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Camel - Rain Dances CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 947 ratings

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4 stars A disappointment at the time for its dramatic departure from the classic Camel sound, "Rain Dances" is actually an excellent album taken on its own merits. Gone are the traditional symphonic soundscapes, replaced by a schizophrenic mix of ambient and overtly jazzy styles.

One improvement occurs in vocals thanks to Richard Sinclair's contribution to two of the best songs, the sultry "Tell Me" and the chameleon like consistently engaging "Unevensong". "First Light" and the title track open and close the work respectively, with plenty of string synthesizers and other keyboards generating interesting rhythms, and some significant contributions by Mel Collins on sax. The unfairly maligned "Highways of the Sun" is Camel's first serious attempt at a hit contender, and is notable for some excellent approximations of airplane sounds by the mix of guitars and keys. Latimer's lead guitar acrobatics also scale new heights in "One of these Days I'll get an Early Night" and "Skyline", which are more jazzy and therefore allow for greater experimentation in that arena. In contrast, the lovely "Elke", with Brian Eno's guest appearance, is as atmospheric as Camel could ever get, and that is saying something. Sure, "Metronome" is a bit of a misstep but easily forgiven in the melee.

3.5 stars rounded up because of the daring nature of the effort and the general high quality of the material. "Rain Dances" may not produce the desired outcome for many, but it does make great music for a day that is already rainy.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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