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Camel - Rain Dances CD (album) cover

RAIN DANCES

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.56 | 648 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Camel - Rain Dances (1977)

Camel is one of my favorite symphonic progressive rock bands. The band arrived late in the scene with their excellent (but not yet masterful) debut in '73. After a string of four great albums the band found it's Waterloo with this release from '77. With some of the tasteful composition qualities still around the band gave in to up-coming sympho-pop standards of it's time. Perhaps a logical step for a band that has had to cope with financial difficulties and the usual problems with record companies. However, this results in an album that's a bit of a mixed bag, with an emphasis on the less interesting material (for fans of progressive rock that is). The sterile 'somewhere out there' sound of the album doesn't help either.

The opening track 'First Light' still captures the momentum of the tame but beautiful and intelligent 'Moon Madness'-album of the year before. We get to listen to well recorded, adventurous instrumental sounds and nice composition. After that the musical properties decline at a fast rate with a string of less interesting songs with mediocre song-writing with semi-interesting instrumental passages. 'Metrognome' has an irritating vocal couplet theme that sounds a bit childish. On side two Camel regains my interest with 'Unevensong' that has slightly more to offer for fans of symphonic progressive rock. After that I find 'One of these days I'll get an early night' particularly hard to digest because of it's supermarket atmosphere. This time Latimer can't save the track with a good guitar solo, that he should have played on another song that's worthwhile in it's totality. 'Elke' is a slow ambient symphonic track with some nice flutes, somehow I feel that this song would have fitted on a more emotionally driven album. In this setting it sounds a bit meaningless and out of place. 'Skylines' is another instrumental track, this times more in the vain of the Camel style we know. To bad non of the melodies are interesting, as if it was written to be on the background. Finally, the title track 'Rain Dances' opens with a rendition of the main theme of the opening track in a dated symphonic fashion. A weak ending track.

Conclusion. This is the kind of record that does not have enough good moments to compensate for its weak moments. Only 'First Light' and 'Unevensong' are good enough to be mentioned here. To be honest with you, I prefer the up-coming 'Breathless' album because that album actually does have songs that really touch me and this album passes me by without notice. I have to give a two star rating here and I'm not going to put this record in my collection.

friso | 2/5 |

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