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Camel - I Can See Your House From Here CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.87 | 628 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 143

As many of we know, Camel never achieved the mass popularity of their fellow British progressive rock groups from the 70's like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and King Crimson. However, they were able to cultivate a dedicated and very loyal cult of fans and they never ceased to be one of the bands most respected in the progressive rock community. With their music, all over the years, they always were one of the groups that more bands influenced inside of our progressive rock world. Even today they continue to be one of the most respected progressive groups.

Personally, Camel was my second love, after Genesis. My first two vinyl albums, purchased by me in the distant 70's, were the fifth studio album of Genesis "Selling England By The Pound", which was released in 1973 and the third studio album of Camel "The Snow Goose", which was released in 1975. Therefore, they've always been, for me, truly faithful and beloved friends who always accompanied me throughout these more than forty years of progressive rock music.

"I Can See Your House From Here" is the seventh studio album of Camel and was released in 1979. This album caused some problems with the advertisers because it shows on its cover a crucified astronaut looking at the Earth. It marked also the debut of a new line up of Camel. With the only remaining two founding members of Camel, Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward, joined the band the bassist Colin Bass who replaced Richard Sinclair and two keyboardists Jan Schelhaas, who joined in 1978 for the "Breathless" live tour and the ex-Happy The Man, Kit Watkins who replaced Dave Sinclair.

So, the line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (lead and backing vocals, guitars, flute and autoharp), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Colin Bass (lead and backing vocals and bass), Jan Schelhaas (Yamaha CS80, Yamaha electric grand piano, grand piano, Prophet-5, Moog synthesizer, Minimoog and EMS sequencer) and Kit Watkins (Hammond C3 organ, Solina synthesizer, Yamaha electric grand piano, Rhodes piano, Moog synthesizer, Minimoog, clavinet, Prophet-5, Yamaha CS80, EMS sequencer and flute). The album had also the participation of Mel Collins (alto saxophone), Phil Collins (percussion), Rupert Hine (backing vocals) and Simon Jeffes (orchestral arrangements).

"I Can See Your House From Here" has nine tracks. The first track "Wait" written by Latimer and John McBurnie represents a good start for the album and is a song in the vein of Camel's usually open tracks. This is a good song with interesting keyboard workings and it has also a nice Latimer's guitar solo. The second track "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" written by Latimer, Ward, Schelhaas and Bass is a very melodic song with a pop style. It's a song with nice vocal harmonies in the wave of the commercial hits. It's a simple and good song but with nothing special on it. The third track "Eye Of The Storm" written by Watkins is a beautiful song with nice melody. It's a different song, an instrumental, and is one of my favourite songs on the album. This is, in my humble opinion, a song with a higher quality level than the most of the album. The fourth track "Who We Are" written by Latimer is one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. Despite being simpler than the songs usually composed by Latimer is a song with his mark. This is a good song, one of the best of the album. The fifth track "Survival" written by Latimer is the smallest song on the album and is a kind of a prelude of other music. It's an instrumental track with beautiful string arrangements and despite be short is an interesting song. The sixth track "Hymn To Her" written by Latimer and Schelhaas is a song with a traditional Camel's opening. It's a beautiful ballad with a good instrumental section. This is also an interesting and good song. The seventh track "Neon Magic" written by Latimer, Schelhaas and Viv McAuliffe is one of the weakest songs on the album. It's a very commercial song, uninspired and something repetitive. It's a song that shouldn't be on the album. The eighth track "Remote Control" written by Latimer and Watkins is unqualified for a Camel's song. It's a pop electronic new wave song completely dislocated of the group's music and even of the album itself. It's really an awful song. The ninth track "Ice" written by Latimer is the lengthiest track on the album and is also the best. It's a classic Camel's long instrumental track, the only song truly progressive on the album and the only song that shows Latimer at his best.

Conclusion: In reality, "I Can See Your House From Here" isn't a bad Camel's album at all. But of all their studio albums this is one of the weakest studio albums ever made by them, the weakest made in the 70's. This is another album near of the 80's, and another example of the great difficulty of the majority of the great progressive groups from de 70's, in adapting their music to post-punk and new wave movements. By the other hand, it represents also the first album without Peter Bardens and where Latimer becomes the only leader of the group. It was also their first album with two new keyboardists. So, it isn't surprising that "I Can See You House From Here" be an album of change, a weaker album that somewhat represents an album of some disappointment for fans and critics too. However, I think it has some interesting symphonic progressive music on it and the last song "Ice" probably deserves its purchase by itself.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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