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BREATHLESS

Camel

Symphonic Prog


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hopkins@katam
4 stars This isn't a masterpiece, but contains some classics like Echoes and The Sleeper...fantastic tracks. Another good one is Summer Lightning, but is very different from the typical Camel-style, and the vocal melody on Rainbow's End is magic. The other tunes are average and a bit pop-oriented.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2308)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars Some bands I appreciate enough to not come down too hard on them when they made a weak album but others ...... Not!

And I am no great fan of Camel but they did put out some fine records early in their career but by this time all hopes of a masterpiece was gone and even the facts that other great musicians from other bands came in , they could not stop the decline of the band. Peter Bardens and the Sinclair cousins got out after this dud. The Sleeper and Echoes would have been fillers on Rain Dances but are the highlights on this one. Sad .... so Sad.....

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#2311)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
poetryminstre
2 stars To add my two cents worth.....This is certainly not the best Camel album ever to see the light of day, but to me it has a weird kind of appeal to it. I can't help sitting there, giggling while the barnyard animals fill the room, hehehehe. On a more serious note : Remembering (oh so well) the simple fact that 1981 was quite a strange year, prog-wise speaking, and looking at other releases by other bands in that year (such as Yes, Genesis, to name a few) "Breathless"wasn't the only "so-so" album to come out that year. Yet, I agree with most of what's said here, Sleeper, Echoes....superb Camel classics, which wouldn't be available to us if it wasn't for this little oddity. All that's left for me to say is : Just give it another go, and compare it with other albums from that period, then the puzzle piece falls in place I think.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2313)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
pdnwmccs@hotm
5 stars Great band; one of my favorites . Mellow progressive-jazz-rock. Perfect for every ocassion. You´ll never get tired of camel listening!!. I saw CAMEL the best way you could ask,; inside an intimate theater in Caracas/VENEZUELA and you could'nt believe how privileged I felt.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2314)
Posted Tuesday, March 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Breathless" has pop accessible songs, but it is never a simple album: the songs are loaded and subtle. Because of Richard Sinclair on bass and on some lead vocals, it can sound like CARAVAN ("Down on the Farm"). There are some very good flute parts. "Echoes" has beautiful modern keyboards patterns, and there is on the second half part a very catchy and swinging rythmic patterns (the bass surrounded by all other instruments). The bass can be very rythmic. Pete Barden's keyboards are really good, varied and elaborated. The electric guitars are well played. A couples of songs are ordinary ("You Make Me Smile"). "The Sleeper" keeps the same good old CAMEL's style ("Moonmadness"). A colorful and alive album.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#2315)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Once again Breathless tests the true admirer of Camel and succeeds. If you are a Caravan fan then Sinclair's influence will be highly pleasing. Breathless arrived when the world hated Progressive music so consequently falls foul of high criticism, however for me it is an extension of Rain Dances and has a beautiful feel to it. Remember these guys were maturing and the music with it. Echoes, Summer Lightning and You Make Me Smile being the main highlights. Vinyl covers were at an all time high and Breathless certainly did not disappoint. Musically though very solid even with Bardens' imminent departure.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#2319)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not the best album they released but Breathless has its moments. Pete Bardens and Andy Latimer didn't get on well during the recording sessions which would led to the departure of Bardens after the album was finished. Only "Echoes" and "the sleeper" still have the Camel trademark which consists of magical duels between the guitars of Latimer and the keyboards of Bardens. Especially "Echoes" would become a concert favourite for the band. These tracks justify the buy of the album for fans of progressive rock Other tracks tend to late seventies pop although some tracks are still quite enjoyable like "Breathless" or "On a wing and a prayer". "Summer lightning" has some nasty influences form pop and even disco, but the melody is fine and the guitarplaying of Andy Latimer is brilliant. Other tracks are forgettable. Usually the weak point in Camel is the vocal but not on this album. In 1977 and 1978 the famous Caravan singer Richard Sinclair was the band lead vocalist and he does a far better job than Andy Latimer could have ever done. Sinclair delivers "Down at the farm" a funny and uplifting song about life in the country, the song has a catchy melody and excellent flute playing of Mel Collins, one of the highlights of the album.

Don't judge Camel on this album, they can do better, still the album is a must have for the fans and I still would choose this album above "I can see your house from here".

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#2320)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
gokmase@homer
2 stars While I am a big fan of Camel, both early as well as more recent albums, I have to say that this is one of the weakest releases from the band. Some have already pointed out the influences from Caravan and the popish compositions and I can only second that - the popish tunes does not make Camel justice in my opinion. This album has its moments, like eg. Echoes, but that is not enough to compensate the fact that most of the tracks are quite dull. And yes, we could have done without "Down On The Farm" ;)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2321)
Posted Monday, October 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
mcdavester@ao
5 stars On the basis of two tracks, Echoes and the sleeper I can't bring myself to give it anything less than an essential recommendation to anyone with an interest in, well, fantastic music! I agree with most camel fans that a lot of material on this album is questionablem especially when compared to past glories from camel, mirage and moon madness. But even tracks like down on the farm have charm with it's catchy melodyand humour, I often find myself lifting the needle to that track every time i put the album on (after echoes of course ;-)). It's a sinclair track so a little unfair to compare with latimar/bardens compositions. Camel are one of the few bands that I never ever tire of listening to. The music interplay, melodies and chords are by far some of the best I have ever heard. Anyway I digress, if you miss out on this album you are missing out on a couple of Camel's finest recordings.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2325)
Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel's sixth studio album saw the quartet of Latimer, Bardens, Ward and Sinclair (with reed player Mel Collins a semi-permanent member) continue the group's evolution towards a more modern commercial sound. Made under strange circumstances, with Bardens having decided on his departure before recording commenced, it's a more consistent statement of the "new" Camel than its predecessor Rain Dances, and actually emerges as one of the strongest albums the group ever made.

Despite the move towards commercialism, this album contains some truly outstanding slices of melodic progressive pop. The lead off track Breathless for example, has one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard a prog band compose. In addition Collins' flute touches are simply glorious and Latimer's clean playing is a joy to behold. It's a song that doesn't go too many places yet is something I can listen to a dozen times in a row.

Other quality tracks include Wing And A Prayer, another really nice "pop" and Sinclair's Down On The Farm which is a real curiousity as its mock hard rock intro turns into one of the finest slices of Canterbury prog you'll ever hear (even if it isn't from a Canterbury band!) Try listening to this and see if you feel like putting on your boots and joining Betty the Barmaid down on the farm ... I certainly did! Perhaps the ultimate highlight of the new concise Camel style is Starlight Ride, a delicate dreamy piece with a lovely melody, and quasi-Baroque playing by Latimer, Bardens and Collins that could make a grown man cry. It's a real gem of a song.

Of course it wouldn't be classic Camel without a prog epic, and Echoes is a real throwback to the glory days of Mirage. If anything, the band's playing is now more confident, and Latimer in particular delivers some of his strongest playing in ages. When Bardens comes in halfway through this seven minute cut, it's like a brilliant last hurrah. I'm not sure if the vocal melodies match up to the standards of the rest of the song but it's still unforgettable.

Unfortunately the album runs out of steam towards the end. I suppose the disco-prog of Summer Lightning is a failed experiment that someone had to make (but did it have to be Camel?). Latimer turns in some more delectable playing, but it's hard to get past the disco beat that goes on for six minutes! You Make Me Smile is another one ... it's basically a really lousy song until Bardens gets his foot in the door with some great playing and then after his solo it turns back into rubbish ... Another dud is the seven minute instrumental The Sleeper which wastes an interesting intro by turning into a boring jazz-fusion exercise. These songs offer ample evidence that Bardens and Latimer pulling in different directions could really hurt Camel.

Thankfully, Camel don't let this album end on a sour note and its closer Rainbow's End is a return to the wistful melancholy we've come to expect from the lads. With a lush, unforgettable chorus that belies the sparse arrangement built around Bardens' keyboards, it's a poignant farewell to a marriage that couldn't last.

This album certainly isn't the straight-forward pop that Camel would later attempt, but it's also not what prog fans might expect (and yet I suspect a lot of proggers will enjoy this album). After Bardens' departure Camel would revamp its sound quite dramatically and while they still went on to make some great music, things would never be the same again. ... 68% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#2326)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
heavym9@yahoo
3 stars "Echoes" and "The Sleeper", those two songs are fantastic, great, just as the camel we all know about, a fantastic prog band. "Summer Lightning" and "You Make Me Smile" sounds nice, not as fantastic as echoes and sleeper, but not as terrible as the rest of the record. If Echoes and The Sleeper weren´t included in this album, this would be the worst of the worst. "Breathless", "Wing and a Prayer", "Down on the Farm" and "Rainbow´s End", are songs just to complete the album, very bad songs, a total waste of time. Let´s just thank Echoes and The Sleeper, because of them this album it´s not rated with one star as much.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#2327)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Let's get it clear at the start; this is no Moonmadness or Snow Goose, not even near - but nor is it a bad album either. Breathless, Echoes, Summer Lightning and The Sleeper are great pieces of progressive music and Rainbow's End is a lovely end to the album. However, Down on the Farm, with its quirky, humorous lyrics, sung in typical Richard Sinclair style, would have fitted a Caravan album much better than a Camel one and the rest are not much better than fillers. There's still lots of brilliant guitar work, some fine keyboards and Mel Collins' sax work is reliable as ever. However, the strains over the band's musical direction that had been building up between Latimer and Bardens do show somewhat and led to the latter's decision to leave. (Just to put Hugues Chantraine right (yet again, I'm afraid), Richard Sinclair was sacked - he did not choose to "get out".) And the changes did result in an eventual return to top form with Nude a couple of years later, albeit with a very different line up. So to sum it up, a good album but not a great one.

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#2329)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent album from Camel with good contribution of Richard Sinclair (ex Hatfield And The Noth, ex Caravan). Ok, there's an evident drift to a more "popish" sound, but there's not enough to say that Breathless (album and song) is not a good one! Self evident is the greatness of The Sleeper and ECHOES. The last one is for me one of the 10 best tracks from Camel (Rhyader, Supertwister, Lady Fantasy, Song Within A Song, Another Night, Spirit Of The Water, Air Born, Unevensong, Ice).

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#42592)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a good album, don't get me wrong, it is just far from Camel's best. Like other reviewers have noted, this album definitely has a hodgepodge of musical ieas. Richard Sinclair contributes that distinctive "Canterbury" voice of his, while writing and performing songs that make Camel sound like Caravan (e.g. Down on the Farm). Now, a track by track run-through:

The first track, "Breathless," is a very catchy, solid pop tune, but does not really sound like the old Camel. Mel Collins does a fine job with the winds on this track as well.

"Echoes" is probably the proggiest track on the entire album. It also is the track that most sounds like the old Camel. Great guitar work by Latimer on this one. This is definitely the best track.

"Wing and a Prayer" is another pop song that sounds very similar to "Breathless." It too is extremely catchy. Mel Collins again contributes some nice wind parts on this one as well.

"Down on the Farm" is a funny and enjoyable track that sounds like it could have come off of a Caravan album. Props to Sinclair's humor and songwriting abilities on this one.

The next track, "Starlight Ride," is pretty much a short, forgettable track that ends the first side of the album, although the Classical feel in it is interesting.

