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Camel - Camel CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 1195 ratings

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3 stars Camels' debut shows the band's obvious talents: catchy songs (or at least parts of songs), nice organ/keyboards, tight playing overall, and creative writing. This album also showcases some of the flaws that they have had to address in later efforts: keeping the songs interesting throughout and being careful to not allow the vocals to detract from the work.

I view this album as having six songs with interesting parts that as a whole could each have been better executed, and then one monster final rocker. The first six songs contain plenty of highlights: the absolutely inspired and rocking guitar/keyboard section of Slow Yourself Down, the toe-tapping Six Ate, the creative repeated triplet close to Separation, and the acousitc guitar and mellotron bits of Never Let Go. What is lacking? Of course, the vocals. Not a highlight of any of their albums, they really seem to have taken the Bruce Springsteen, just-shot-up-with-novacaine technique for (non) pronounciation. It's not only that. There are less interesting things going on during the vocals (keyboard flourishes, guitar wails, etc), which has the effect of really leaving the vocals exposed. Finally, the general pattern of songs is to start slowly, have very interesting middle/closing sections, but not lead into the other tracks. That's OK of course, but not necessarily progressive. They obviously improved on all of these in later efforts.

Arubaluba. If it was 1973, and I had listened up to this track, I would have some concerns about Camel's future. After this? Not anymore! Great intro that quickly sets a rocking pace that doesn't relent. Wonderful keyboard and guitar interplay, and a special mention has to go out to the rhythm section--they really cut loose. A sign of Camel's later trademark tightness.

My objective opinion is that Camel has plenty of creative, musically interesting, and worthwhile moments. My subjective opinion is that the music (except Arubaluba) is a bit boring, or at least has enough boring parts interspersed to divide my attention.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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