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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2153 ratings

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5 stars Why is 'Moonmadness' arguably the best soft-prog album ever made? Because it marries the rock sensibilities of 'Mirage' with the melodic beauty of 'The Snow Goose', the albums immediately preceding it. This stands for me as CAMEL'S best moment. Whenever DJ Random spins this disc for me, I am forced to put aside whatever I'm doing and listen.

There isn't a less-than-superb moment on the album, and sections of each song succeed in creating truly memorable musical events. The central section of 'Song Within a Song', with a repetitive theme underlain by soft keys and chased by rising guitars, the slow middle part of 'Chord Change', with an otherworldly beauty shared between Latimer and Bardens, a ghostly echo of moonlight shimmering on the water (oh lord, was there ever more gorgeous music than this?), the simple but profound instrumental sections of 'Another Night', the slowed coda to 'Air Born' and Mr Latimer's scintillating guitar on 'Lunar Sea', are just some of the terrifyingly beautiful moments this album brings.

With Nick Mason-like drum fills, Bardens' keyboard to the fore, and Latimer providing the Gilmouresque guitar, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd come upon a forgotten PINK FLOYD gem from the early 1970s. But compositionally this album goes well beyond what the FLOYD ever did, though without the overriding cynicism and bite that characterised the Waters years. In my opinion, the lack of meaningful vocals was the single biggest factor that held CAMEL back from being part of the top echelon of progressive rock in the mid 1970s. No profundity to puzzle over with your mates, no weird sound effects, no angst. Just mercilessly beautiful music that opens you until you lie helpless before it.

Let yourself be captured.

russellk | 5/5 |


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