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Camel - Breathless CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.14 | 759 ratings

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4 stars Camel's second album with the heavy Caravan influence, thanks to both the times and personnel, "Breathless" leans more to the quirky pop side of that act, and dispenses with most of the jazzy qualities of its predecessor. In summation, yet another piece of the Camel saga that involves significant change, albeit within the context of producing quality in a generally progressive format.

The first side is, in its own way, as strong as anything Camel has done. The title track is a pleasant prog pop composition with more of an acoustic feel than most of Camel's repertoire. The most old style Camel track is "Echoes", with a brilliant 4+ minute introduction of recurring themes and stellar synthesizers and guitars, one of Latimer and Bardens best and last synergistic tunes. "Wing and a Prayer" is an inventive Caravan style slice of whimsy, and even more so is "Down on the Farm", both showing Camel at its most undeniably English sounding. This is probably not to the taste of a lot of people on the list but is nonetheless captivating and clever pop music with more than enough ingenuity to outclass 90% of what comes out of that genre. "Starlight Ride" is the type of ballad we got used to on Moonmadness - mellow, cosmic, with a gently unfolding melody.

Side 2 is somewhat polarizing, containing a mixture of decidedly disco beats and some of Latimer's best lead work, sometimes in the same song, such as in "Summer Lightning" and the somewhat superior and decidedly jazzy "The Sleeper". "You Make me Smile" is more slick pop oriented than anything on side 1. "Rainbow's End" provides the goodnight kiss in the form of another thoughtful mellow ballad.

With the benefit of retrospect, Camel maintained a high quality throughout their career, occasional missteps notwithstanding, and this album constitutes another breathtaking change of pace on the group's fascinating journey.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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