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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1532 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The opening "Aristillus" may herald a mad moon, but the shrouded shapes cast by "Moonmadness" are old friends we've seen in an earlier "Mirage". These songs are slices of the same sleepy exotica that snaked like a wild opiate through the black grooves of their first two albums, "The Snow Goose" being for all intents a downy anomaly. Vocals return, shared again by various band members (Andy Latimer bears the burden of them), each obscured by the familiar veil of the subconscious from whence their muse arises.

As with "Mirage", the music on "Moonmadness" is intoxicating, absorbing, and comforting, using gentle sounds (keyboards, muted bass, flute) to weave a soft fabric scented with the spices of faraway worlds. Within their complete catalog, several of these tracks breathe the rarefied air of prog rock classics: "Song Within A Song", "Chord Change" (with shades of SANTANA and PINK FLOYD to be found), the soaring "Air Born". The remainder of the album is never less than engaging, from the moody "Lunar Sea" (again inviting TANGERINE DREAM as a reference point) to the celebratory "Aristillus". I've read that this is a concept album, but some things are better left to the imagination. As with the best of progressive rock, the songs are suggestive of many things, and may transport individual listeners to any number of fantastic landscapes that a map might limit.

The Camel albums that followed were terrestrial excursions, grounded in quasi-conventional structures that made spaceflight difficult. There were isolated moments of magic in them, to be sure, but it's on "Moonmadness" that the eerie light of inspiration last pervaded an entire album ("Nude" notwithstanding). Note that an alternate version of the cover exists with a CAMEL in a spacesuit.

daveconn | 4/5 |

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