The second side of the album begins with "Summer Lightning," a Camel song that can be anced to. It has a shuffle/disco feel, which is interesting.

"You Make Me Smile" is again similar to "Breathless." It is a decent pop song, but is definitely not the best (also has a dance feel to it).

"The Sleeper" is another one of the proggier tracks. However, it is just not quite as good as "Echoes." Again, they attempt to sound like the old Camel.

"Rainbow's End" finishes off the album nicely. It is a calm track similar to "Starlight Ride," but better in my opinion.

Overall, this is a nice album to have, but is definitely not the place to start for those who are new to Camel. This album is too spotty to be highly recommened, but is an interesting listen nonetheless.

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Send comments to Zac M (BETA) | Report this review (#42747)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The seventh work of announcement in 1978 after live album is announced "Breathless". Mel Collins joined formally as a member. However, Peter Bardens in charge of the keyboard secedes by the original member in this work. The content is very complete music to sublime the music of the fusion system of the former work to a dynamic performance with a graceful ensemble. Fine work that begins to depict the fantastic world.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#43757)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This issue was regarded as their partial decline, above all regarding of the last period according to the commercial exigencies of that time. "Echoes" probably was the unique exception along with a few pleasant episodes. The sound was almost in the vein of such "Disco-music" in some circumstances, while in other moments it could be considered as a different kind of a light fusion-genre, being anyway suitable for the common listener. This is not "prog" not the AOR music, but I should rather say an elegant pop- rock enriched with a few elements of light fusion.after all in the early eighties They produced a good album (always as AOR music) such as "Nude" (this latter enriched by means of some symphonic and "ethnic" features), before their long break which brought them to compose their excellent work "Dust & Dreams" and afterwards the other remarkable album entitled "Harbour of Tears". All these recent events confirm that "Breathless" alone, lacking of inspiration, represented the unique critical phase of their remarkable career; nevertheless the production was excellent and - moreover - the track "Echoes" became soon a classic song, also during their stunning performances live!!

For their collectors only, anyway!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#46015)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In appreciating a music, I have a general rule of thumb. If the first track is not compelling, the next tracks might not be compelling also. But usually I don't stop here and I give another chance to listen next tracks. But if it has consumed about half way of the overall duration and there is no such compelling track at all, forget it the album must be not a compelling one to enjoy. It happens with this sixth studio album of Camel. It truly disappointed me at first listen as it experienced major drop from their ground breaking "Moonmadness" album. I could sense the drop since "Rain Dances" album. Honestly, nothing wrong with composition and musicianship as both are still good. But I'm questioning these two things: where is the melody? Where is the harmony? There is no such thing demonstrated here. Camel who has been famous with their melody, has lost its power here with this album. Sorry to say, the first track is totally out of focus in terms of melody and harmony. It does not seem improving even until track 2, track 3 and track 4. What happened with the band?

Through track 5 "Starlight Ride" the band has put its effort to rejuvenate on melody department with a sort of melancholic style with sweet and nice opening augmented with guitar, flutes, and keyboard. But it sounds to me not elevating much on the spirit of good and melodic music. Track 5 is not really bad at all actually but it's not representing the full potential of the band creativity. Track 6 "Summer Lightening" (6:03) is another song with a very weak structure and melody. "You Make Me Smile" (4:13) is also weak in melody. With "The Sleeper" (7:02) Camel wants to present the music in different style, i.e with brass section and some jazz/rock fusion music. It's a good track even though it's not typical sound of Camel. But the song helps elevate the overall image of this album. "Rainbow's End" (3:00) closes the album with a "bit" melodic style.

Overall, this album is good for collectors or fans only. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#47733)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is Camel's sixth studio album,and we begin to sense that Bardens and Latimer are going in different directions in their musical vision. This is the second Caravan album to have Richard Sinclair on bass and vocals. In "Breathless" Bardens started using those horrible plastic sounding keyboards avaiable at that time, altough playing them very well. Although many songs are short and poppy, there are some typically complex and progressive tracks.

1.Breathless - a typical soft-rock Camel track, good. 3,5/5

2.Echoes - outstanding instrumental performance that is definitely worthy of attention. Andy Latimer voice is great here. 4/5

3.Wing and a Prayer - is a bouncy jazz-pop. 2/5

4.Down on the Farm - even shows a considerable amount of production attention, with Latimer's skittish guitar riff in the verse and the playful vocal harmonies in the heavier part. 3/5

5. Starlight Ride - 3,5/5

6.Summer Lightning - has Andy Latimer doing some of the best lead guitar you'll ever hear on a Camel album. 4/5

7. You Make Me Smile - Pure disco crap 1/5

8.The Sleeper - It sounds like son of Lunar Sea. The best track on the album 5/5

9. Rainbow's End - 3,5/5

Final Note - Anyway, Breathless has some very good moments, bringing a soft Camel atmosphere that all of us like.

3+4+2+3+3,5+4+1+5+3,5 = 29

29 : 9 = 3,2

Good, but non-essential.

Curiosity : While making the album Bardens decided to quit the band, leaving shortly before the recordings were over. He has since then collaborated with Camel on two albums as a guest musician, and maybe played on some unreleased live gigs.

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Send comments to Marquęs_Prög (BETA) | Report this review (#54739)
Posted Saturday, November 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
dorivri@yahoo
4 stars one should take into consideration before judging an album(especially prog)the fact that he can approach the music from different aspects of charateristics,but he has to define them to begin with.I think it wouldn't be fare to judge an album from one angle.for instance,"Breathless" was out at 1978 and i have to pay careful attention to time factor,and rate it for it's time.then again i could treat it like it was out at 1972 and be dissapointed.so, here i;m going to rate it at a perspective of it's era.in my opinion,aside from "echoes"which has nothing to do really with the way or level tracks on this album were built,i don't see many tracks in HISTORY that can produce in 7 minutes (i repeat 7 min.),what camel produced here.as for "summer lightning"one of the best ever solo guitar (entire 3 min. of pure heaven--a.latimer)melodic pieces.as for the rest of the album loved it, but again,as far as i can really love a disc from 1978.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#61872)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Why is no one talking to me?

While Camel are often listed as a "Canterbury" act, this appears to stem primarily from their association with Caravan, and in particular the Sinclair cousins. Camel themselves were not originally from the Canterbury area, nor indeed did they spend a great deal of time there. Furthermore, they do not feature the unique keyboard sound which is often associated with that sub-genre.

The band have a happy knack of coming up with a really strong opener for their albums, and the title track here is no exception. It's a lilting, melodic piece, with some infectious instrumental hooks which are guaranteed to make you feel good. Unfortunately, the feel good factor was the one thing which was missing for the band themselves when they recorded "Breathless", with Peter Bardens being all but ostracised by the rest of the band. By this time, Mel Collins had formally joined the band, his sax contributions once again providing an extra dimension to the sound. Despite the bitter acrimony during the recording of the album, Bardens and Latimer worked together on many of the songs.

The track "Breathless" provides early evidence of the generally lighter feel to this album. Richard Sinclair may have had more influence than he did on "Rain dances", but it is his whimsical side which comes through, rather than anything resembling the early work of Caravan. Sinclair's vocals certainly help to make tracks such as "Breathless" more melodic though.

There are effectively three feature tracks here. "Echoes" (no relation to the Pink Floyd track) a melodic upbeat number, "Summer lightening" which has a superb long guitar solo by Andy Latimer, and "The sleeper", the intro to which was inspired by seagulls flying in Cornwall where Bardens and Latimer wrote together. On "The sleeper", Andy Latimer uses different guitar sounds to create both fusion and rock feels within the track.

There are several weaker tracks too. "Wing and a prayer" is dull, with a lifeless melody, and an overt pop influence. "You make me smile" takes the blandness a step further, being a nondescript love song, with cringe inducing lyrics.

The story behind the track "Down on the farm" illustrates the divisions in the band well. Peter Bardens had submitted a track for inclusion on the album, but such was the desire of the rest of the band to evict Bardens from the band that they rejected the song, on the pretext of allowing Richard Sinclair to include one of his. Bardens disliked Sinclair's song so much, that he does not play on it at all. To be fair to Bardens, Sinclair's dominance of the track, and its whimsical nature make it sound more like a discarded Caravan outtake than a Camel song. In retrospect, Bardens was right, the song should have been left off the album.

The final track, "Rainbow's end" was written by Latimer for Bardens, the soft reflective nature and delicate vocals conveying the end of an era nature of the album.

In all an uneven album, with some tracks which are well up there with the band's best, but with others which should have been left in the studio.

Even before recording of the album had been completed, Bardens had left Camel to work with Van Morrison, and to rekindle his solo career. For the tour to promote "Breathless", Bardens was replaced by two keyboard players, including Richard Sinclair's cousin Dave, who had guested (without being credited) on two tracks on the album. Both the Sinclairs would leave the band after the tour, which had taken its toll on all the band members.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#62537)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 2.2 Stars

What is it?: An average album from Camel. Here, the band seem to have pursued the pop, but realized that they didn't put enough quality songwriting to make it very enjoyable. While the first songs are solid, the second half of the disc is disappointing.

You can already feel it in the title track. Title tracks are usually supposed to be strong, and this one passes as merely above average. The instrumentation is nice and lovely in moments, but don't you think Camel can do better than this? Echoes manages to be the best track of the album because the band is at its best in terms of musicianship and dynamics. This track is a concert favourite and recalls their first 3 albums. It is also the only track that can safely be called prog. Wing and a Prayer is a catchy pop tune and slightly stronger than the title track. That's it: it all goes downhill from here:

Down on a farm is a light-hearted tune that does nothing for me.

Starlight Ride is a soft dreamy piece that is also uninteresting.

Summer Lighting: An uptempo song with a disco-like rhythm. Not bad, but somewhat overlong. I love the extended guitar solo.

You Make me Smile: uninteresting disco song that only has a decent solo preventing it from being total garbage. The melodies are very weak.

The Sleeper: Just when you think it will be a prog classic since it's long, it ends up being a jazz-fusion jam, something that Camel is not very good at. Stick with George Duke instead of this.

Rainbow's End: Not bad. This is a symphonic closer that reminds me of Genesis' Wind and Wuthering.

Highlights: Echoes Let-Downs: You Make me Smile, Down on a farm, Starlight Ride

My Grade : D+

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#63309)
Posted Thursday, January 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Breathless was my very first Camel album, I got if because it was the only Camel album the CD store had in stock. I actually really liked it but when I discovered this site I soon found that many people did not. At that time this was the only camel album I owned and I then noticed that The Snow Goose, Mirage and Moonmadness were all highly rated albums, so I purchased The Snow Goose from over seas and I was blown away. All this time I regarded Breathless was being a five star masterpiece but when I compared it to The Snow Goose I suddenly thought Breathless was not all that good.

