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Camel - Echoes CD (album) cover

ECHOES

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 68 ratings

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Ghost_of_Prog
3 stars The goal of any sort of greatest hit and compilations album is to introduce listeners to a band where they are simultaneously pleased with what is presented and are given a hunger to experience more. So does Echoes, this humble little compilation of a band that was swept up under larger contemporaries during their hey days, accomplish that task. Well, I now own multiple Camel albums, so.....

Spanning from their self-titled debut album to Dust and Dreams, this compilation features a wide range of song styles to wet the palette of anyone interested. Now Camel lacks the adventurous nature of King Crimson or Pink Floyd or the symphonic landscapes of Genesis and Yes, but carves its own little corner in the community with Andrew Latimer's deceptively simple yet emotional guitar playing combined with other talented musicians joining his side.

So what of the songs chosen? The classic Never Let Go with its beautiful, quiet opening transitioning into a symphonic-jazz rock song, gives newcomers a taste of what's to come. Other Camel greats such as Lady Fantasy, Lunar Sea, Echoes, Ice, and Sasquatch make an appearance to lure those willing or unwary to search deeper into their archives.

Of course this compilation is not without its problems. A general problem is that Camel never really had any "hits" (with the exception of the first song), so the choice of material is left up to the bias of the one doing the cherry-picking. For example, Rhayader (Goes to Town), are instrumental excerpts taken from their album, The Snow Goose, which sound out of place when not listened in their proper context. The situation is similar to the final two tracks on disc 2, which are from the concept album Dust and Dreams. In hindsight, while I wished songs like Arubaluba, Chord Change, Rain Dances, etc. made an appearance, the selection is generally very good. However, their selection from the album Stationary Traveller simply baffles me. The two songs chosen (Refugee and West Berlin) are styled after 80's pop, a style they swiftly abandoned. However, the two songs that represent Camel's style the best (the title track and Long Goodbyes) are absent. Two potential slots on the compilation wasted. Oh well, it did its job, since I wouldn't have known about those two tracks if I never listened and peeked around.

Three stars. A good entry into the band, but odd choices bump it down to three stars.

Ghost_of_Prog | 3/5 |

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