Golden Earring

Miracle Mirror

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Change was in the air when the Golden Earrings made their third album in 1967; psychedelia was sweeping the U.K. and Europe and the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had raised the bar in terms of production and arranging styles. The Golden Earrings had made some changes of their own as well -- rhythm guitarist Peter De Ronde had left the group, and lead singer Frans Krassenburg was replaced by Barry Hay. Miracle Mirror was very much an album of its time, and predictably sounds a great deal different than their first two LPs. Like Just Earrings and Winter Harvest, Miracle Mirror clearly reflected what was going on in the British music scene at the time (even though the band was Dutch), but the heady atmosphere of 1967 made room for musicians to follow a number of different paths, and the Golden Earrings were eager to investigate as many as they could in the studio. "Born a Second Time" is a pastoral acoustic number with Hay contributing some accents on flute. "Magnificent Magisterial" sounds like some cross between the Who and the Byrds, with chiming 12-string guitars and crashing lead lines. Horns and strings fill out the grand-scale pop number "Crystal Heaven" and the folkier "Gipsy Rhapsody." A harpsichord adds a touch of the Baroque to the melancholy "I've Just Lost Somebody." The blues-influenced "Must I Cry" features some spacy slapback echo and reverse-gear guitar loops. You name the new-in-1967 sonic innovation, it's probably somewhere on Miracle Mirror, but what hadn't changed for the Golden Earrings was the songwriting talent of bassist Rinus Gerritsen and guitarist George Kooymans and the group's uniform excellence in the studio; the confidence and sense of adventure that informed their first two albums was in full flower here, and if there are some moments on Miracle Mirror that sound a bit pretentious all these years later, the Golden Earrings' instincts were spot-on most of the time, and this album has worn the test of time more gracefully than many other works from the first acid era.

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