1. Breathless- Breathless is sort of a Pop/Prog song like the rest of this particular Camel album. I don't particularly like it either. (2.5/5) 2. Echoes- Echoes is the gem of Breathless, it is spectacular from start to finish with great guitar work and beautiful vocals sung by Any Latimer. An echo is a rival for Rhaydar Goes to Town from The Snow Goose, truly a spectacular song. (5/5) 3. Wing and a Prayer- well I can honestly say that I like this song, it is very pop but I like it, it is very catchy and easy to get into. (4./5) 4. Down at the Farm- more of a pop/rock song than anything it is enjoyable but there is nothing to get excited about. (3/5) 5. Starlight Ride- Heh, Pop song. (2/5) 6. Summer Lightning- the first half of the song is up temp singing and instrumental which flies by and then comes the guitar solo which is something to see! (4/5) 7. You Make me Smile - this is the only BAD song on the album, very dull to put it plainly (2.5/5) 8. The Sleeper- Great instrumental song with flute and saxes all the way through very nice and up beat. (5/5) 9. Rainbow's End- Here we see Andy Latimer sing very high and he can plainly see that he is not a Tenor singer. (3/5) Total/ 31:9

= 3.4 stars

Well four stars. The album is good but it is no Snow Goose.

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Send comments to Thufir Hawat (BETA) | Report this review (#65426)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Excuse me, this is not CAMEL in their former glory, and certainly not worthy of anything over three stars. Although comparison to their previous works may not be fair, it proves that they have the talent to produce top-notch music, as the high ratings (including mine) in those show. The introduction of Sinclair brought about the descent in their quality (although he produces some brilliant bass lines in 'The Sleeper', a three-star song), as shown in 'Rain Dances'. This one takes the biscuit. Thankfully, they returned to form with 'Nude', an excellent addition to any prog collection.

'Breathless' has a nice melody and a relaxing feel, but no real talent is displayed, which is what prog is all about. 'Echoes' is the high point of the album, giving some texture, great drumming and synthesising. Definitely a four/five star track. 'Wing and a Prayer' has one of my sax solos, ever lightened by the flute in the background. These two songs are definitely the high point of the album. 'Down on the Farm' is getting quite annoying, though it has some good jamming with soft flute. Again, some very nice flute and great guitar in 'Starlight Ride'.

Now we get to the filler, or an accidental that found its way onto a CAMEL album. 'Summer Lightning' starts as a poor song, but is acceptable for the surprisingly good guitar solo in the middle to the end. 'You Make Me Smile' is a pop song, and I really don't like it. Other reviews have granted 'The Sleeper with acclaim, but personally I find no positive points at all. 'Rainbow's End' is a brilliant end for the album, with warm piano and very nice vocals. I would say that it makes up the previous three songs.

Prog fans shouldn't rush out to buy this, but if you are a CAMEL-head, this album certainly has some notable tracks and marks CAMEL's ever varying sound. Overall, it is good, but not essential.

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Send comments to ProgHappy (BETA) | Report this review (#69126)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Yes - this album sometimes crosses the border to Pop.

But nevertheless i like to hear it because of its great melodies. "Echoes", "Summer lightning" and "The sleeper" are the best songs for me.

Richard Sinclair is with the band - so this is not CAMEL at the beginning of the 70s. But this music is not simple or monotonous. And you have to listen several times to get in touch with.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#69156)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
belz
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 2.8/5.0As others reviewers noted, this is a mixbag; lot of great stuff there... but also lot of crap! Some of the great songs: "The Sleeper" (one of the finest songs after Moonmadness album), "Echoes" with great "moonmadness style" rhythm, "Rainbow's End" which is really the end of it all for Bardens and Sinclair... But the rest of the album is not very good, with a pop sound and... really ordinary music.

I would give a lower rating to this album, but I just can't. Even if the music is sadly unimaginative on the majority of the tracks and highly boring, there are some times when there is that reminescent typical Camel sound which creates some highly emotional nostalgia in my brain, like meeting an old girl-friend and remembering the nice time we HAD. "HAD" is the key word here; everything is at past tense; there is no future for Camel with this album; sadly enough, the band that created the two best prog-music albums of all-time in my opinion (The Snow Goose and Moonmadness) is quietly fading in the end and the echoing sound of their decline is overwhelming and can't get compensation by two or three good songs on this album.

If it wasn't for "Echoes" and "The Sleeper", I would have to give between 1 and 2 stars. This is sad. But hey, who said it was fun to review a great band when it becomes an has-been band? 2.8/5.0

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Send comments to belz (BETA) | Report this review (#74362)
Posted Friday, April 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is just very nice album of legendary Camel. First song, Breathless really inspired me, such beautiful vocals just can not be sung again. Coming to the middle of record, music becomes more and more »funky« and this feeling raises the most in, very nice, canterbery- like song Down on the Farm. Latimer plays nice flute parts through whole album, but the guitar solo on dance oriented song Summer Lightening has killed me. What a sound of his guitar! Just excelent... One is not able to consider the album as masterpiece between all great symphonic prog albums, but this one is also enjoyable to hear. Too many minutes of album sound like created to mainstream, and, probably simpler, than other Camel's music before this. I didn't like the drums, but not every piece of good progressive music need to have virtuosic drumming. For any new Camel fans, may this be not the best start, but it just should not be avoided.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#76781)
Posted Monday, May 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I might say this is a great album. I think this band doesn't has weak albums specialy in the '70. Maybe is not so good as Mirage or Snow goose, but i like most than the album from '75. Some really good moments are for me Echoes, Summer lightning and The sleeper. The entire album is a great one, and the drumer is very energic, the voice of Latimer is good as always, one of the the warmest voice i ever heard. So my rate is 4 stars. My favorite from them remains Mirage but this one is close.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#78880)
Posted Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars You either love or hate this album. Camel were obviously experimentint with this slightly more accessible album. I think this is one of the greatest albums of all time however, it is inspiring, catchy, musical genius and extremely diverse. Everyone should own this album and i recommend it to anyone. Highlights of the album are breathless, down on the farm, rainbow's end and wing and a prayer.

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Send comments to lewmang (BETA) | Report this review (#80770)
Posted Friday, June 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
infandous@exc
2 stars Well, I'm a fairly big Camel fan, having all studio albums except for The Single Factor. I must say, this album is pretty dull. I thought that it might grow on me the way Raindances did, but this one just seems characterless and listless. Sinclairs sole contribution is mildly amusing and clever, but still nothing to write home about. Echoes and The Sleeper are decent tracks, but would be lesser songs on most other Camel ablums. As much as I've tried to enjoy this album, I just can't. It really doesn't hold my attention and is only better than the horrible Stationary Traveler and the almost worthless I Can See Your House From Here. Still, two stars for not being their absolute worst.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#80777)
Posted Friday, June 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review on site. As a prog-loving Camel fan, I chose this album as the first to review with the goal of perhaps helping those who do not appreciate this album to perhaps learn to enjoy it as much as I.

I consider this a prog masterpiece for the following reasons:

1) I consider Camel to be one of the top prog bands of all time 2) This album is splattered with all the cornerstones of the classic Camel sound as evidenced in both Mirage and Moonmadness albums. 3) Over the years, Camel has seldom if ever rested on their laurels and merely reproduced prior compositions with a few new touches. They have almost always tried something a bit new on each recoding in order to avoid becoming stale,in my opinion. 4) This album combines the mid-70's classic Camel sound with stirling production and dead -on pop sensibilities reminiscent of George Martin and the Beatles in their creative heyday, resulting in perhaps the most fun and cheery and accessible Camel album ever. top prog band + classic Camel sounds + innovation + sterling production + pop sensibilities = prog classic: 5 stars.

I think this is an album in the same vain as the album "Hope", by Klaatu. Though Breathless is not a theme album, I think it was Camel's best shot at applying their considerable artistry towards producing their ultimate, most accessible, prog/pop-rock album which has held up well over the years as a result.

Now, prog-head, lighten up and forget the notion that Camel sold out. Is there a better disco song out there for the prog-lover than "Summer Lightning"? I do not know of one. Much is said about Andy Latimer's searing guitar lead in this song + I agree. But it is Sinclair's driving, maniacal + obsessed bass line laid down throughout the song and during this solo that sets the table and makes this not just another execellent Latimer guitar excursion.

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Send comments to mapman (BETA) | Report this review (#85306)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The music gets worse and the cover art uglier. Every track would have been a terrible let down on for example Moonmadness, but Echoes, the surprisingly good Down on the Farm and Rainbow's End could have fitted on Rain Dances. The rest of the album have yet to catch my attention at all, at least in the positive way. A strong contestant in the race for the Worst Camel Album title. Still deserves an occasional listen.

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Send comments to Pekka (BETA) | Report this review (#87415)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Australian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It seems that the mastermind of 'Caravan', Richard Sinclair was unable to bring a magic touch to camel but he was able to help the band create some good, above average music. "Breathless" and "Rain Dances" primarily see Camel taking a completely different course to their preceding albums. Their style of music changed from symphonic experimental music to a more popish type of music. Their new style of music in these albums till retains several classic Camel elements and the poppy side of the music isn't bad. Mel Collins also makes an appearance in the band at this point and he brings with him Saxophones (and Flutes) which were unique for Camel at that time, and still are I suppose. The two flutes in the band allow for two flute parts (really?) and fantastic interplay between Latimer and Collins on guitar and woodwinds respectively.

The quality of music on "Breathless" is reduced in the way of complexity and it lacks the original flow of the first four albums. One example is that the guitar and synthesizer solos seem to be mixed very quiet and they are almost fillers here, while on previous albums they stand out and can be easily heard. The synthesizers and guitar also take on a more conventional sound, the band probably intended on making these changes without knowing what the reaction would be, that in it's self is an experiment.

Some of "Breathless" is good, and some is damn right average, take "You Make Me Smile" for example, it just makes me angry, grrrr. On the other hand songs like "Echoes" and "The Sleeper" are at the other end of the spectrum. "Breathless" has a more laid back feel in the music and nobody strains themselves in any aspects of the album. All the vocals and instruments don't really have serious strain to them, if you know what I mean. This feel is refreshing in ways but it also rises the point that perhaps they weren't fully devoted to the making of "Breathless."

The song "Echoes" basically by its self pays for Breathless and it is the most similar to that of the band's opening period. The guitar and synthesizers stand out here and provides a good ride. "The sleeper" is another good listen; it is all instrumental and puts emphasis on woodwinds and guitar relationships. "Summer Lightning" is the best of the poppy songs and the last three minutes is an almost inaudible guitar solo, but it is a good inaudible solo. "Wing and a Prayer" is okay I guess, catchy, happy and it displays many other desirable features, I like it. "Down on the Farm" is, a rap I guess as everything is spoken. Written by Richard Sinclair and it has his genuine feel. "Breathless" has some nice woodwind melodies. Most of the rest is pop drivel, not very interesting.

1. Breathless (4/5) 2. Echoes (5/5) 3. Wing and Prayer (4/5) 4. Down on the Farm (4/5) 5. Starlight Ride (2/5) 6. Summer Lightening (4/5) 7. You Make me Smile (1/5) 8. The Sleeper (4/5) 9. Rainbow's End (2/5)

Total = 30 divided by 9 (number of songs) = 3.333 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

"Breathless" has earn its three stars, the stand out songs luckily overshadow the ordinary ones. It is a good listen and I'd recommend it after the first four Camel albums to everyone interested. I have to admit I almost gave Breathless four stars. The End.

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#88249)
Posted Saturday, August 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm only reviewing the song Summerlightning, for that's a grandiose track, starting a little poppish, but when Andy starts with his guitarsolo all fall's into place, stunning solo that's a proof of the musical skills this boys possesses.

The rest of the album is quite alright also, nice bass, good drums, decent, but not great vocals (as ussual), great guitars, nice flute sax and key's. a bit more poppish than previous albums ( a change that started really with Moonmadness already).

