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Camel - Rajaz CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 802 ratings

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3 stars Another humid travelogue with Camel's rider-in-residence, Andy Latimer. The opening "Three Wishes" is everything a Camel fan could wish for: an instrumental that at various times evokes Steve Hackett, Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons Project with Latimer's familiar, leaping guitar leading it on. (Some of the guitar leads invite comparison to Robert Fripp. Nice to see he's still being invited places.) But like their previous tales (Dust, Harbour), Camel settles a little too comfortably in their chair for the rest of the telling. These latter-day Camel discs seem to be more about creating a mood and a movie than writing self-standing, memorable songs. Other bands (Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd) likewise grew adept at sounding good even when they didn't have a whole lot to say, and with Camel I'm beginning to think these concept albums are a crutch to get the creative juices flowing. Listening to a song like "The Final Encore" lumber along makes me wonder if it's central to the mood, the plot, or just filler dressed in filigree. (I know, you can't really "dress" something in filigree, but I was going for a picture there. A picture of a lousy writer, apparently.) I'll confess, my ears prick up every time Andy Latimer's guitar enters the action, if only because there's so little to look at in this landscape. (A mixed metaphor, I know. Come to think of it, I really am a terrible writer. Or at least a terribly lazy one.) Then the mind begins to wander, and you wonder if you put those fifteen dollars to the best of all possible uses. If you enjoyed Dust and Harbour (and a lot of people did, including me as I recall), you'll enjoy Rajaz as much for its similarities as its differences. (The difference, since I know you're wondering, being the climatic adjustments in the music, though still within the frothy family of dust and a soft rain.) Jazzed over it? I wasn't. I listened to this, satisfied myself that Camel continues to make better late-period music than most, then filed it back into my collection in favor of Moonmadness, etc. Honestly, the music since Nude has been a little dour for my tastes. Which is why they should get rid of the metric system.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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