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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.40 | 2779 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Second studio Camel opus. Quite different from their first one produced a year before. Due to the lack of (commercial) success they had to change from label and opted for Gama. During the recording sessions, Gama signed a long-term deal with Decca to release all Camel future albums.

This one is of course famous for its sleeve. While the band was touring in America, the American division of Camel cigarettes requested the withdrawn of the design to avoid legal procedures. In the US, "Mirage" has been licensed to Janus record. The album sleeve was quickly redesigned and the album was renamed "Janus 7009" (sounds like "90125", no ?). In the rest of the world the cover remained unchanged.

The European division of Camel was willing to produce small packs of five cigarettes with the Camel artwork and track listing. The cigarette company was really keen on to idea of a sponsorship deal with the band that they seriously suggested renaming the songs on "Mirage" to relate to the Camel brand and smoking. The association with the company did go as far as free cigarettes given away at concerts, having amplifyers were covered by camel (fake) skins ! The US sleeve for "Mirage" will be almost similar to the one of their first album.

Most of the tracks had already been performed in live sessions so that the album was quite easy to record in the sense that the band knew already what they had to improve (or not) for these studio sessions.

"Freefall" does not pass really well the proof of time : it sounds like a 60'ies number and is quite boring. Vocals are rather poor and somewhat old fashioned. "Supertwiser" is already a typical Camel piece of music : quiet, relaxing with very nice flute playing by Latimer.

The mini-suite "Nimrodel-The Procession-The White Rider" is a wonderful song : full of emotion (musically and vocally). The symphony of the band at a climax. The track starts quite slowly and develops into a solid rock number with great synth work. The last part of the song though ends in a psychedelic trip which could have been better. One of the highlight.

"Earthrise" is a very nice intrumental which is rather premonitory for the next album to come : "The Snow Goose". Then comes the suite "Lady Fantasy- Encounter-Smiles for You-Lady Fantasy" which about thirty years later will still be a regular in their live sets. This song is very good : lots of keys, rythm and mood changes. Rocking alright at times. Another highlight.

Although the album was well received by the specialized press, it failed to chart in the UK (it reached Nr. 149 in the US)

On the remastered version there are about thirty minutes of bonus tracks which are fine but not essential. Most of them were recorded during their Marquee Club concerts in October 1974. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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