Not the place to start when your new to Camel, and for die-hard prog camel fans this might be to pop, but if only for Summer Lightning this is still a good album.

3 stars, but not for starters.

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#93657)
Posted Saturday, October 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK, so it's not as good as "Mirage" or "Moonmadness" but those albums would be difficult to top.

OK, so there are a couple pop sounding tunes here and a dance number (of sorts). Why is it such a bad thing to record songs that are radio friendly?

OK, so it's got silly looking artwork for the cover but hey, it was 1978.

All in all, this record holds its own. There are GREAT tracks here. "Echoes" is one of the best songs Camel ever recorded and the title track is a beautiful piece. I think these 2 songs alone are the reason that "Breathless" became the band's biggest selling record in the US. To the naysayers I say give it another listen.

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Send comments to XTChuck (BETA) | Report this review (#97332)
Posted Monday, November 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This album left me rather breathless when I heard for the first time. It is Camel's Abacab or Big Generator (if you see what I mean) IMO.

I purchased almost their entire catalogue based on their first four studio albums, and this one is not worth the money (it will not be the last one from Camel, unfortunately). The title track sounds really awful (or is it just candid ?) : it tries to be poppy, but fails. Unfortunately it is not the only one (listen to "Wing and a Prayer", "Down on the Farm" to be convinced).

"Starlight Ride" is a melancholic tune with no inspiration at all. "Summer Lightning" is a disco / pop tune to be forgotten as soon as you have heard it. Real bad, I tell you. I guess they tried to adapt themselves to the external world of the era but hell! they didn't pick up the good direction (if any was available for a band like Camel at that time).

"Echoes" is the best track here : a traditional good Camel song, maybe harder than usual. "The Sleeper" is not bad either, but is by no means a masterpiece. Fortunately those two songs are the longest ones : almost one third of the whole album. The closing number "Summer Lightning" is a track that reminds me sub-par ELO.

Only two average to good songs could not save this effort for being very poor. They should have released a single instead. One star.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#110850)
Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Breathless' hails from 1978, a year where many (not all, though) excellent progressive bands toned down on complexity in favour of a more accessible, song oriented style. Camel followed this path on this effort. Opening with an easy-listening track, 'Breathless', it sounds more like 'Adult Contemporary' music than prog - it's pleasant, but not really characteristic of what one has come to know and love from this great band's earlier compositions. 'Echoes' is possibly the masterpiece of this release, with stunning instrumental displays all around, particularly Richard Sinclair's superb bass playing, and Pete Bardens' mini-moog runs. 'Wing and a Prayer' is a rather forgettable pop-song. Next we have the Sinclair-penned 'Down on the Farm', a quirky little tune that has more in common with his previous band Caravan, than Camel - it never fails to bring a smile to my face. 'Starlight Ride' is a pretty little song, with great flute and sax from Mel Collins, and some lovely Rhodes e-piano.

Side 2 greets us with 'Summer Lightning', an up-tempo, almost danceable (eek!) tune with its 4/4 beats, but the excellent bass guitaring, atmospheric keyboard work and Andy Latimer's great lead-guitaring more than makes up for its lack. It is a track I find deserves more recognition. 'You Make Me Smile' is a *very* poppish tune, but features a nice mini- moog solo. 'The Sleeper' is a great 7 min. instrumental track, starting out in atmospheric fashion, giving way to some tricky rhythms and more stunning playing from Collins, Latimer and Bardens. I find the last song, 'Rainbow's End', to be a little dull, and along with 'Wing and a Prayer' culminate as the weakest moments on the album.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#112747)
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second album with Collins/Sinclair on board keeps watering down the sound and is much weaker than its predecessor, "Rain Dances". It is amazing to hear how such a fine group of competent musicians feel restricted to open-up their minds and step into more adventurous exploration of music. "Breathless" sounds like a "lite version" of CARAVAN and in a few songs with Sinclair on lead vocal you could wonder is this really CAMEL? However, this is not a classic CARAVAN sound I am talking about - rather it is the late 1970s sound of mixing pop, AOR and new wave influences in a quite disasterous way. "Echoes" and "Sleeper" are probably the best moments, which bring some of the old CAMEL pleasure, especially in Latimer's fine guitar work and Bardens' keys. The rest of the album, although not entirely unlistenable, contains nothing worth of attention. Jazz-rock elements are more present, particularly towards the second half of the album, but it is unfortunately the style closer to awful Muzak than to any adveturous prog rock. This is only for CAMEL collectors.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#124187)
Posted Friday, June 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Last album that still features founder member Peter Bardens on keyboards. Although it contains some fine songs, it is also quite different from the sound Camel created and ultimately influenced so many people. Only Echoes does reflect their glorious past and it´s the CD´s best track. No wonder many fans remember this album solely by this tune. Unfortunatly it can´t really save the whole album. The title track is a good pop song, as are others here and there. Some are downright embarassing (`Down On The Farm`) . And Summer Lightning is too much a disco track: not bad, it has a good melody and guitar solo, but again does not sound like Camel at all.

Breathless is a mixed bag that is partially saved by the great muscicanship of all members involved. If you like pop music you´ll probably enjoy this album. For the prog fan I´d suggest to look somewhere else.

Final rating: 2,5 stars.

l

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#134703)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The downward trend continues here. Camel really starts to bring the pop out out here, as evidenced by the rather weak title track which opens the album. The main riff of the song isn't bad at first, but by the end of the song you are left quite bored and almost angry at these guys for making you sit (or stand, or run in place, or whatever you do when you listen to music) through that. But then! They quickly redeem themselves with "Echoes," a track that harkens back to the band's former musical glory. I'll admit, this is a solid song, and it was worth letting the first song finish so I could get to it, but disappointment peaks it's head out from around the corner and then comes over to hang out for the rest of the album.

For being a predominantly poppy record, Breathless isn't awful, but pop songs were never the forte of the 70's symphonic bands. The pop songs here are far better than those on their next record, but other than that, there isn't anything positive to say about this album. In hindsight, "Echoes," while being the highlight of this album and "The Sleeper" also standing out as a decent instrumental, really don't have anything on the good tracks from Rain Dances. Oh well.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#150736)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Nothing special is the best description for this album. Nothing real bad or poor either so a typical 3 star album is the conclusion for the first of a serie of lesser albums by Camel. I'll illustrate it with song by song ratings:

Breathless (4:17) 3,25*. Average song for Camel standard, no specific features, just nice.

Echoes (7:17) 3,5*. Pretty good instrumental effort in the beginning, but again no spectular stuff.

Wing and a prayer (4:41) 3*. This is not average, this is mediocre. Almost below par.

Down on the farm (4:19) 3*. Rock song, vocals in Caravan style with Richard Sinclair. No more than nice.

Starlight ride (3:19) 3*. This one is insignificant as well with some nice wind instr.

Summer Lightning (6:00) 3,75*. Finally a stunning track thanks to an excelling Andy.

You make me smile (4:14) 3*. Starts off surprisingly with some soul/disco like sounds in Raydio style. Well, at least it's original but how low can you sink ?

The Sleeper (7:02) 3,75*. The other highlight of this album. The boys prove here they can still do it. So why only with this 8th track ?? This is 70-s Camel really !

Rainbow's End (2:59) 3*. And then this senseless closer again. What can I say indeed ?!

Good album and that's all, so three stars (3,25).

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#158899)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars First of all, let me get one thing straight: I like this album, and since I bought it I have listened to it more often than I have, for instance, to the likes of "Relayer". As a matter of fact, there are times when something like "Breathless" hits the spot, while a more complex album would just flow by unnoticed. Sometimes you just need music that, while undoubtedly well-played and eminently listenable, it is certainly not intellectually challenging.

Well, Camel can certainly play, and the added bonus of Richard Sinclair's vocals is not to be despised either. However, considering the collective talent of the musicians involved, this album cannot be called other than a disappointment. The poppy tendencies already displayed by "Highways of the Sun" on "Rain Dances" are here brought forward and developed in a way that makes Camel nearly undistinguishable from many chart-friendly bands of the late Seventies.

With the exception of the instrumental "The Sleeper", the album is mostly song-oriented. The songs in question, while not intrinsically bad, are not a patch on what Camel had been doing in the previous years. Sinclair's gorgeous vocals are given more space here than on "Rain Dances", but nothing reminds the listener of his awe-inspiring performances on the likes of "In the Land of Grey and Pink" or "The Rotters' Club". Even the funny, upbeat little ditty "Down on the Farm" (a song many hate, though I've always found it rather endearing), while undoubtedly catchy, is light years away from the humorous prog-pop masterpiece that was "Share It". And then, we have Camel's take on Seventies' disco music, "Summer Lightning", which is rescued by Sinclair's vocals and a great guitar solo at the end.

Richard Sinclair would be more or less booted out of the band after this album - his stint in Camel had unfortunately proved anything but a marriage made in heaven. Moreover, the tension between Latimer and Bardens, the two musical masterminds of the band, led to the latter's departure as well. It took a long time for Camel to bounce back, though they never again reached the heights of their early Seventies output. As for "Breathless", it is indeed a pleasant, undemanding listen for those days when King Crimson are really too much to take for our stressed brains - little more than a pop album with a bit of prog thrown in for good measure.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#162015)
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the best of the Richard Sinclair line-up, sort of like their _Wind & Wuthering_(as per Genesis). A perfect fusing of the best parts from Caravan and Camel. The instrumental The Sleeper is a real treat which is regularly featured on XM Radio's _Deep Tracks_. A mentioned in a few reviews I've read elsewhere, this album has a spring/summery feeling to it. _Down On The Farm_ has some creative sound effects and wonderful lyrics which appropriately describe the rural area lifestyle and local gatherings. I rate this as one of Camel's finest _vocal_ albums...and their last great stab at prog. in the '70s. Also, this is the last album with keyboardist Peter Bardens. _Summer Lightning_ is the best tune Steely Dan never wrote.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#168503)
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Camel's second album with the heavy Caravan influence, thanks to both the times and personnel, "Breathless" leans more to the quirky pop side of that act, and dispenses with most of the jazzy qualities of its predecessor. In summation, yet another piece of the Camel saga that involves significant change, albeit within the context of producing quality in a generally progressive format.

The first side is, in its own way, as strong as anything Camel has done. The title track is a pleasant prog pop componsition with more of an acoustic feel than most of Camel's repertoire. The most old style Camel track is "Echoes", with a brilliant 4+ minute introduction of recurring themese and stellar synthesizers and guitars, one of Latimer and Bardens best and last synergistic tunes. "Wing and a Prayer" is an inventive Caravan style slice of whimsy, and even more so is "Down on the Farm", both showing Camel at its most undeniably English sounding. This is probably not to the taste of a lot of people on the list but is nonetheless captivating and clever pop music with more than enough ingenuity to outclass 90% of what comes out of that genre. "Starlight Ride" is the type of ballad we got used to on Moonmadness - mellow, cosmic, with a gently unfolding melody.

Side 2 is somewhat polarizing, containing a mixture of decidedly disco beats and some of Latimer's best lead work, sometimes in the same song, such as in "Summer Lightning" and the somewhat superior and decidedly jazzy "The Sleeper". "You Make me Smile" is more slick pop oriented than anything on side 1. "Rainbow's End" provides the goodnight kiss in the form of another thoughtful mellow ballad.

