The Bells Toll

September 9, 1998
Geir Rakvaag
Dagsavisen ( Norwegian newspaper)

Mike Oldfield
"Tubular Bells III"

Don't let anybody who think that the first "Tubular Bells" (1973) was boring and unimaginative tell you that "Tubular Bells III" is an unnecessary album. In stead you should listen to us who found the first "Tubular Bells" to be imaginative and fun. Mike Oldfield released "Tubular Bells II" six years ago, an album that stuck very close to the the variations of the themes from the original. It was an interesting experience, even though I must admit it hasn't been played much since then. This time the album starts in the same way, but already after 5 minutes Oldfield reaches a guitarclimax that makes us wonder what will come next. And then he moves away from the original scheme, he makes completely new instrumental tracks, and in the middle of the album we get the pop-ditty "Man In The Rain" wich he just as well could've called "Moonlight Shadows II." Sometimes we hear echoes from "Tubular Bells" but they have to fight against new age themes. Even though a few years stay on Ibiza has resulted in more dance friendly rythm tracks, this album comes out as nothing more than the self-pompous and unexciting music Oldfield has made in the past 20 years. Let us who liked the original tell you that "Tubular Bells III" is a totally unnecessary album.

Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield