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Firefall - 1983 Mirror Of The World

ARTIST: Firefall
ALBUM: Mirror Of The World
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 78 01201
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2003, Wounded Bird, WOU-6001 (2 on 1 with 'Break Of Dawn')


LINEUP: Jock Bartley - guitar, vocals * John Sambataro - vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass * Chuck Kirkpatrick - guitar * Scott Kirkpatrick - drums * Greg Overton - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runaway Love * 02 Say You're Gonna Love Me * 03 Every Little Word * 04 Loreli * 05 Mirror Of The World * 06 Love Nobody * 07 Forever More * 08 Gold River * 09 What Kind Of Love * 10 Ancient History


Along with other luminaries such as the Pure Prairie League, America, Poco, Ambrosia etc Firefall were an integral part of the American 70's soft rock scene, with a couple of enduring singles in 'You Are The Woman' and 'Just Remember I Love You'. However what does a band do, when by 1983 they are down to one original member (Bartley) and sorely out of touch with the musical climate, in order to boost sales? Turn to high tech AOR you say? You would be right. With original members Rick Roberts, Michael Clarke, Larry Burnett, Mark Andes and David Muse all taking leave due to dissension and fading appeal, Jock Bartley secured the rights to Firefall's name, turning it into a solo project nearly. At the end of their rope Firefall moved with the times, easily capturing the AOR spirit of 1983 with a vintage performance. Whether it was real Firefall or not was debatable, but the results were thoroughly acceptable.

The Songs
'Runaway Love' was the only single from the album and made a fleeting glimpse on MTV and radio. Bouncy AOR, with shades of a drum machine, it appeared Bartley (or Sambataro?) had been studying their Steve Perry handbook for their lead vocals, nothing wrong with that however. Demonstrating a knack for a perfect hook nonetheless, this is instantly repeated on 'Say You're Gonna Love Me', which moves at a nice pace, not dissimilar to Charlie's self titled album that year, chorus wise also. The synth effects break out for 'Every Little World', which can best be viewed as a more upscale John Cougar Mellencamp. Heartstopping harmonies and a brief melodic guitar solo raise the stakes even more. 'Lorelei' is not a Styx cover, instead a slightly corny little jaunt with reliance on carnival like keyboard work with not enough guitar, quite like what Roger Daltrey did on 'Can't Wait To See The Movie', and even some early 80's Genesis. The title track runs through some Police like guitar lines, jangly of course, but the resulting chorus is strictly AOR. Side two doesn't differ too much in comparison, 'Love Nobody' adds some heavier guitars at last however, can't let synths run the show totally. 'Forever More' could be viewed as older style Firefall, a piano based ballad, huge backing harmonies at the forefront. A stunning keyboard-guitar interlude earns it a 'thriller' status, quite indispensable. The bass line for 'Gold River' has a sub-disco tinge to it, but it makes the grade through a sax solo and ever shifting vocal lines. I could do without the near pop of 'What Kind Of Love', but 'Ancient History' has a bit more bite.

In Summary
Regardless of the albums AOR worth, it wasn't what people wanted from Firefall, oblivious to the fact that no one was buying their older style albums at the end anyway. It was a natural evolution for Firefall, the same way Ambrosia changed to a modern heavier guise on 'Road Island'. It might not have paid off, but for precise AOR, 'Mirror Of The World' can hardly be faulted. To Bartley's credit he's still going at it today, touring regularly with a lineup that remains constant, with the return of David Muse to compliment Bartley as an original. To the best of my knowledge 'Mirror' has yet to see life on CD, a typical situation and a shame (released on CD as a 2fer. See details above.. Ed). Highly recommended.

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#1 | jeffduran on May 07 2008 02:51:18
This is an amazing release I only own on cassettebugs
I love how Ambrosia, Orleans, Grass Roots, Le Roux, Pablo Cruise all moved into this AOR territory eventually.
#2 | gdazegod on June 12 2008 12:00:20
I agree Jeff. I think this album is pretty cool. That's why I put some of these tracks up as audio clips. To be fair, this isn't what Firefall are all about. There is no real hint of their country rock origins on this album. It's mainly pure mid 80's AOR. 'Forever More' reminds me of Peter Cetera era Chicago, 'Mirror Of The World' is so 80's, as is 'Say You're Gonna Love Me' which is a cross between Charlie and The City. The single 'Runaway Love' also came out as a video. Not sure if its on YouTube (not that I've looked for it), but if it is, we should slap it up here.
#3 | JuniorNB on August 27 2008 17:36:38
I just recently discovered this album. It is really good. I was surprised. Not because I didn't like Firefall, because I always liked the singles that were played on the radio, but because of the style of the songs. It's a complete 180 for this group.

That being said, the songs are great. Very melodic.
#4 | kim_hp on July 22 2009 20:39:47
Very nice album. Especially the song "Say You're Gonna Love Me" which is pure early 80's AOR perfection...

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