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Colin Bass - An Outcast Of The Islands CD (album) cover

AN OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS

Colin Bass

 

Crossover Prog

3.84 | 46 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Mr. Bass doesn't just play the bass

This solo album by Colin Bass represents the lighter side of Camel and strongly reminds of Camel's late 70's/early 80's Pop phase with albums like I Can See Your House From Here (the first Camel album after Colin Bass joined the band), Nude and The Single Factor, much more so than more recent (and much better) Camel albums like Dust And Dreams, Harbour Of Tears and Rajaz.

Colin Bass has been an important part of Camel since he joined in the late 70's and the mutual influence between him and the band can be clearly discernible on An Outcast Of The Islands. Those who know Camel's 90's live repertoire (see, for example, the fantastic live DVD Coming Of Age) know that Bass sang lead vocals on some songs and those songs give you a good idea of what you find on An Outcast Of The Islands. It is clear that Bass' favourite aspects of Camel's music - and music in general, I suppose - lie in the ballads and softer pieces. This is a rather laid back and soft album. Bass' vocals are similar to those of Andy Latimer, but less distinctive and more anonymous. Latimer plays some guitars here and he is amazing as always with his distinctive guitar sound.

An Outcast Of The Islands is not a typical bass players album, strongly based on songs rather than instrumental workouts. This can both good and bad, I suppose, but mainly good. The songs are mainly well written and this is by no means a bad album. But to say that it is 'the lost Camel album' or that it is up to par with albums like Dust And Dreams, Harbour Of Tears and Rajaz is strongly deceiving. To my ears this is in a different league altogether. As I said at the outset, I think that An Outcast Of The Islands is comparable both in style and quality to those late 70's/early 80's albums like I Can See Your House From Here, Nude and The Single Factor and these are among the least good Camel albums in my opinion.

One thing that I do not like about this album is the orchestral interludes. These are not bad, but they feel completely out of place on this album. It sounds as if you accidentally pushed the shuffle button with a play list of two very different albums, one orchestral album and one Pop/Rock album. Bass seems to be unable to integrate the different influences on his music. This is not a particularly progressive album at all.

As most of the songs are in a similar mood and tempo it is a relief to hear Burning Bridges towards the end of the album that rocks a bit harder compared to the rest of the album. But it is too late to save this album from being rather average. Still, this is a competent album that deserves three stars; a good album but not more than that. I can recommend it only to Camel fans who want to go beyond the Camel discography or for people who like the softer, poppier side of Camel.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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