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.