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Mike Oldfield: Man On The Rocks (Virgin EMI)

When the chest was opened at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, Danny Boyle had slipped Mike Oldfield and Tubular Bells inside among the national treasures. For a few hours we forgot the absolute drivel he'd released in the decade prior: the self-referential "classical" puff of Music Of The Spheres and the mum-gets-a-spa-facial/dad-goes-techno hybrid of Light + Shade.

Here he is, though, back on the Virgin label that his early success helped create, writing songs in a "rock" mode, with Luke Spiller of young British indie-rockers The Struts on vocals. And rock-out he does too, especially on Nuclear, a track that's almost a homage to Scorpions in their 1980s heyday.

Mostly, though, it's easy-to-forget AOR with derisible lyrics. I've seen Tom Petty mentioned as a comparison, although to these ears the likes of Moonshine is Cliff Richard collaborating with Westlife, while I Give Myself Away merely slow-dances up close to Chris De Burgh's Lady In Red.

Minutes and Chariots are catchy enough, and it's here that you catch a brief glimpse of the man who wrote Moonlight Shadow. Oldfield will go down in history as a multi-instrumentalist who defined rock ambition when the album as a format was at its height; here, however, it's only his distinctive guitar style that stirs any passion.

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