With the benefit of retrospect, Camel maintained a high quality throughout their career, occasional missteps notwithstanding, and this album constitutes another breathtaking change of pace on the group's fascinating journey.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#170619)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars A good Caravan album makes a bad Camel album

The previous Camel album, Rain Dances, had been both a backward-looking album and a forward-looking album as it was a rather appealing mix of what Camel did on their first four albums and what they would do on the present album (their sixth studio album). Richard Sinclair of Caravan fame had joined the band for Rain Dances and put his personal stamp on Camel's music already at that point, but his influence was counterbalanced with the classic Camel sound. Rain Dances thus managed to retain a lot of the typical Camel-identity despite the more or less strong Caravan influences, resulting in an album somewhere in the middle between Symphonic Prog and the jazzy Canterbury Scene sound of Caravan. On Breathless, however, I feel that Sinclair dominated a bit too much and he brought Camel too far towards the sound of Caravan.

Sinclair even brought in his cousin and fellow Caravan-member, Dave Sinclair, on additional keyboards on this album (though he is, for some reason, uncredited in the album sleeve). And when original member Peter Bardens left the band directly after the recording of this album, Dave Sinclair took over on keyboards for the tour in support of the album. Andy Latimer at one point joked about re-naming the band 'Caramel' (a crossover between 'Camel' and 'Caravan') and listening to Breathless I feel that such a name-change would actually have been a very good idea! If you know both bands, "Caramel" is really a very fitting name to the band that made this album.

Richard Sinclair sang lead vocals on the opening title track, on Summer Lightning (the latter of which he also co-wrote with Latimer), and on Down On The Farm (which is written by Sinclair alone). The first two of these are decent songs, but Down On The Farm is, in my opinion, a complete embarrassment! I don't dislike Sinclair's vocals at all, but they are too strongly associated with Caravan for me.

Echoes is the real highlight of Breathless and this is indeed an excellent song that has since become a frequent item in the band's set list up till and including the very last tour they did in 2003. Also The Sleeper is a very good song that more resembles the earlier Camel sound. The rest of the songs are not bad at all, but not particularly strong either. The material is significantly less memorable than on most other Camel albums.

Being a major Camel fan (and a minor Caravan fan) I do enjoy Breathless, and there are some great moments here. However, the album falls short in comparison with both earlier and later Camel albums. Indeed, The Single Factor is the only other Camel studio album that I've given as low a rating as this.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177423)
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I received a cd for birthday. Unfortunately I already had it (the drawbacks of a vast collection), so I took the record with the receipt and changed it to two half priced cds, one of which was Breathless by Camel.

I had already heard the album, and had really enjoyed it, as I do most music by Camel. I brought it home and gave it a go.

First of all, I realised, that the inner sleeve of my cd leaftlet has The Very Best of Billie Holiday printed on it. I've yet to decide wherther it's a precious rarity or an utter failure. The latter certainly does not apply to the album itself.

In the year 1978 the 80s were there only in the graphics for Camel. The cover states the issues of this album. But the music is original, and exactly what I look for when I listen to Camel.

Breathless is a love song. It's pretty, with the melody and a bit more mainstream sound from Camel. This is a clever song, and I might say, a good one to play to a girl at some point in the evening, when the lights are dim. Certainly, it's apparent where the name Breathless comes from, and the album seems to follow this pattern later on as well.

The second song is extremely groovy. I played it to a drummer friend of mine because of the drumpatterns that sound like the Devil's gone into Mr. Ward. It's brilliant, and though rest of the music's simple, the drumming drives me crazy, or might I say, breathless. Though my friend said it's all right, but he couldn't possibly listen to it for long. In that sense I must agree. The song is so powerful and breathtaking, and I bet Ward's glad it's only 7:17 long.

Listening to Wing and a Prayer I noticed, having jumped over a couple of recommended albums, Camel has certainly gotten more in touch with their lyrical part. And as with this song, a lot of them are sung thoroughly with less instrumental passages that everyone used to love. This song is nice, but I can't say it's anything more than 1/9th of a splendid album. Pretty straightforward.

Down on the Farm made me think of another band called Caravan, with the humorous lyrics and the fact, that it really doesn't fit this album. After some research (back of the album), I discovered it is a song written by their new bassist, Richard Sinclair, who actually was there to create bands such as Caravan and National Health. It's nice to hear Camel too inviting the Canterbury Scene, even though Mr. Sinclair left right after this album. The song: it's about having fun in the farm, with the farmers daughter, drinking pints at the local pub etc. Not something you'd hear from Camel usually, but a good song for those not only into the fusion-rock genre.

Starlight Ride goes to the same cathegory as the 3rd track. It's a pretty song with sentimental lyrics, the dominant instruments are the guitar and the flute. If you fancy a mellow tune after the one before, this one is really welcome. A nice one.

The next one is a return to the traditional Camel, though with a groovy rythm, like from a disco shuffle song like BeeGees, though turned progressive. This song makes you want to tap the table. It's good funk, and I enjoyed the lyrics a lot. Well worth the whole 6 minutes, and my favourite song on this album. Understand the phrase Summer Lightning in your eyes as part of Latimers album of lovesongs and you'll realise how well it fits.

Now, that girl you had there, put your arm around her and tell her, that everytime you hear this song, you think of her. She'll be a bit puzzled first because of the intro with a strange bass patterns, but will soon notice that the story behind the song actually is You Make Me Smile. And be sure to smile. I can see the band playing this song live, and it really makes me want to hear more. At some point I was thinking, this album only gets better and better, and considering the good first track, now we've got 7 good tracks altogether. What's next?

The Sleeper, a soft instrumental piece with Camel-like melodies, that later on grows into a play of skills. This would well fit to a record like Mirage. A very nice song.

Rainbow's End is a common ending tune for an album. A short ballad with no drums again. The lyrics are beautiful again, and I personally like this song a lot.

The album, as I said before, is pretty obviously a collection of love songs with some exceptions here and there to even up the mood. The collection as a whole is well built and the musical virtuosity is apparent again. Richard Sinclair did a great job as a visiting bassist/vocalist. And as you already know, I got all sentimental and so did she. This album is a great addition to everyone's collection. Of course, it's not something you have to own, and that's the only bad thing I can think for it. If you're a fan of Camel, this is pretty essential.

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Send comments to Passionist (BETA) | Report this review (#177919)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Breathless is the sixth studio album from symphonic prog rockers Camel. The album was released in 1978. Breathless shares the same lineup as the previous album Rain Dances from 1977 which means that in addition to founding members Peter Bardens ( organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, mellophonium, vocals), Andy Latimer (flute, guitar, vocals ) and Andy Ward ( percussion, drums) Camel consisted of Richard Synclair ( Caravan, Hatfield & The North) on bass and vocals and Mel Collins ( King Crimson) on Sax. Rain Dances was one of those albums that I remembered was not to my liking. After listening to it again before making my review here on Prog Archives I ended up loving the album though and I was curious if the same thing would happen with Breathless which I had an equal distaste for when I heard it the first time in the mid nineties. Lets say that things have changed for the better between me and Breathless but that I don´t think it´s as good as Rain Dances.

One thing I noticed listening to my CD version of Breathless is that the songs have changed places compared to my original LP version. I haven´t heard my LP in years so I won´t comment on if it´s a good or a bad thing. Generally I think that you should leave the original albums as they were, but there is probably an explanation.

The music on Rain Dances had moved towards a more commercial sound and with Breathless Camel takes this development in their music one step further without totally sacrificing their prog rock sound. There are some pretty good songs here in Breathless, Echoes, Starlight Ride, The Sleeper and the funny Canterburian ( Well partially) Down on the Farm. Whenever Richard Sinclair sings the lead vocals I can´t help being reminded of Caravan and Breathless, Down on the Farm and Summer Lightning could almost have been Caravan from circa Cunning Stunts to Better by Far. Camel´s music has more exciting instrumental parts though.

All is not well on Breathless though and I could have done without the commercial Wing and Prayer and the disco beat in Summer lightning. You Make me Smile sounds like one of the boring pop songs from Caravan´s Better By Far and doesn´t really help my impression either.

The musicianship is as tight and excellent as ever. Richard Sinclair is really a great addition to Camel with his warm voice and clever basslines.

The production is good allthough not as good as the one on Rain Dances.

Breathless is a step down from Rain Dances IMO. The songwriting isn´t as inspired as on that one but there are still some truly excellent moments on Breathless that convinces me that this is a small 3 star album and not a big 2 star album. This would be the last album with Peter Bardens and Richard Sinclair and that´s a real shame IMO. This is probably the strongest lineup Camel would ever have. Too bad Breathless didn´t turn out better.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#180058)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If Rain Dances had found Camel refurbishing their musical direction and absolutely capable of creating yet another prog masterpiece for their catalogue, the follow-up effort "Breathless" turned out to be a partial disappointment. The band's sound somewhat deviates from the increased Canterbury orientations that had been developed in "Rain Dances" (and used in the live versions of old material with support wind player Mel Collins, as it is shown in A Live Record) and fully returns to the intensely melodic drive that had signalled the band's earlier symphonic prog albums. Richard Sinclair didn't prove to be the determining influential force that he could/should have been, while the tandem Bardens-Latimer was falling apart at the seams before the eyes of everyone else in the band. Even before the album's actual completion, Bardens had announced his decision to part ways with the reast of the band. There was tension in the meantime in a high degree: proof of that is the fact that Bardens refused to play in the Sinclair-penned track 'Down on the Farm' (actually, it is a very entertaining song, very much related to the simplistic humorous side of Caravan, but actually not as inspired as what he wrote in the 'Waterloo Lilly' song, for instance). On the other hand, the beautiful closing ballad 'Rainbow's End' was written by Latimer as a kind farewell to his longtime partner and fellow musician. Of course, the creator of that special background that characterized vintage Camel sound deserved no less than a beautiful song as a parting homage. But before getting to this moving closure, there are other brilliant songs in this album. 'Echoes' is not only the album's highlight but one of the most brilliant Camel compositions ever. The dynamics and refined arrangements that solidify the links between motifs and tempo shifts cry out the echoing rumours of the "Mirage"-era, while Ward's drumming continues to provide that kind of swing that he eagerly explored in the "Moon Madness" and "Rain Dances" albums. More tracks like this, recapitulating the current and pre-Sinclair eras in a tight fashion, were what this album needed to be truly excellent. More focused on the jazzy leanings are the powerful instrumental 'The Sleeper' (still reminding us of Moon Madness in some specific moments) and the effectively appealing 'Wing and a Prayer' (this is the kind of Canterbury-friendly songs that Sinclair should have come up with in order to make his contributions really interesting). Also, the romantic eponymous semi-ballad and the pastoral-related ballad 'Starlight Ride' are eficient in their respective musical ambitions: sonic colorfulness delivered with melodic sensibility and a clear sense of elegance. I'm not so sure about what Camel intended to accomplish with 'Summer Lightning' and 'You Make Me Smile'. The former has an excellent guitar lead and magical multiple synth layers, the latter bears effective synth solos - granted. But all in all, these are indefinite pieces that apparently intended to create a ridiculous marriage of disco/pop and art-rock, ultimately failing. General balance: a very irregular album with two great tracks, a few good songs and some inane numbers that sabotage the repertoire as a whole. "Breathless" is essential to understand the evolving vision of Camel at a certain point of the band's history, not an essential album in itself.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#183161)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Breathless" continues where "Rain Dances" left off, although this is even lighter and more difficult for me to digest. Same lineup as well, but there would be major changes after this was released. I must admit that giving this even 3 stars didn't seem possible after my first couple of listens, this is just too close to that soft seventies rock sound, but fortunately after many listens I started to appreciate the instrumental work a little more.

