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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2152 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This should really have three and a half stars, but I will err on the side of generosity and give it the full four. For my opinions on Camel and their music, read my review of Mirage, the same thing said there applies here. Nevertheless, this is a superior album to Mirage as the songwriting is better here. We open with "Aristillus", a very short instrumental, keyboard dominated, with Andy Ward's voice repeating 'Aristillus, Autolycus' over and over. (These are two craters on the moon, visible with the naked eye.) I actually think this track, though short, is one of their best ones, melodic and bright. Next up comes "Song Within A Song", another decent effort, with some nice relaxing guitar and flute. It probably would have been better left as an instrumental, but, unfortunately, the vocals kick in on this one, and make it sound depressing. Camel can never be accused greatness when it comes to the vocals on their songs! The third track is "Chord Change", another track that is pleasant, if undemanding. The fourth one, "Spirit Of The Water", is a short piece again, and, (maybe there is a link here!) one of the best ones on the album. Lovely keyboards here and a gentle melody. Then comes the weak point for me, track 5, "Another Night", where the band try to sound more upbeat and aggressive, but only succeed in sounding dated. I have heard worse though. "Air Born" is the penultimate track, an improvement on the preceding one, but not particularly insipiring. The guitar work is ok here, but again I prefer the keyboards. For me, Peter Bardens is the main inspiration in the band at this period in their development. Last 'official' album track is "Lunar Sea", which is an altogether better song and finishes the original album off well. Again nice keyboards and guitar. Incidentally, the bass work on this and 'Mirage' gets better the more you listen to it, probably not receiving the credit it deserves. Likewise, the drums, whilst not brilliant, are played to a decent standard. My copy is the remastered version, with five extra tracks on them. As I said about 'Mirage', these tend to go on so long you end up wishing for the end to come! The last three are live tracks, two from this album, "Song Within A Song" & "Lunar Sea" and, finally, one from 'The Snowgoose', "Preparation/Dunkirk" which I find dull and not very inspiring. However, it has to be said that the first two bonus songs are far better. The first is the single version of "Another Night" which is shorter (see what I mean about the short pieces being more satisfying for me?) but has lovely keyboard work around the middle of it. The second is the demo for "Spirit Of The Water", which is an instrumental, quite haunting and probably my favourite track on the whole cd! Lovely evocative piano here, showing again Bardens' skill on the keyboards. All in all, although the vocals somewhat spoil it, and despite the lack of true inventiveness here, this is a good album to have, and, if I have to recommend one Camel album to have in your collection, then it has to be this.
chessman | 4/5 |


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