Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Muffins - Manna-Mirage 1978

Manna/Mirage was the Muffins' first album and remained their best work. It is a fantastic blend of Canterbury prog and Henry Cow-ish intricacy, with a soup├žon of improvisation. Completely instrumental, the music can also be linked to Happy the Man for its melodic side. "Monkey With the Golden Eyes" is a nice introductory track seguing into the fantastic "Hobart Got Burned," which starts with a calm atonal improvisation and builds up to a bombastic main theme. Then comes "Amelia Earhart" (16 minutes), a track superior to anything that came out of Canterbury. You must hear it to believe it. Canterbury-type prog never got that good. Finally, "The Adventures of Captain Boomerang" (23 minutes) is a long complex suite, with a humorous touch not unlike some of National Health's material. Manna/Mirage would have become a classic prog album, if only it had come out of Canterbury instead of late-'70s U.S.A. Since Cuneiform Records reissued it on CD in 1991, the album has enjoyed quite a bit of fame in progressive rock circles. AMG.

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