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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.39 | 2649 ratings

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5 stars Mirage is such a wonderful album from Camel, a band who was coming of age as a more "undergound" progressive rock band (not that prog was radio-ready) on their second release. Camel excels here with a tight variety of compositions, and you can see so much potential coming off this album that their debut only showed so much of. Even the vocals, though never the highlight of the band, are more accentuated and not as weak this time around. From the beginning, "Freefall" displays a more challenging direction, especially in the middle break. Again, Peter Bardens' keyboards and Andrew Latimer's guitars play off one another so well, and I cite Bardens' lead vocal as the first evidence of my case above about stronger singing, even if neither he nor Latimer are powerful singers. "Supertwister" introduces us to Latimer's flute playing, and Doug Ferguson has a nice thick bass part to go along with this beautiful interlude-style number. I especially like "Nimrodel," Camel's first try at true extended storytelling, with frequent time changes and musical soundscapes, ending with a guitar solo which sounds like Latimer played this from a mountain top. The first ever Latimer/Bardens collaboration (which would become the cornerstone of the band) is "Earthrise," another instrumental featuring Andy Ward doing some excellent speed drumming portions, but the keyboard/guitar exchange continues to highlight. However, the major piece is the 13-minute "Lady Fantasy" suite, but unlike Music Inspired By The Snow Goose, there were two lyrical sections, but the music provides that atmosphere, and Latimer has some excellent guitar that people can air out to, especially about nine minutes in. If you have the remastered edition, the original mix of "Lady Fantasy" is even better than the studio one, complete with effects on the final guitar and keyboard solos, and Ward's drums sound slightly more live. Even if they weren't quite as regarded or famous as Yes, Genesis, or ELP, Camel preserves the progressive roots on this album, and it's still my favorite in their catalog. Remember that if you own this album, it's essential to try out Music Inspired By The Snow Goose and Moonmadness to complete Camel's prime trilogy.
CVoss | 5/5 |


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