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Camel - I Can See Your House From Here CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars Slip-sliding away a long slope (downwards unfortunately). I must say that the times for such a band were not easy and they were also uninspired by what lay ahead of them. The longer number (Ice ) is not really helping the overall feeling of wasting the listener's time. Some of these numbers are excruciatingly bad and resemble some new wave dung being developped at the times . This dud is also another reason why I think that Kit Watkins (ex-Happy The Man) is one of the most over-rated KB player in Prog History.

Unworthy stuff - I am leniant enough not to give it a zero star rating.

Report this review (#2343)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record shows the passage between original CAMEL and the new CAMEL of the 80's. Richard Sinclair and Pete Bardens have left the group, so it is normal that music changes too. But when you realize that they hired the marvelous Kit Watkins on keyboards (HAPPY THE MAN), you do not feel doubtful at all. I must admit that some songs are not extremely good ("Wait", "Neon Magic", "Remote Romance"), but they are certainly not bad. Actually, no songs are bad; some are even funny, never monotonous and surprisingly full of changing patterns. It is almost pop progressive.

At least, the prog purist should like the 2 masterpieces onto which Kit Watkins plays the keyboards (there is another keyboard player who plays on some worse tracks): "Eye of the Storm" and "Ice". "Ice" is a perfect progression of tender electric guitars and keyboards in a very sentimental mood: more than 10 minutes! "Eye of the Storm" is a beautiful relaxing track full of symphonic keyboards, melodic flute, undefined string instrument notes and delightful fretless bass.

Report this review (#2347)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The troll under the bridge would let out a loud "harumph" each time some passerby would call this CAMEL's best album. "Philistines", he'd mutter, unaccustomed to work. Give 'em the Spiegel gift certificate because for them the curtain is too terrible to contemplate. Until one day, while listening to this album, smoothing out a fresh piece of paper with his hand to catalog what would surely be its forthcoming shortcomings, the troll caught sight of his own reflection in the water. And the face he saw smiled back at him, wading in the pleasurable moment of "Wait", the song's kinetic energy unleashed in giddy little wavelets.

And thus we come to our moral prematurely: that a treasure can be buried by an otherwise invisible bias. My loyalty to an old "Mirage" prevents me from crowning "I Can See Your House From Here", and common sense tells me that I should save my breath for such things until hearing "Breathless". Yet I can see where some listeners would champion this album. Andy Latimer's guitar work is inspired, and CAMEL's gifts have seldom been so succinctly packaged. It's a different chapter than the original foursome's smoke-borne flotsam, but not unlike "Rain Dances" seen on a brighter day. With three new members (plus the immovable Andys), CAMEL's allegiance to the old Gods was negated, freeing them to pursue ALAN PARSONS PROJECT in a mix of vocals and instrumentals more suited to short attention spans.

In that context, "I Can See Your House From Here" is a triumph, prescient in some spots ("Wait" is about gambling, the theme for APP's next album), tuneful at every turn, made approachable by a newfound sense of humor, and possessed of some lovely instrumentals ("Ice", "Eye of the Storm"). That CAMEL didn't ride off into the sunset of commercial success after this is not a reflection on the music, but on the fact that they hadn't built up a brand for this sort of thing. Old fans, trolls the lot of us, might cringe to see CAMEL's strong backbone carry such a commercial load, clinging to the familiar "Hymn To Her" with a sigh of what might have been. But on this day, in this moment, I can see the wonder of it all, and it's a wonder I didn't see it before.