"Breathless" has a pleasant and light melody with vocals. Collins comes in before 2 minutes and later. "Echoes" is far and away the best track.The drumming, guitar work and bass play are all outstanding. A calm with flute 2 minutes in. It kicks back in more aggressively than before after 3 minutes. Vocals after 4 minutes. "Wing And A Prayer" features light keys and vocals. When the vocals stop the sax comes in at 2 1/2 minutes. Flute comes in late. "Down On The Farm" is very much a CARAVAN-like track written by Sinclair of course. As Tom Ozric says this one always makes me smile. Great lyrics with Richards understated vocals.

"Starlight Ride" is another mellow song with keys, vocals and flute standing out. "Summer Lightning" sounds really good for the first 30 seconds then it turns too soft for my tastes. The long guitar solo to end it helps though. "You Make Me Smile" is too commercial, although I don't mind the chorus. "The Sleeper" is an instrumental. I like the atmosphere to open. It kicks in with an uptempo melody after 1 1/2 minutes. Collins comes in after 3 minutes. "Rainbow's End" is again mellow with vocals.

Very difficult to give this even 3 stars, but hey there's enough here to say it's pretty good. Barely.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#185079)
Posted Wednesday, October 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not bad at all, this one.

The first record featuring a humoristic song, courtesy of Richard Sinclair. This record has it all, rock, disco-influenced pop, fusion, some nice spacey instrumentals and of course a humorrock song named Down On The Farm.

On this record the flutes are mostly played by Mel Collins instead of Andy Latimer, wich is hardly noticable.

The fusion influenced tracks Echoes and The Sleeper are really awesome.

The disco-pop of Summer Lightning works suprisngly well and features one of Andy's most beautiful guitarsolos.

The last record featuring both Richard Sinclair and Peter Bardens this is aswell the last album recorded as a true band.

Just try this one, you might like it.

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Send comments to Kingsnake (BETA) | Report this review (#189234)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Folk-oriented album by Camel! The most folky sounding album for Camel up to that date. The vocals and flute works made by Andy Latimer contribute to that. Really much better than the previous one - Rain Dances. The synchronism returns to the band. The musicianship is perfect and there're not anything boring and needless on Breathless. The album is softer than Moonmadness, but it's more folky and jazzy than it. That means it's different, but not weaker than Moonmadness. Of course, it's weaker than the first three albums, but they are samples of classic progressive rock. I want to say, that Breathless is above 3.5 stars album, but under 4 stars surely. Something like Moonmadness - around 3.75 for me! Interesting is, that the album produce a couple of jewels like the previous one - Rain Dances. Here the best track is The Sleeper: true masterpiece. The other very original song is Down on the Farm. Very interesting and very innovative and different. It's made by Richard Synclair - the newcomer (this is his second album for Camel). The other lond song - Echoes is another fresh-sounding song. The worst songs are Summer Lightening and You Make Me Smile. But that only shows how constant is the quality of the album. Most of the songs are 3.5, while on Rain Dances most of the songs are 3 stars with some boring elements. That's why Rain Dances is the weakest album to that date for me!

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#192666)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars While Rain Dances was the first step into the jazz territory and a very succesful one, Breathless is a step forward with more wider orientations, incorporating some funk and pop elements into the palette. While not better, in any way, from the previous album Breathless still has very good moments and in my opinion it is a love or hate album. Frankly i am on the side who like this album. I will pick out Echoes as one of the best progressive rock efforts Camel ever made and one has to agree with that. From the opening theme and throughout the whole progress Echoes grabs you until its end. The Sleeper is another winner from the jazz territory, continuing what has started at Rain Dances. I really like the brass section played by Mel Collins and of course the Latimer's excellent guitar solo. Summer Lightning is on the pop side of things and for me Andrew Latimer here, provides one of his most expressive guitar solos(along with so many other of course)-Above average... Wing And A Prayer is what i call decent pop-i like this kind of pop music of those years-nice theme, catchy rhythm section by Ward and Sinclair and nice clarinet solo by Mel Collins. In the same exactly category is the entitled song of this album. Ending, i will pick out Rainbow's End which is a kind of Latimer's farewell to Peter Bardens and its a decent song too. All in all Breathless is like a spectrum of musical ideas and whether you like it or you dislike it. Camel were already quite pushed from their record label and that is reflected on all these pop side efforts of this album-effort for a hit single. If you are a prog orthodox this is not an album for you-if you are a prog fan accepting various musical orientations this one will please you a lot. 3.5 stars really...

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Send comments to Silent Knight (BETA) | Report this review (#192670)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album didn't left me breathless, but still...

'Breathless', 'Wing and a Prayer', 'Starlight Ride' and 'You Make me Smile' aren't very interesting, but they don't sound unpleasant, though. Summer Lightning starts a bit poppy, but the guitar solo at the end of the song is magnificent. Echoes and Sleepers are most enjoyable. Down on the farm is a song which I personally like because of it's stupidity. The sound is actually still quite good. There are a few AOR synths now and then, but there is no IMO dull eighties monotonous heavily manipulated snaredrumsound which can be heard on 'Nude'.

This record is certainly not Camel's best, but certainly worth a few spins.

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Send comments to Foolsdrummer (BETA) | Report this review (#193278)
Posted Sunday, December 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Althrough this album is a little bit poppy at some parts, there's no doubt it is a prog album. There are not as many instrumental parts as before, but the characteristic atmospheres are kept. It's a great soft- prog album to relax with, with nice guitars, atmospheric keyboards and some good flute parts.

Breathless starts out good, like a beutiful rising sun in the morning. It's much of a pop/rock song but a rather original one however. Not this plastic kind of pop, there is a soul in this song. 7/10

Echoes is, for me, the highlight of the album. It is a very progressive song, which starts out with a good guitar riff, followed by a slower tempo and some atmospheric, lush keyboards, followed by another guitar-based part and then developes into the vocal part of the song. Camel at their best. 9/10

Wing And a Prayer is another song in the same vein of the title track. Good song. 7/10

Then Down on the Farm arrives, which really is an unexpected one. Much pop over this song, and sadly, a lot of irritating sounds I don't consider as very funny. Still enjoyable, despite the irritating sound effects. 6/10

Starlight Ride is a very slow atmospheric song. It mostly consists of lush, mellow keyboards, some noodling on guitar and then the vocals. A highlight. 8/10

Summer lightning follows, which is one of the most commercial sonmgs on this album (together with you make me smile). It's a prog-disco hybrid. Althrough some members here seems to think it's too commercial, I enjoy it very much, especially the long guitar solo which almost gives me shivers along my backbone. A good song. 7/10

You Make Me Smile however, is the only song here that's just an throw away. Boring song with cheesy bass and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. 5/10

The Sleeper is, together with Echoes, one of the pure progressive songs. However it's not as good, and maybe a little bit repetative. It's still a quite good song. 7/10 Rainbows End really fits as a closer of the album. It's a mellow song with melancholic lyrics. 7/10

I really enjoy this album and want to give it the four star rating, cause it deserves a better ranking here. It's definitive an excelent addition to any progressive music collection. Just remember there are some pop oriented songs and if you can't stand such things you better keep your money or spend them on something else. 3.6 rounded up to 4 rather weak stars. Still, I feel a little bit generous...

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Send comments to Eastvillage (BETA) | Report this review (#205367)
Posted Wednesday, March 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An Odd Breath of Pop, Jazz, Prog and Canterbury..

Rain Dances was a great mix bag of fusion, some old proggy roots, and a bit of pop. Breathless on the other hand showed Camel focusing more on the pop aspects and Richard's specialised territory, Canterbury, rather than keep on exploring the jazz realm and of course the prog aspects are nearly vanished.

As for the Pop aspects Breathless presents, already from the beginning it's heard with the title track, a soft radio-oriented song with pretty much zero content. The next pop-tinged song would be Wing and Prayer, unlike the title track, this one is pretty catchy and contains some interesting vocals and nice instrumentation, though nothing really up to the standards of their classic songs. Then comes Summer Lightning with it's disco-esque rhythm with a pretty decent guitar solo and a simple but nice synth solo, but the result is obviously awkward though not actually bad per se. You Make Me Smile is another pop-oriented song with a simple structure and mediocre composition, but like always there's something worth the listen and that is a splendid very original keyboard solo to be delighted with.

As for the Canterbury aspects it's really in only one song and that is Down on the Farm with it's misleading AOR like opening it then transforms completely into a Caravan song without Caravan's neither Camel's brilliance. If you're a die-hard Caravan fan you should listen to this once, since it's like ''the missing Caravan tune'', haha.

There's still some prog material on board but it's not alike the music on board on Mirage or The Snow Goose. The first song presenting prog substance is Echoes(not the Floyd one!) with Andy's razing guitar bites all-through, while not a big fan of it it's definitely the best song on Breathless when it comes to musicianship. However when it comes to composition The Sleeper wins easily, it's in the vein of Lunar Sea from Moonmadness just that The Sleeper has a jazzier feel due to Mel Collins' great sax. The only tunes left are Rainbow End and Starlight Ride, while they're not prog songs they pretty much fit the style of Moonmadness and The Snow Goose, that delicate but never heading to pop sound, decent songs.

Breathless ends up being a sloppy mix of Canterbury-cliches with some mediocre pop tunes and two great, though very out of place tracks. Definitely less consistent than Rain Dances, however it's not worse than what other Prog bands were doing at that time.

2 stars, a weak record for Camel in inspiration and composition skills, however still enjoyable.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#205893)
Posted Monday, March 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Yes, pity story again there... I think, Camel had it's golden moment once (quite short, and not as gold ,as possible, I think), but that time is gone. What we have on their "Breathless"?

First of all, we have a serious list of players: Burdens, Latimer + Sinclair and Collins ( he was so perfect somewhere collaborating with King Crimson!). After, we have a music played: faceless and openly flirting with synth-pop collection of song. What does it means?

If you miss your ideas ( or inspiration) , but you are professional musician and have a rights for quite valuable trade mark in rock-music ( as "Camel"is), you can try to stay on the wave just mixing some breaks from "Camel ", "Caravan ", and put more pop-spices just to make this food for ears more tasteful. What is the result?

As in restaurant with bad cook: if your food is tasteless, just put more spices! So, we have there mainly spices (no food) for our ears. As in bad restaurant, you know...

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#237815)
Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
1 stars Breathless is the sound of a camel that has used up its supply of body fat. A camel in desperate need of a gulp of fresh water, completely drained and out of breath.

It's not a total disaster. There are some touches of Camel's trademark mellowness and melodic lightness but there's just not enough energy and inspiration left to make anything really come alive. Some songs like Echoes and Starlight Ride would have worked well on Rain Dances and could have improved it, had they replaced the traces of soft-jazz that disgraced that album.

