For Islands, Mike Oldfield gathered a host of musicians to further his run of more mainstream-sounding albums. The album includes vocals by Bonnie Tyler, Kevin Ayers, and Max Bacon, as well as saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft (famous for his work on Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street"), along with the album's producer and former Yes member Geoffrey Downes. Even with such talent, Oldfield only garners sporadic instances of entertaining music, and the bulk of Islands comes off as quite pedestrian-sounding. Bonnie Tyler's passionate voice lifts the title track higher than any other cut, while "The Wind Chimes, Pt. 1 and 2" serves as the second-best song, instilling some of Oldfield's instrumental originality and adroitness in order to drum up its enchanting air. Unfortunately, tracks such as "When the Night's on Fire," "Flying Start," and "Magic Touch" lack any allurement or defined character, supporting accusations from critics that Oldfield has finally run out of ideas.
by Mike DeGagne