Progarchives: As debuts go, CAMEL takes the high road in search of a suitable resting place for astral travellers. The superlative playing and band chemistry is already in place, what remained was the reining in of musical possibilities to focus on a signature CAMEL sound. And you can already make out the shape of things to come (“Mirage”) on tracks like “Mystic Queen”. But CAMEL is still sorting out what path to follow, which included the difficult road of GENTLE GIANT (“Curiosity”) and the sultrier lands of SANTANA (“Slow Yourself Down”).
There’s no question that their debut will prove a hospitable oasis for prog fans over time (similar to GENTLE GIANT’s “Acquiring The Taste”), though listeners who sampled their later masterworks first (which were easier to find in record stores) may need a few spins before the “new” old CAMEL sinks in. Instrumental jams like “Arubaluba” and “Six Ate”, for example, might taste a little heavy to anyone raised on the refined airs of “Snow Goose” or “Moonmadness”. (In fairness, the superior “Mirage” still found the band fine-tuning the right mixture of sounds.) Likewise, camel – camel (album) doesn’t really work on a conceptual level — although how many bands wrote concept albums the first time out? There are consistent themes of joining and unjoining that might cause the wandering mind to speculate, but nothing like the miniature epics on “Mirage” or the scripted “Snow Goose”. Given that the band drifted from the progressive waters beginning with “Rain Dances”, fans of classic band should drink from the past before venturing into the (sometimes inhospitable) future.
Camel (album) Line-up / Musicians
– Andy Ward / drums, percussion
– Doug Ferguson / bass, vocal (2 & 6)
– Peter Bardens / keyboards, vocal (5)
– Andy Latimer / guitar, vocal (1 & 4)
Camel (album) Tracklist
- [0:00] Slow Yourself Down
- [4:49] Mystic Queen
- [10:28] Six Ate
- [16:34] Separation
- [20:31] Never Let Go
- [26:57] Curiosity
- [32:54] Arubaluba
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