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Camel - Breathless CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.14 | 759 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars First of all, let me get one thing straight: I like this album, and since I bought it I have listened to it more often than I have, for instance, to the likes of "Relayer". As a matter of fact, there are times when something like "Breathless" hits the spot, while a more complex album would just flow by unnoticed. Sometimes you just need music that, while undoubtedly well-played and eminently listenable, it is certainly not intellectually challenging.

Well, Camel can certainly play, and the added bonus of Richard Sinclair's vocals is not to be despised either. However, considering the collective talent of the musicians involved, this album cannot be called other than a disappointment. The poppy tendencies already displayed by "Highways of the Sun" on "Rain Dances" are here brought forward and developed in a way that makes Camel nearly undistinguishable from many chart-friendly bands of the late Seventies.

With the exception of the instrumental "The Sleeper", the album is mostly song-oriented. The songs in question, while not intrinsically bad, are not a patch on what Camel had been doing in the previous years. Sinclair's gorgeous vocals are given more space here than on "Rain Dances", but nothing reminds the listener of his awe-inspiring performances on the likes of "In the Land of Grey and Pink" or "The Rotters' Club". Even the funny, upbeat little ditty "Down on the Farm" (a song many hate, though I've always found it rather endearing), while undoubtedly catchy, is light years away from the humorous prog-pop masterpiece that was "Share It". And then, we have Camel's take on Seventies' disco music, "Summer Lightning", which is rescued by Sinclair's vocals and a great guitar solo at the end.

Richard Sinclair would be more or less booted out of the band after this album - his stint in Camel had unfortunately proved anything but a marriage made in heaven. Moreover, the tension between Latimer and Bardens, the two musical masterminds of the band, led to the latter's departure as well. It took a long time for Camel to bounce back, though they never again reached the heights of their early Seventies output. As for "Breathless", it is indeed a pleasant, undemanding listen for those days when King Crimson are really too much to take for our stressed brains - little more than a pop album with a bit of prog thrown in for good measure.

Raff | 2/5 |


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