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Camel - The Snow Goose CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2103 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ffogorp the Confused
2 stars (2.5 stars really, I'll make up for it by giving the ideally 3.5 starred 'Moonmadness' 4 stars!)

I've made a few conscious attempts to get into the music of 'Camel', but unfortunately I'm just not that enthralled by their sounds, particuarly on this album (Sorry to any Camel fans), which isn't up to the same level of quality as 'Moonmadness', even if many folk would disagree with me. The album sounds pleasant enough without being intrusive, but aside from a few interesting moments, there's not that much to really enjoy. It's true that there's nothing particuarly weak about this album, it's just that there's no particuarly strong moments either. Camel's music also seems to have dated (although obviously this isn't a huge issue) a lot more than some of their contemporaries, for example Pink Floyd. The synthesisers sound very much of their time in this album, which as I mentioned, isn't really a problem, but it does impact on listening in the modern day, and dare I say it, some of the synth solo's do sound a little naff, as do the 'funky breaks.'

But enough of my confused rambling, because I'd actually like to pick up on some of strengths and weaknesses of the album. I bought this album majoritively on the strength of two tracks (and the 5 album sale in my local shop); 'Rhyader' and 'Preparation', which were reason enough to buy the album as these tracks are both pretty good. 'Rhyader' has some quite simply beautiful flute work and juxtoposition with the piano, which is only distracted from slightly by the aforementioned 'funky break' by the wah-wah guitar and the slightly out of place synth-solo in the middle.

Similarly 'Preparation' is a very strong track, with lovely guitar and synths really building up some atmosphere, even if in all the track seems almost like a rendition of UFO's 'Love To Love' without the fun heavy guitar break. The eerie chanting vocals are also a treat, and if anything the album shows that Camel at least decided to not go for an atypical 'prog sound' as styled by Yes and Genesis.

Unfortunately, many of the other tracks are a tad weaker, even if they have nice moments. Some of the pseudo-classical tendencies have the capacity to sound a little cringey when there's not a full orchestra to back them (although 'Friendship still sounds quite effective) as there is in the modern works of Nightwish and Anathema, and the band sometimes seem to ruin the mood of more atmospheric sounding pieces (or even melodic guitar based pieces) with out of place over the top synthesisers. This is particuarly evident in 'Flight of the Snow Goose' with it's 'spacey-synth' section, when the rest of the track sounds fab. Camel do scream of potential when they handle the quieter numbers ever so well though, in particular with 'Fritha Alone', a very nice piano piece.

In all, the album is a pleasant listen and one I felt was worth buying at knock down price, but not one that particuarly engaged me, even if I did vaguely enjoy it. Perhaps if I didn't listen to the album on the strong recommendations I did listen to it on I wouldn't have expected as much and thought more highly in consequence, but as it stands I can only consider that 2.5 stars is a fair rating from me. Sorry, Camel fans!

Ffogorp the Confused | 2/5 |


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