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Camel - Nude CD (album) cover

NUDE

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 528 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars I have never seen a camel that was not nude!

Nude is a surprisingly strong album given that it was released between the two much less good albums I Can See Your House From Here and The Single Factor. Indeed, Nude was (at the time of its release) the best Camel album since Moonmadness and it is also, in my opinion, the best album from what I have elsewhere called Camel's in-between-years; that is, the years between the release of Moonmadness in 1976 and the release of Dust And Dreams in the early 90's.

I think there are primarily two different factors that contribute to the musical success of this album in relation to the weaker ones that surrounded it. The first is that it was a return to a more Symphonic Prog-sound after three albums with strong influences from Canterbury Scene, Jazz and Pop music. The other factor is that Nude is a conceptual and story-based album like the earlier Snow Goose and the later Stationary Traveller, Dust And Dreams and Harbour Of Tears albums. These are some of Camel's very best albums and maybe making a concept album is what really brings out the best in the band? Camel were always experts of building great music around an emotional storyline without ever letting the story take over the music. The story is never too apparent in the music here, which is as it should be. It is an otherwise all too common mistake which I often find a bit cheesy in other artists' attempts at story-based albums and Rock Operas).

The sound of Nude is a nice and appealing mix of Symphonic Prog, Pop and New-Age/World music. Like Harbour Of Tears later would incorporate influences from Irish Folk music in line with its story, Nude incorporates some influences from Japanese music in line with its story (which revolves around a Japanese soldier who gets left behind on an Island for many years). Andy Latimer plays a Japanese Koto on some songs to great effect, for example. There are also lots of different flutes that sound simply wonderful and exotic. New-Age/World Music passages like that of Landscapes/Changing Places contrasts wonderfully with the rockier and more up tempo passages like Docks/Beached and Captured. I was not instantly hooked by this, but after many listens over several years I can now safely say that this album is quite excellent!

Unlike The Snow Goose, Nude is not entirely instrumental but large parts of it is. The album opens with a vocal number called City Life that is basically a high quality Pop song, not that different in style from what you find on I Can See Your House From Here or The Single Factor, but better. Other vocal numbers like Drafted and Lies are perhaps better incorporated into the album as a whole but the best parts of Nude are, I would say, the instrumental sections. On the live releases Coming of Age and Pressure Points, some of the best bits from Nude are performed live with more energy, and power then they are presented here on this studio album. I used to think that this album was too subdued and lacking an edge, and also that some of the most restrained passages was just transportation to get to the great bits. But Nude has grown on me a lot since I first heard it and now I appreciate even the more soothing moments. Indeed, these create an appealing diversity to the whole. It takes several listens to "unlock" the beauty of Nude.

Excellent addition to any Camel collection!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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