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TALES FROM THE GREEN SOFA

Mirage

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent album CAMEL never made!!!

Can be compared with best CAMEL efforts like Mirage,Moonmadness and The Snow Goose.Highly melodical,professionally played,a bit DIY recorded and produced,but great anyway!The only problem I have is a lack of emotions...but wait,that's the same problem I have with CAMEL sometimes!!!OK,4 stars and an excellent addition to any prog-collection - highly recommended!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#89073)
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Tales from the Green Sofa represents a major progression for this group of starry eyed Camel fans from their debut. Here Mirage has defined its own identity, and it consists of more than a "spot the Camel reference" novelty act, something of which they could have been legitimately accused on "A Secret Place".

The great playing is still there, but it is more on Mirage's own terms. This is such a great album to listen to - I love to lose myself in the lengthy melodic tracks full of equal parts flute, organ, graceful lead guitar, and warm appealing male vocals. Speaking of vocals, that is one area of notable improvement, as the Camel-esque style of the first album collided miserably with the female vocals.

All tracks here are at least good, and for different reasons. Some are more mellow, some more rocking, some more fusion-y, some more bouncy, and these variations often occur within the same sprawling yet cohesive piece. My favourites are "Secret Place" (both parts), "You Don't Fool me", and "Friends of Mine", but the ones I have not listed are just as likely to be some else's favourites.

Mirage has emerged from Camel's shadow, and we discover it is a beautiful child with qualities of its parent but a purpose all its own. We look forward to watching the child grow.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#124749)
Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well, what a giant leap forward when compared to their already good debut A Secret Place. But unlike their first effrord this one is much more cohesive and personal: the early Camel sound is now a big influence, not a copy anymore. The strong Marillion references on a couple of tracks before is all but gone. The result is a very melodic, powerful and diverse CD, where you can still hear a lot of Camel references, but with a music of their own and very good songwriting.

The somewhat odd female singing is also history (Agnès Forner is now cited as a guest and on flute only). And even the male singing is much better now. However, the instrumental parts is where the gold is really in: gorgeous guitar solos, terrific bass playing, dreamy keboards (much on the Peter Bardens vein) and very versatile drumming. To top it all, we still have excellent flute on some songs. Those guys really know how to write great, memorable songs and performe them with very tasteful and varied arrangements. The playing here is top notch and there is absolute no low moments on the whole CD. All tracks are excellent and it is a joy to listen to it from start to finish.

Production is good, with all instruments very well balance in the mix.

Conclusion: a reall winner! A very nice surprise from France. If you like early Camel (around the time of their 4 first albums) with a slightly more jazzy approach, you just can´t miss Tales From The Green Sofa. An hour of pure prog heaven for all those who love great melodic symphonic prog. Rating: 4.5 stars at least. Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#332901)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars This band's name leaves no doubt as to who their foremost influence is, so the question for me is whether Mirage can come up with anything to rival the illustrious English band; is ''Tales From The Green Sofa'' good enough to challenge the pre-eminence of Camel's finest work? It's certainly a worthwhile effort but there's not a whole lot to distinguish these guys from Camel. Lyrics are in English, so there shouldn't be any problem for those with issues about non-English lyrics, and vocals are pleasant if lacking a little in feeling. Emotive guitar slices like a hot knife through buttery slabs of Hammond organ, and the occasional flute contributions further strengthen the Camel comparisons.

Thankfully I didn't go on my first impressions with this album, because ''Tales From The Green Sofa'' really grows on you if you allow for second and further thoughts. So long as you're not looking for originality you'll be fine here, although I do have one or two minor quibbles. Firstly, there are precious few moments to even remotely challenge the listener. However, the members of Mirage demonstrate a notable capacity for melody, so fans of symphonic prog should enjoy the album. Only seldom do they draw on more distant influences though.

''Secret Place (Part One)'', for example, comes to life after its murmuring intro with some spacey Floyd grooves, while ''Gone Margarita'' is arguably the album's jazziest track with chilled-out flute and congas. The title track waxes and wanes with a neat syncopated rhythm underpinning synthesizer and organ flurries, then wah wah guitar and short stabs of harsh organ. And that brings me to my second slight criticism, i.e. the album's lack of variety. The first three tracks basically follow a parallel course of guitar and Hammond duet, some funk-fuelled electric piano, and maybe a bit of acoustic guitar and flute. Jazz moments are definitely at a premium, but overall this is a quality piece of work.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#376006)
Posted Friday, January 07, 2011 | Review Permalink

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