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Highly accessible, well-crafted (and ‘safe’) Progressive Rock with oodles of melody (some infectiously melodic riffs) and not a dud track on the album. The song writing is not as sophisticated – or odd – as some of the ‘giants’ of the genre, but the music is highly enjoyable nonetheless. The sound is a sort of symphonic Progressive Rock with discernable musical influences from the Canterbury Scene bands (but not jazzy-sounding at all, to me). Very good playing by all the band members: Latimer’s guitars and flute do it for me, with an honourable mention for Barden’s keyboards. But then I should also mention Ferguson’s bass and Ward’s drumming, which are top notch. There is plenty of racy music on this album, but also plenty of dreamy, relaxed sounds for chilling out. I can easily put this on as background music when I’m lazing or tinkering around (or having a beer, as the sound effect at the end of ‘Supertwister’ always gets my taste buds tingling). To me the music is very pleasant but not stellar, perhaps lacking slightly in innovation and surprises. There are a good variety of tempos and moods, though, lest I give you the wrong impression.

Incidentally, I caught the band live a couple of times in the 1970s and the second time, despite the audience’s pleas, the band flatly refused to play ‘Lady Fantasy’, which was their anthem and very popular with the band’s fans. I have to say that this annoyed me: you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, however fed up you are playing the same song.

The Decca Deram 2002 CD re-release has four worthwhile bonus tracks of the same vintage as the album, three of them recorded live and two of which are compositions not on the original album. I cannot conceive of any fan of the Progressive Rock genre disliking this album, and have no hesitation in recommending it. A very secure 4-star rating from me (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection).


Camel-MIRAGE (1974)


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