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Camel - Rain Dances CD (album) cover

RAIN DANCES

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 946 ratings

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CVoss
4 stars Camel's lineup changed here, as former Caravan bassist Richard Sinclair replaced Doug Ferguson, and the band itself took a more jazz-lite based direction, but still stuck to their prog roots in the end. Since Moonmadness Camel had fallen off, but they were still capable of a solid effort here. Rain Dances starts off with "First Light," which is a great reminder of sunrise (hence the title) and a features some solid playing from the Andy Ward on the kit, and new part-time addition Mel Collins on saxophone. After the somewhat meandering "Metrognome" comes the sweet "Tell Me," highlighted by Andrew Latimer's switch to the fretless bass for the song, with Sinclair holding his own on lead vocals. The atmosphere is moving, as this may be the most emotional song on the album. "Highways of the Sun" may be the closest to a pop song I have heard Camel perform (until "Your Love is Stranger Than Mine" topped it two years later...and at least "Highways" is half-decent), dominated by Peter Bardens' organs; Latimer's vocal could use some more passion, though. "Unevensong" is pretty good, as is the first of the final four instrumental tracks, "One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night." Latimer's guitar is still very good, and Sinclair is a talent on the four-string himself. "Elke" is practically a Latimer solo piece featuring the electronic experiment king Brian Eno, and a nice atmospheric number. "Skylines" is an excellent 9/8 instrumental; that's all I can say there. The album ends with the coda "Rain Dances," a reprise of the opener with Bardens' synthesizers and some bass pedals. While the sound quality is excellent, the material seems to lack a bit compared to the Camel trifecta that preceded. Rain Dances remains the most accessible Camel record, however, which can be a positive for first-time listeners.
CVoss | 4/5 |

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