Most of Breathless is entirely forgettable and badly dated pop music that wouldn't even stand a chance in the pop field neither.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#254537)
Posted Sunday, December 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Okay, here is Camel review #4 as I work my way through their large collection. Breathless seems to be a real splitter among Camel fans. Some seem to hate it and give a saving grace for only 1 song. I am not in that camp. THis may not be the best Camel ever did, but it has it's charms. "Breathless"- I like this song! It has a real Alan Parsons feel to it (kinda like The Single Factor), and I enjoy it's beat and lyrics. "Echoes" is pure classic Camel and deserves 5 stars. I always look forward to the part where the singing kicks in; a terrific segue! The next 2 songs are the lowlite for me on Breathless, especially "Down on the Farm". It's seems to have a Caravan flavor, but it just plain annoys me. I think it is just too simple and childish. " Summer Lightning" is disco Camel! Iskip it on the CD and get to the last 2 tunes, which I find satisfying, although "THe Sleeper" comes close to "Echoes", it falls a bit short. "Rainbows End", the final track is a good, solid Camel soft song. A great conclusion to a good, if spotty album. 3 1/2 stars (3 stars) overall. This CD is one song removed from being a 4. Cut Summer Lightning" and replace it with a better track, and it would have been there.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#271213)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The perfect fusion of Prog, Pop, Jazz, and Canterbury.

I only discovered Camel 3 years ago. The first Camel album I listened to was Mirage. I was an instant fan. For the next year, I enjoyed their first 4 albums. I was hesitant to listen to anything they recorded after Moondances because of the lackluster reviews. Raindances was a dissapointing album, probably the worst Camel album in my opinion. So I expected to be dissapointed when I first listened to Breathless. Boy was I wrong. I was blown away. It instantly became my favorite Camel album, and one my favorite albums by any band. There is absolutely no filler on this album. Can you really say this about any other Camel album? It makes me wonder if a lot of the reviewers who rate this album as one or two stars have even listened to the album. And I'm even more suprised to see the dull Raindances has a higher rating than this album. One reviewer states "An Odd Breath of Pop, Jazz, Prog and Canterbury.." In my opinioin, this is "A Perfect Breath of Pop, Jazz, Prog and Canterbury." By far the most original and most listenable of all Camel albums.

The standout tracks on this album are Echoes and Summer Lightning. Latimer's guitar playing really stands out on both of these tracks. Breathless, On a Wing and a Prayer, and The Sleeper are all excellent tracks as well. The rest of the tracks are far from filler though. Down on the Farm is comedic and catchy, You Make Me Smile is also upbeat and catchy. Rainbow's End is a nice short closing number, to a perfect album. The next album, I Can See Your House From Here is excellent as well. Not as good as Breathless, but definitely worthy of 4 stars.

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Send comments to terpsfan101 (BETA) | Report this review (#286539)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars I decided to review this album and give it a low rating because I think that CAMEL are best served if their weakest albums are NOT used by newbies as first approach to their music.

This is a good album for hard fans who can appreciate the jazzy period with Richard Sinclair during which Camel were sounding exactly as Caravan. Personally I don't like this period even if each single track alone is not bad.

Let's start from the good: as many other reviewer mention, "Echoes","summer lightning" and "You make me Smile" are good songs, Echoes is also mentioned in a forum thread as one of the best Camel's song at all. What is disppointing for me is that with Rain Dances and Breathless they have lost the intensity of the first 4 albums. There's more brain than heart here.

I imagine a person who has never heard anything of Camel choose an album from Rain Dances to The Single Factor (with the exception of Nude). He will never become a fan.

So even if Camel and Caravan's fans can like it so much, if you are not into Camel, please start from their first or their last albums. "Mirage" and "Rajaz" are my suggestions.

2 stars

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#286547)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite an erratic affair, which reminds me of Duke by GENESIS, another album with 50 percent masterpieces and the rest pop tunes of varying quality.

Maybe a third of this album stands up to their earlier albums (including Rain Dances which I am one of the few who rate as high as their first three Decca albums)

"Echoes", the title track and "Summer Lightning" are the best. The rest is decent enough with the exception of "Down on the Farm". Not only is it bad and silly, with a quite nice intro it's also a big disappointment.

This quite rightly deserves three solid stars.

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Send comments to Frasse (BETA) | Report this review (#291420)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Since my first Camel album was I Can See Your House From Here I really wasn't planning to purchase any more of those post-Moonmadness studio releases. This same notion reemerged once I heard the live material from Rain Dances that was featured on A Live Record. But one day while listening to the 1993 compilation album called Echoes on Spotify I noticed these two tracks that were actually quite pleasant in comparison to everything else that CD2 had to offer. The compositions Breathless and Echoes were beyond anything I've heard from Camel's late '70s output which was why I finally decided to give this 1978 album a shot.

By 1978, Camel became a quintet with the addition of Richard Sinclair on bass guitar/lead vocals and Mel Collins on saxophone. Judging from the opening two numbers this new additions to the band's lineup seemed like a nice choice since the saxophone did add a slight Jazz Rock feel to Camel's overall sound while Sinclair's vocals reminded me of his work with Caravan.

Everything really seemed great until the final moments of Echoes and I even began wondering whether this was one of those underrated albums that people dismissed for no apparent reason. Unfortunately Wing And Prayer brought the songwriting quality down a few notches with its basic structure that can't be called anything but a bland pop song. The quirky Down On The Farm brought the album back to relatively interesting level saved entirely by Richard Sinclair's beautiful vocal delivery while the subtile ballad called Starlight Ride once again raised my hopes up.

It turned out that all the negative reviews were quite right in the end since the disco sounding Summer Lightening really made me lose all faith in this album. Little did I know, things were actually going to get worse with You Make Me Smile and even if The Sleeper had a few interesting moments, it made little impact in the long run. Rainbow's End is another ballad that does remind me a lot of Starlight Ride and I'll definitely take four more of these nice tunes instead of the commercial disasters that I've experienced throughout this release. Breathless is a proper title for this album since it certainly runs out of breath towards the second half and never recovers from that disaster. I'm sure that there are fans who would enjoy this album, if only for Richard Sinclair's participation, which is why I give it a collectors/fans only rating.

***** star songs: Echoes (7:20)

**** star songs: Breathless (4:20) Down On The Farm (4:20) Starlight Ride (3:26) Rainbow's End (3:06)

*** star songs: Wing And Prayer (4:44) The Sleeper (7:07)

** star songs: Summer Lightening (6:03) You Make Me Smile (4:19)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#296612)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is 5-star CAMEL !

As of now, the rating of this album on this site is 3.01 which draws my attention. Actually, I can understand why this album was not appreciated when it was released, but if you listen now, I believe that many prog fans will like the sound as it has a good balance between traditional or original CAMEL taste and new path where the band proceeded later

"Breathless" - excellent pop melody and warmful voice of Richard Sinclair "Echoes" - needless to say, one of the best 3 songs of the band, true prog classic "Wing and Prayer" - you can feel the "breeze" as if you are walking under sunshine "Down on the farm" - great pop song like Beatles + Caravan "Starlight ride" - you now feel like being under stars and moon "Summer Lightning" - the killer tune of this album, longer guitar solo than expected, great ! "You make me smile" - Rupert Holmes ? nice pop song but keyboard is the prog "The sleeper" - you will be amazed after 1:36 by Brand X like jazz taste, Mel Collins ! "Rainbow's end" - heartwarm ballad, but it makes you desire to re-start the album

As stated above, this is definitely 5-star album

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Send comments to Katsuhisa (BETA) | Report this review (#307646)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Camel - Breathless (1978)

When reading a new review on this album I suddenly realized I haven't written one myself on this debatable Camel-album. I know the album is generally seen as one of the weakest of the band, and there's a good reason for this.

First of all.

This album has little progressive undertones, which is a pity. The second track, Echoes, is however one of Camel's best long tracks. The instrumental parts are all very good, the combination of the heroic guitar themes and the superb bass-lines is a blessing. Other tracks are often poppy, ballad-like or a Canterbury-styled with soft jazz undertones. Even disco influences can be found in one song.

Secondly.

This album has quality. Ok, the prog heydays are over, but Camel remains a good band in this stage. The quality can't be found in technical achievements (except for the great solo's of Latimer), it can't be found in harmonically challenging composition, but it's there. Some of the songs like Rainbow's End, Breathless and Starlight Ride are really charged with emotional energy. All stand out as memorable songs with beautiful song-writing. Some other tracks are downright poppy, like the positive Wing and Prayer (it does make me smile) and You make me smile. Still, once I've accepted this is just another band then years earlier, I think it's at least good pop. Summer Lightening has disco influences, but acceptable song-writing and a perfect extended guitar solo. Down on the Farm is a funny track with a progressive intro and a poppy lyrical theme which is accompanied with sounds that fit with the lyrics. The Sleeper is an instrumental with interesting jazz-influences and a wind-section by Collins.

Conclusion

Perhaps this is not an excellent Camel album, but It can carry you away with it's positive, emotional and sometimes feel-good mood. It somehow just works. When the record is finished (after Rainbow's End) I just feel happy and peaceful. Let this be your motivation to buy this record and don't expect to much of it. If you like the poppy side of Canterbury, this could also be a good addition to your collection. I'm giving it three stars, but I sympathize with those who rated this album higher due to it's emotional value.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#307660)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars One thing this album has is variety! There are a lot of different styles and each song is different from the next. There are poppier songs on here too but there's something catchy about them and it's somehow hard to compare the style to anyone else. I must say that not all pop is bad and there's a nice bit of songwriting going on. I feel that some other proggers were jolly unfair to call it a poor album. It isn't perfect either but it's best to keep an open mind to something different whilst listening to "Breathless".

It all starts off gently with the title track which is especially melodic in the middle part. "Echoes" is an eye-opener and one of Camel's finest proggier compositions. "Wing and Prayer" (with a pleasant intelude) and "You Make me Smile" are also real charmers for me.

I wasn't sure about "Down On the Farm" at first but now I find it rather quirky and amusing. It sounds a lot like a kids song until he sings a line about sneaking off into the woods with a barmaid! "Starlight Ride" is a very relaxing, beautiful track and one of my favourites. I was never that keen on the disco sound of "Summer Lightening" which was typical of the late 70's, but it's not at all bad. What about the guitar solo towards the end? Great stuff. Things turn jazzier with "The Sleeper" and "Rainbow's End" provides a nice, subtle ending.

Overall, this is quite a good album. One might find it uplifing as I did. It was actually one of the first Camel albums I heard, but maybe it's not the best to start with. It's charming, interesting and enjoyable at regular intervals.

3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#308643)
Posted Saturday, November 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars With Rain Dances Camel had started their so called second form which included Richard Sinclair on bass instead of Doug Ferguson. Rain Dances was indeed an excellent album and the success Camel gained especially on the Rain Dances-tour was bigger than expected because of the punk/disco explosion.

On Breathless you can hear a couple of attempts for a hit single but you can also hear jazzy beats and proggy melodies and harmonies.

