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Camel - Mirage CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.40 | 2778 ratings

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4 stars I'm not a big fan of this band although I really like this, their second album. Until I heard this album I was very skeptical about why some would label these guys 'Canterbury'. Indeed, I can hear a little bit of a Canterbury influence, mostly in the keyboard work of Peter Bardens and the flute work of guitarist/vocalist Andy Latimer. At least one song, named after a Canterbury group, even sounds like Canterbury compositionally. But it's only on the first two albums where you hear a Canterbury influence; after this they are pretty much 100% Symphonic Prog.

"Freefall" is possibly my favourite Camel song. I like the spacey beginning. The lyrics and vocals are sorta catchy. Love the sound of the organ. Latimer does some great guitar playing in this song. The switch to the jazzier section is almost flawless. The more melodic part that follows is great too. "Supertwister" is a great instrumental named after the Dutch band Supersister. Very Canterbury sounding. I like how the song constantly changes. There's so much going on in this song it seems longer than just 3 1/2 minutes. The sound of a bottle being opened and a glass being filled at the end.

I like the crowd noises and the marching band music after the synth intro to "Nimrodel". The main vocal part of this track sounds like future Camel. The jam in the middle is good but nothing special. Love the synth after 7 minutes...superb. The guitar effects are cool too. The synth lines in "Earthrise" are really nice. Love the martial drumming mixed with handclaps and vibes and/or Rhodes near the beginning. Some real intense playing (for this band) later on. Reprises beginning section to end it.

Everything is going fairly well until we bump into "Lady Fantasy". Many like this track, maybe because it's the longest on the album. I feel this song is very weak. I do not like the synth at the start; sounds like a cheesy 8-bit Nintendo game. The vocal parts sounds like '60s music, pretty dated sounding for 1974. The transitions between the sections sounds forced. The more laid-back middle section is pretty good. The more rockin' part after 9 minutes has a good riff on clavinet(?), doubled on guitar and bass. As usual at this point, the band reprises an earlier section to end the song; this type of thing is really starting to get old now.

I like when Camel rock out. I think they are best at doing 5-9 minute songs. Latimer isn't the greatest singer, but this music doesn't require great vocals. Other than a handful of songs on their later albums, I don't really like anything they did after this. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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