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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2153 ratings

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5 stars After the breakthrough success of "Snow Goose", Camel could have played safe and gone with another instrumental concept but instead chose to combine the best aspects of that album with "Mirage" to produce arguably their finest album.

Unlike in its predecessor, Camel is less interested in slow mood setting on the opener "Aristillus", and more in immediate impact, drawing the listener into the work from the first moment. With plenty of synthesizers almost overpowering in their attack, an intricate melody emerges and prepares us for the journey. "A Song within a Song" is practically a flute led ballad to begin with, with vocals reintroduced for the first time since "Lady Fantasy", these sung by Doug Ferguson. But after the 2 verses, we are treated to a veritable keyboard fest, and to Camel's ability to turn minimalist themes into magic. "Chord Changes" should please very early fans of the group, with many of those jamming qualities present in their debut but also greater quality control, and the first hints of Mr Latimer's great improvement as an axeman. A slight influence of Mr Carlos Santana is suggested in a variety of ways such as the subtle but clear Latin tinge. "Spirit of the Water" is sung spacily by Bardens and demonstrates Camel's aptitude with short vocal melodies. You might expect a little throwaway ditty but you get anything but.

"Another Night" is one of my personal favourite Camel songs, more of a rocker but with a lot more structure than during the Mirage era. More of an emphasis on minimalist qualities is evident here, and it works perfectly thanks to the ensemble approach. The vocals are also unusually strong and as close to harmonious as you will get from pre Chris Rainbow Camel. "Airborne" is one of Camel's softest and most beautiful songs, featuring a lovely flute led melody, gentle vocals, and spacey keyboards. While I feel that "Lunar Sea" is somewhat overrated, most consider it one of Camel's all time best works. It debuts under a wash of mellotron and gives prominence to synthesizers, bass, drums and guitars at different times.

Not for the first or the last time, Camel proved with Moonmadness that they were an evolving band, swayed more with the madness of love of their craft than commercial fortune.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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