Of The Mind is worth purchasing. You don't even need trained ears to fully understand that this album is a "must-have," as it still contains that "old" magic. Wonderful guitar playing, superb compositions, mindblowing melodies and captivating vocals are all here. What more can you wish for? By using real violins and cellos, the opening track "Faith In Art" even has its brief Kansas moment, whilst I want to stress the fact that Mario has a nice, pleasant voice that blends perfectly with the music. Towards the end, the song builds and builds, even flirting with a funky vibe before introducing a Gilmour-like guitar solo. As proof of Mario's great writing skills, just listen to the very Yes-like "Satellite" that sounds like an alternative "Don't Kill The Whale." Sounding almost like Steve Howe here, Millo also introduces us to the vocal talents of his daughter Jess. With "Sportscar" Millo proves he's also capable of delivering all instrumental songs full of hooks and interesting melodies. In fact, right at the very end of that song, Millo includes a couple of bars from Sebastian Hardy's "Glories Shall Be Released" from their memorable Four Moments album. Divine! On his new Oceans Of The Mind album, it's as if Millo has searched for the right combination of "old" and "new"' elements in order to still be accapted by the Sebastian Hardy diehards as well as by lovers of interesting, honest rock music. "Soulful Experience" is just that: one ball of honest rock'n roll energy with Millo's guitar in the star role. "Survive" harbours the same melody as in "Soulful Experience" yet places it within a ballad context backed by wonderful sparse strings. Towards the end Mario's voice is complemented by that of his daughter, giving the song that musical atmosphere.

The title track and "World Of Love" are rather mediocre in nature, although the latter sports a children's choir that adds a certain spontaneous naïvity. This fine album comes to a close by means of the melodic "Those Days Are Gone," which once again sports some superb guitar playing that gets very close to Steve Howe around his Beginnings period. As said before, this album contains a contemporary approach towards progressive rock. It illustrates the arranging and composing skills of Mario Millo but, although some authentic violins and cellos are used, I would love to hear some more keyboards in future. No doubt that future will be Sebastian Hardy, a force to be reckoned with!

Faith In Art (6:51) / Satellite (5:57) / Sportscar (4:54) / Soulful Experience (5:45) / Survive (5:57) / Oceans Of The Mind (4:44) / World Of Love (6:01) / Those Days Are Gone (3:52)

Mario Millo - guitars, vocals, mandolins, Hammond organ
Jeff Camilleri - bass, backing vocals
Robbie Siracusa - drums
Jess Milo - backing vocals
Dave Wilkins - backing vocals
David Hirschfelder - Nord synthesizer

Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments (1975)
Sebastian Hardie - Windchase (1976)
Windchase - Symphinity (1977)
Epic III (1979)
Sebastian Hardie - Live In L.A. (1998)
Human Games (2000)
Oceans Of The Mind (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin AU

Added: September 22nd 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 606
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]