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Mirror - Daybreak CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 18 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Formed in 1972 and sadly gone a mere four years later, Dutch female-fronted five-member band Mirror delivered a sole debut work `Daybreak' in their final year that is something of a neglected minor Symphonic classic. Calling to mind everything from Focus, Earth and Fire, Finch, Camel and Epidaurus, the band delivered an endless string of beautiful guitar and keyboard-driven grand themes that seamlessly flow together, with an occasional use of gentle female vocals and more exotic instrumentation by way of sax, oboe, flute and other woodwind instruments to weave a rich and varied selection of progressive-symphonic music.

Although the band cheekily start with a very close rip on the chugging riffing of Yes' `Perpetual Change' on the ten-minute opening title track `Daybreak', the rest of the piece moves through slow- burn sax soloing, romantic Rousseau and Camel-like trilling flute over lightly humming synths and ruminating bass purrs. Some playful jig-like regal pomp and majesty could have easily come off the first Trace album, slow-burn electric guitar unfolds with dignity in the manner of the early classic Focus works, and the ethereal wordless sighing voice of keyboard player Paula Mennen reminds of Epidaurus' `Earthly Paradise'. The constantly energetic `Goodbye' lasts the same length and jumps back and forth between energetic bursts with reflective come-downs, full of frantic drumming, leaping bass and reaching, fiery Modry Efekt and Finch-like electric guitars runs, Paula's sweetly drifting voice almost calling to mind the female-fronted first album by Canterbury sound group National Health.

The second side opens with a short and melodic low-key romantic piece `Dear Boy' sung by Paula that holds an unashamedly warm and embracing quality. The mixing is a little off (her voice is either lovingly upfront or disappears completely in parts), but with its steady beat and Paula's unfanciful yet genuine voice, it's a lovely little change of pace, never coming across like a shameless radio-aimed throwaway, simply a gentle tune to enjoy. Then it's straight back to a final longer workout, and the thirteen-minute closer `Edge of Night' is another grandiose symphonic epic of great variety. While a few memorable themes emerge throughout, most striking of all is the mellow first half full of hypnotic piano and droning synth washes ala the classic Novalis albums, oboe puffing along in the background behind drifting sax, and there's even a touch of Seventies Pink Floyd/David Gilmour-flavoured bite to the guitar soloing spots here and there.

Fortunately, three of the musicians here went on to form a group called Lethe in 1978 who released another superb symphonic self-titled album with 1981. But it all started with `Daybreak', a low-key near-classic that has slipped under the radar for far too long, and now that it's been reissued on CD, there's no need to fruitlessly search for long-vanished LP copies, of which there were only 500 pressed at the time. If you're a fan of any of the above mentioned bands and lush symphonic-flavoured progressive rock with exciting playing full of ambition that also holds a frequently joyous sound, `Daybreak' could end up being your next progressive music surprise discovery!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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