Chameleon - Rising. 1973-1978 USA (archival)

Had Houston's Chameleon hailed from two states farther north, they could have easily qualified for my 1970s / early 80s Midwest Progressive Rock list on RateYourMusic. Their musical approach is smack dab in the middle of the movement, with thoughtful radio friendly numbers juxtaposed against much more complex chart structures, and intricate songwriting. The majority of the album comes from two sessions, one from 1976 and the other 1978. There are also a couple of songs from 1973 and '74 when they were still known as Lorien. The latter track (nearly 10 minutes) opens the CD, and is one of the more overt progressive tracks found on the anthology, with some strong Hammond work in particular. I'm reminded slightly of Polyphony here but with the addition of piano. From there, the material alternates between the 1976 and 1978 recordings, before closing with the sole 1973 representative, which is a folky number and crudely recorded. Despite what might be a natural inclination, the '76 & '78 material is very similar - both are well written and the latter is no more commercial than the former. Synthesizer is now more predominant than the organ, as was the norm of the era. The band knew how to pen a composition, and it really is too bad they weren't able to secure a major label recording contract. By 1981 the band decided to call it a day, without ever releasing a proper album. Don't miss this gem if you like the American style of progressive rock mixed with hard rock and AOR material.

Personal collection
CD: 2013 ShroomAngel

This fine archival release is housed in a nice tri-fold digipak that contains detailed recording info, history, and photos. Excellent sound quality as well. It's great to see Houston's Shroom back in action, and I hope they unearth more archival releases such as this. They were the leaders in the 90s with discoveries like Intra, Arabesque, Aurora, Heyoka, and Hands.

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