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Blue Öyster Cult - Mirrors CD (album) cover

MIRRORS

Blue Öyster Cult

 

Prog Related

2.41 | 100 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars No sacred cows down this stretch of road

If some BOC fans had their way the band would have simply rehashed their first three albums ad infinitum. Many seem to base every judgment about the band through the prism of those albums. Thank God the band didn't listen to them because it is their second trilogy of albums (from Agents through Mirrors) that expanded their legacy by providing some of the most refreshing and quality music of their long career. These albums do not tarnish their name as many believe, they enhance it, they add much to the diversity of sound that distinguished BOC from some of the other hard rock bands of the day. For a brief moment we were treated to some different shimmering stars of the BOC universe.

Looking back at the most loathed "Mirrors" and allowing it to stand on its own it is amazing how it closes their second trilogy with such class. This is a moody album at times (some darkness, some light), a perfect album for cruising the highway at dusk or dawn-and thus, managed near perfection in the album cover art. While not quite the devious masterpiece that "Agents" was, "Mirrors" at first sounds like a continuation of "Spectres" but there is a noticeable shift to sonically cooler places. This makes sense because this was BOC's "west coast" album, their only 70s album made in Los Angeles. To get even further from their comfort zone they chose a new producer, the legendary Tom Werman, who true to his reputation challenged the ingrained notions (and with one band member even the musicianship) of the band. While not perfect it is a delicious 70s rock album if one can forget about things like "how progressive" it was or whether it pleases the first trilogy purists.

"Mirrors" is for the Cult as "Cornerstone" was for Styx. Released just four months apart, both presented a version of their respective bands with earnest precision and pop sentiments encouraged. Perhaps the charge of chasing FM airplay is fair but who gives a shit when the results are such ear candy? These are talented folks who didn't miss the plate much in the 1970s. There are a couple of classics on Mirrors that rival their best. "The Great Sun Jester" is full of warm acoustic guitar and an almost Lindsey Buckingham-like attention to detail. "The Vigil" could sit anywhere on Agents or Treaties and hold its own. A great mysterious vibe with a multi-section song construction, beautiful harmonies and guitar solos. "You're Not the One" is an odd but fantastic track, sounding at times like The Cars and featuring a Kim Deal guitar sound which makes me laugh when I hear it. See if you can spot the part I refer to. "Moon Crazy" is pure pop shine but listen to the killer playing! "In Thee" is a sweet track from the late great Allen Lanier who may have been influenced by Patti Smith, I actually think her vibe did creep into a few BOC albums and improve them. Same with "Lonely Teardrops" which closes the album with a beautiful musical sunset, via the background harmonies, soft keys, and great guitar solo.

I'm the odd man out on this title, never a surprise, but I think it is great. If you can't let your hair down and just enjoy a catchy album once in a while, you're really missing out on part of the pleasure of music. Kudos to whomever in the BOC camp was responsible for engineering this sunny Los Angeles fork in the road. The sacred cows would return soon enough.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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