1.Breathless is one of the two Caravan-inspired songs on the album. It sounds poppy but still evolves into a nice progrock song. Especially nice is the oboe and with Richard Sinclairs voice Breathless gets a whimsy quality. One star falls out because of the "hit-single quality" in it. 4 stars

2.Echoes: Here we have what is one of the best songs Camel has ever published. Excellent melody with a lot of character. Inventive like a good prog-song should be, Echoes carries the listening pleasure from the beginning to the end. The bass-lines are excellent and the drum beat is one of the best. Whats also remarkable is that we hear the vocal part of the song at 4 minutes for the first time. 5 stars

3.A Wing and a Prayer is a nice song but the concept is honestly said too pop-oriented for me. The Vocals are nicely build but the synth-melody which just goes and goes on could be a bit more imaginary. Still there are nice flute and oboe interludes. 3.5 stars

4.Down On The Farm is the second of the two Caravan-inspired songs although it sounds more like Hatfield and the North than Caravan but anyways its still a Richard Sinclair solo-attempt. Well the song is a joke both in the music and (especially) lyrics-department. Still I like this song very much. 4 stars

5.Starlight Ride: What is this suppoused to be? This could be the worst song on the album. Sure Starlight Ride has quality but there is just no imagination. Well..something is rescued thanks to the complexity in the melody part. Luckily this song didn't get played live. 2 stars (barely)

6.Summer Lightning is much better than Starlight Ride and has also more character. Although it contains a disco-beat I dont like, Sinclairs singing saves a lot. There are also excellent solos by Latimer and Bardens. If the song could only evolve a bit more ... 3.5 stars

7.You make me Smile: Another disco-beat-song with nice solos. The vocals are only worse. This is almost as bad as Starlight Ride. 2.5 stars

8. The Sleeper: FINALLY a song that can compete with Echoes. The Sleeper starts with a mellow prology which Latimer has said was inspired by the seagulls at the studios in Wales where this album was recorded. After the prology the main-theme starts with some excellent drumming by Ward. The beat is more jazzy than in Echoes. Between we hear excellently played solo parts by Collins and Sinclairs bass is also at its best. There is also a nice guitar-solo by Latimer. The song ends in an extended version of the main theme which gives an eargasm to everyone who hears it. Like Echoes this is one of Camels best songs ever. 5 stars

9. Rainbows End: Why, OH WHY didn't they end the album with The Sleeper? This song is just a better version of Starlight Ride. This was also (sadly) the single from the Breathless album. 2.5 stars

Thanks to Echoes and The Sleeper this album gets 4 stars.

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Send comments to BrainStillLife (BETA) | Report this review (#350044)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars What to rate this album was very difficult for me personally. I can only pick full numbers, but if I could I would give this album three-and-a-half stars. Breathless is the final album to feature late keyboardist Peter Bardens (although he did appear on The Single Factor) because of tension inside the band. Breathless is also where Camel began their slippery slope into the realms of pop, like other prog bands of the 70s (like Yes and Genesis). The results of prog bands experimenting with pop were either interesting or terrible. Camel somehow manages to fit neatly into the middle.

The title track and You Make me Smile are the one's that worked well. Both of them are short and poppy, yet they maintain the traditional Camel sound. Latimer's flute graces the title track and a thick bass dominates You Make me Smile. However, on the flip side is Wing and a Prayer and Down on the Farm. Wing and a Prayer is just a boring song trying to be a pop hit while Down on the Farm features some rather.... quirky lyrics. You either love the lyrics or hate them. Personally, I don't like them, and the musical sections are not memorable either.

The two songs Starlight Ride and Summer Lightning are rather interesting to me. The former is a short symphonic piece with a classical feel and the later can be best described as "prog- disco". Both of these songs are neither bad nor excellent, their just interesting.

However, this album possesses three crowning jewels that make this album necessary for Camel fans: Echoes, The Sleeper, and Rainbow's End. Echoes can be best described as a culmination of everything Camel's done on their past albums. It is truly one of their best songs. The Sleeper (the first Camel song I ever listened to) starts with an opening that gives you a dreamy, drifting feeling and then becomes an jazz-rock/fusion piece. Rainbow's End closes the album in the traditional Camel sound.

Breathless is an album that is incredibly difficult to rate. While any prog fan will enjoy Echoes, The Sleeper, and Rainbow's End, the other songs are up to debate. However, it is worth it for those three songs, trust me on this one.

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Send comments to thesleeper72 (BETA) | Report this review (#368411)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm not quite sure why I got this album, but I don't regret having it, and that's a good start. Breathless is surely Camel's most inconsistent album up to that point. The bad stuff is truly dire, and the good stuff is progtastic! Given it's release date (1978), Camel were doing quite well, as this was the year that also brought us 'Tormato' and 'Love Beach' (though applause must be given to Rush for giving us 'Hemispheres' that year). If you can't stand commercial sounds, you might want turn away now, as this album was choc full of cheesy pop tunes, some better than others.

The title track Breathless opens the album on a remarkably poppy note. It's not a bad song, but it's quite predictable and quite tame.

Echoes is fanastic. You can easily forget your listening to a poppy record when you hear this. The guitar at the very beginning is fantastic, and it sounds like it's going to lead into a verse. But it doesn't. Instead we continue on this extremely exciting musical journey, with breakneck technical playing by the band. The peice changes moods several times, and you think this might just be one of the best Camel instrumentals you've heard. But no! At 4:09, the lyrics of the song begin. This means that the intro lasted over half of the song. Brilliant! I have to say, the rest of the song isn't quite on par with the beginning, but it plays out quite well. This doesn't matter though as I am truly impressed with this song, and just knowing that fantastic track is there makes the album worthwhile.

Armed with Echoes, we now charge forth into Wing and a Prayer. Oh god, this song is cheesy! The lyrics, the melody, the instruments, everything is so cheesy. And I love every second of it! Maybe it's just a guilty pleasure, but this song just really strikes a chord with me! The beautiful production of this album is definitely a contributing factor, as the clarity of the instruments is very appealing. Love it!

The fun doesn't stop! Down on the Farm is one of those pop songs which has something distinctive to make it stand out, much like Yes's Leave It. The distinctive thing in this song is Sinclair's fast paced humourous lyrics about farm life, and the sound effects to go with it. It might be gimmicky, and seems like Caravan meets The Wurzels, but this track is very charming. Those lyrics, which aren't at all cryptic are a nice change from most prog lyrics. It's a very fun track indeed.

Starlight Ride is also very cheesy, but not in such a good way. There is a slightly classical feel to the interludes between verses, which is interesting on close inspection, and the melody is nice enough, but that's about as much as I can say about this track.

When Summer Lightning starts, it takes on a disco feel. While this is a little cringeworthy, all is not lost! You'd better believe it when I say that the final THREE MINUTES of this song are devoted to a Latimer guitar solo. Boy, can he play his instrument. Not a terrible song at all, but I preferred Down on the Farm.

You Make Me Smile is a very cute song indeed. With verses in 3/4 it's also a little odd, but still an enjoyable poppy track.

Hold on, we're near the end a Camel album, but it feels like we're missing something. Do you know what it is? That's right, an instrumental! Camel's obligatory instrumental The Sleeper is quite a complex proggy workout indeed, and very enjoyable to hear after so much pop! There are fantastic time signature changes, and great musicianship on all parts.

Last AND least, comes Rainbow's End. The singing on this track is horrible, and the melody doesn't have much substance to it. We leave the album with a slightly sour taste.

After writing this review, I've found that I enjoyed that album a lot more than I thought I did before. This is actually better stuff than 'Rain Dances' to be honest. 'Rain Dances' has a heavier and more serious feel to it, with it's five instrumental tracks, and I just don't find them good enough. With 'Breathless' everything is far less serious, and the pop stuff can be quite good, not to mention the incredible Echoes. I'd give this a good 7/10, as it really isn't bad at all. Unfortunately though, this is my final installment in my list of Camel reviews (for now anyway). Maybe one day, I'll feel rich enough to fork out for 'I Can See Your House From Here', but until then, I have better albums to spend my cash on.

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#430555)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Most Camel fans seem to have a tendency to shrug this album as being of lesser quality than their earlier releases, but I don't agree. This album is different in that it utilizes a more polished and radio friendly sound with a stronger presence of vocals, has all the classic Camel properties that were so readily apparent on previous releases. Richard Sinclair often provides bass and vocals on this record, which gives them even more of a Caravan feel. The songs on this album are individually less progressive than classic Camel tracks, but "Echoes" is a great song that has become one of their most popular and includes many spacey changes, and "Down on the Farm" is a favorite of mine with it's goofy lyrics and bouncy playing (this song especially sounds like a Caravan reject).

Though many people disregard this Camel album as being great, I definitely think it is. It's a bit more commercial and radio friendly, but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. I highly recommend this to Camel fans with an open mind and Canterbury scene fans alike.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431077)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you are as likely to spin a pop or jazz or r&b record as a progressive record, I think this is the album for you. For me, the songs blend seamlessly, touching on prog, pop, jazz, even disco and new wave themes. The opener is a pastoral pop selection with jangling guitars and a lovely soundscape. Then the album kicks into overdrive with the proggish "Echoes" and my favorite song on the record, "Wing and a Prayer". Next, it's "Down on the Farm" with it's Who-ish opening and killer refrain that I can hum all day long. The only thing I don't like about this song is that is makes a farm seem all grins and gaffs, and being a Winsconsinite I know it's backbreaking, arduous, 24 hour 365 day work. No farmer I know slips down to the tavern for a pint at lunchtime and then nails the barmaid in the woods.

At any rate, the second side is almost as strong as the first, the highlights (for me) being the prog/dance "Summer Lightning" and "You Make Me Smile", which almost sounds like an Alan Parsons or Roxy Music outtake.

All in all, I'd say it's not for traditional progsters, but I love it. You can have your Mirage and Moonmadness, I'll take Richard Sinclair's familiar voice and the pop stylings of "Breathless".

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Send comments to Suedevanshoe (BETA) | Report this review (#471329)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Breathless is a step up from Rain Dances, but still finds Camel in an awkward transitional state - this time including some truly misguided ventures into disco and funk in the form of Summer Lightning and You Make Me Smile. There's decent instrumental work on some tracks, such as Echoes, but nothing lovers of Camel's earlier albums have heard before, and whilst songs like Down On the Farm recall the lighter, more comedic songs from Richard Sinclair's tenure in Caravan, it's also clearly inferior to them.

On the whole, I'd say the first half of this album is a notch better than Rain Dances, but the second half is just as muddled and confused as its predecessor, if not more so. A shame, because in its better moments the album threatens to become one of those intriguing "missing link" albums between golden age symphonic prog and early neo-prog, but the band don't commit to any one style for long enough to accomplish this.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#559677)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars 1978. When record executives filled with white powder mistook their ability to hobnob with celebrities, while raking in millions from fans of cheaply produced punk and disco, as a sign of genius. So the edict was passed down: complex, challenging music must be ridiculed, and eradicated from the major labels.

Don't get me wrong, Camel on this album did keep a small amount of their prog roots, more than I have sometimes accepted by other artists as a member of the Crossover team. But up against any of their previous albums, this one is a disappointment.

The greater involvement of Richard Sinclair adds more of a Canterbury feel, and Mel Collins, of course, brings some elegance to the wind and reed parts, but with one exception, the songs are a too laden with simplistic, forgettable composition, and unremarkable lyrics.

The nadir is Summer Lightening, which might have been tolerable had they not had Andy Ward back the song with an insipid drumbeat, popularly known in those days as "the disco suck".

The one bright spot is The Sleeper, the only throwback to the band's glory days. A great track, a good reason for the prog fan to pick up a copy of the album, but only at a very good price.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#1193366)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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