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Captain Beefheart - Mirror Man CD (album) cover

MIRROR MAN

Captain Beefheart

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.53 | 61 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Some may dispute that Trout Mask Replica is the essential Captain Beefheart album to own. It may be the most experimental and the most well known, but overall I feel that this album was a stronger release. Half quasi-improv jams (the lyrics feel improvised on these tracks) and half Avante-Garde insanity, this album is nothing short of breathtaking. One major difference from this album in comparison to other Beefheart albums is the length in songs, two songs exceed 15 minutes and the other two run from 8-9 minutes in length each.

The opening jam of Tarotplane is an ordinary blues riff augmented by some improv harmonica puffs and some lyric which feels completely thought of at the stop, but the band plays so tight and keeps the groove so well, that the jam becomes tighter and tighter as the song progresses. Sure it gets a little boring in the middle, but that's the fun of the experimentation, they were able to take that one riff to the extreme. The Mirror Man is an attempt at a contemporary song on the album, but the extended jam takes the song in a completely different direction. 25th Century Quaker is another attempt at this, but again is caught up in the experimentation. The finale, Kandy Korn is another extended jam that has the same improvised feel as the opener Tarotplane.

Overall, this is a superb effort from Vliet and his cronies. What's so enjoyable about every album that he has released is that they make you unsure of what direction they will take next, so you're always on your toes. Anyway, this is by far my favorite Beefheart album, but it is not without its faults. The extended jams can get a tad repetetive, but they don't really deter from the overall experience. And if you've never liked Beefheart's voice, you're not going to be swayed by this album. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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