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Camel - The Single Factor CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.65 | 536 ratings

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3 stars The "single factor" to which Camel aka Andy Latimer herein refers could be love, or it could be the desire to produce a hit song, seemingly held as much or more by the record company as by the band. Most likely it is a combination of the two, a double if not triple entendre, reflecting a band looking back on its first 10 years of existence and wondering whether continued survival in a harsh environment is possible, let alone worth it.

To give Camel the credit they deserve but do not always receive, that they were still a going concern in 1982 is miraculous in and of itself. Their albums were still striking the mid ranges of the top 100 British charts, in the company of bands that were mostly in diapers when the group's debut appeared. So in essence Camel were already elder statesman by this time, albeit largely ignored by anyone but their still sizable faithful fans.

The presence of various Alan Parsons project personnel gives this one some commercial credibility, especially on "Heroes" which could easily pass for a good APP song. "You are the One" shows the conflicts within Mr Latimer as he struggles between blistering bluesy inclinations and superficial choruses, but it's somehow triumphant all the same. "No Easy Answer" is pure pop but for the harpsichord strains. "Sasquatch" is closest to classic Camel, actually featuring a guest appearance by Pete Bardens. "Manic" is a different sort of Camel piece, sinister and Gothic sounding. There are some overly mellow tracks here and there but still reminiscent of passages from "Nude" and the "Snow Goose", but "Camelogue" is a great autobiographical tune with some creative Latimer licks.

It is decidedly light fare and not to the tastes of many on this list, but "Single Factor" represents another facet of Camel, a diversion if you will, tried on for size but ultimately rejected by both a newer audience and the band.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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