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Mirage - Borderline CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.43 | 17 ratings

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3 stars With "Borderline", Mirage has completed the transition from Camel clone band to their own style, albeit remaining faithful to their original inspiration as well as a host of other artists from that era. In casting a broader brush, in general they have chosen the harder rock approach than on "Tales from the Green Sofa", especially in the rhythm guitars, but they remain committed to variation even in the heaviest songs.

The first four tracks are all lengthy indulgences with plenty of tasty guitars in bluesy and jazzy tones, interspersed vocals, strong melodies, and skillful shifts from quiet to raucous and back. In general, track N is heavier than track N-1. Like the previous album, it takes numerous listens to sink in, which I am only too glad to indulge. Unlike the previous album, I am not entirely happy with the production, which seems oddly compressed and lacks the openness of "Tales..". Also the vocals seem a bit colder, which may relate to the production. These factors may help influence my assessment that the songs are just a little less appealing than I had come to expect.

With the brief "When I Play Part 1" the album shifts into a relatively mellower mood, with songs generally running shorter. At 6:19, you would expect "I Saw You" to have sufficient time to develop, but it seems half baked by comparison to what came before, perhaps because the band enjoys slow buildups which necessitate proper allotment. In fact, "The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair" and "Blue Pill" both show greater progression, especially in the song structures themselves and the creative vocal melodies. even though they are much shorter. They make me think of "Breathless" era Camel a bit, and hence the Canterbury style. "When I Play Part 2" develops the original motif and includes some excellent organ work and another aggressive guitar solo before closing out with 2 minutes of bird sounds.

I had been so anticipating this release, and it does have many merits, not the least of which is the boldness of the band, but ultimately "Borderline" has me sitting on the fence a bit more than I would like.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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