Report this review (#2348)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Commercial yes, slipping down a dangerous slope, definitely not! Wait and Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine are perhaps their most successful commercial tracks and they had a great blend personnel wise. OK Andy Ward departed for personal reasons and we even had Phil Collins contributing on drums. Let us not forget his incredible influence with Genesis and Brand X. I like this album a lot even the light relief of Neon Magic. Ice still one of their most popular pieces with a loyal fan base.Survival and Hymn to Her probably the strongest songs alongside Ice.Is it progressive, probably not bit nor were Renaissance, Steve Hillage or Caravan at that time. The late seventies were so challenging and that is what makes albums like this so enjoyable. Camel survived and continued to creat great music.
Report this review (#2331)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is an interesting fact : most Camel fans think "little" of this record. Not me. It has been one of my "Got to Have" albums since I first went through it, back in the seventies. And it still sounds very, very up-to-date, nearly twenty five years after its release. Some of the songs, like the first four (the A side of the vinil record), still make me have the goose bumps every time I listen to them... It mixes what I like the most in Prog Rock : beautiful melodies and superb playing skills. It compairs to the best albums of Yes, Genesis, Renaissance, Focus or PFM. You should give it a try.
Report this review (#2334)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars How can so many people not like this album ? I'll agree on the fact that "wait" and "your love is stranger than mine" are pop tracks, but a good attempt at commercial prog, without being too disappointing. "Eye of the Storm" is simply a breathtaking track that makes me shiver each time I hear it. It is followed by the the beutiful "who we are" which has a very nice feeling. "survival" leads us into "hymn to her" which has a very Genesis feel to it. I won't complain about this being an ultimate genesis fan. I'll agree on the fact that the two next tracks are probably the weak point of the album, but not so bad to skip them...and then....the final track "ice" gives the final perfect touch to this great album. This is the kind of track that makes you want to cry when you hear it, so wonderful, so magic...This album I find much closer to "Moonmadness" in quality than "rain dances", "breathless", 'nude" or "the single factor". I don't understad why some people have given it such a harsh rating, but I suggest to anyone who hasn't discovered it beacuse of its low rating to reconsider least give it a try, I'm sure some people will understand me!
Report this review (#2336)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first Camel album I heard and it got me into the rest of the band's discography, so I have a special soft spot for it. I agree it has a few weak spots but it still sends enough shivers up my spine for a 4 star rating. I think that the first side is a "must have" and that Ice compares well to any of Latimer's best work elsewhere.
Report this review (#2337)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Camel album (from the lousy prog year 1979) divides opinions strongly; there are both five-star and zero-star reviews here. Since it has some stupid fillers - 'Remote Romance' and 'Your Love is Stranger Than Mine' - and it sounds different with yet another line-up, it was at first easy to consider it clearly worse than previous Camels. But after enjoying Camel for about 15 years this one hasn't lost its glory either. It is quite uneven, but so are most Camels, including Snow Goose which usually is regarded as the masterpiece. And compared to Breathless ('78) there is a fresh step forward. I can imagine if Camel had continued with Mel Collins and R. Sinclair, it had started to repeat itself boringly. Kit Watkins fits in greatly with his juicy keyboard style, while Andy Latimer is still the strong captain. (His flute is unfortunately nearly absent this time, but the guitar+keyboard interplay is remarkably powerful.) 'Who We Are' and 'Ice' alone make this worthy, them being among my favourite Camel tracks. I prefer this album to its follower Nude which suffers from its concept - I mean the story has taken some energy from composing the music itself. ----- Interesting cover picture: reminds me of Quiet Zone (VDG). Is there some message in the picture and in the title? ("The Lord said Peter, I can see your house from here..." - Roger Waters)
Report this review (#2352)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This Camel album is the perfect example how a record could divide the opinions in listeners. Ok: taste and sensibility is personal and should not be criticized. But anyway put your ears on something else of Camel if you like this group ! They played a lot of great music in the past as in their first four albums, that made I Can See Your House From Here a very, very poor stuff. All the songs in this album are very commercial, with the exception of a true gem: Ice. This is really as the Camel music was and should be ! Great guitar work by Latimer, beautiful keys solo, incredibly suggestion in atmoshere and feeling. Ice is the only reason why this record take my 1 star rating. The rest is only rubbish.... And i say this beacuse i know that if they, want Camel are able to compose and play great music indeed. And not only in the '70s golden era. Listen to Rajaz or Nod and the wink or Harbour of tears and you will find enormous difference (in better) in comparison to I Can See Your House From Here. The suggestion to listen to the first works of this storical prog group is obviously for younger people that only now are approaching this genre.....for old prog-fan is natural to consider the '70s as the only and true storical moment of Camel to listen to in the same way as for others great prog super-bands. Bye.
Report this review (#2353)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars As far I'm concerned, this is where it went badly wrong for Camel. Sure the preceeding year's Breathless showed a distinct shift towards a more commercial style, but that album still contained many fine melodic songs like Echoes, Starlight Ride, Rainbow's End and the title track, and it remains a personal favourite. On this 1979 album however, Camel is often insipid and tuneless, with very little of group's established strengths showing through.

Of course one could lay the blame for this on the line-up changes that preceeded this album. Bassist Richard Sinclair had exited to be replaced by Colin Bass and far more importantly keyboardist Peter Bardens had also gotten off the Camel train. Yet his replacements were ex-Happy The Man keyboardist Kit Watkins and former Caravan ivory-tinkler Jan Schelhaas, so with this twin keyboard line-up there was no reason to fear the worst. Unfortunately the worst is just about what happened.

Half this album contains dreary, shorter pop songs that lack the melodic charm of Breathless' pop moments. These include truly awful tunes like Remote Romance (which has a plastic synthetic quality that seems to foreshadow 80s synth-pop), Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine and Neon Magic (which has some of the worst Camel vocals ever!). Despite Camel containing a number of great instrumentalists (and guest musicians Mel Collins and Phil Collins lending a hand as well) there aren't anywhere as many decent instrumental segments on this album as one would expect. I'd have to point to the admittedly excellent keyboard solos during wait (an otherwise frustrating song) and Watkins' orchestra-boosted instrumental Eye Of The Storm as being the main highlights here. And of course, there's Ice.

You may have heard decent things elsewhere about the two lengthy pieces Who We Are and Ice, but I'm not fully convinced by either. Who We Are has some classic Camel hallmarks with a bustling intro, atmospheric keyboards, seductive flute lines and that clean Andy Latimer guitar sound and yet it doesn't quite do the business for me. Like another shorter track Hymn To Her, it suffers from a lack of direction and certain critical ingredients that would turn it into a winning Camel classic. Ice starts off with a beautiful sparse guitar intro before evolving into a haunting, almost sombre Latimer epic solo before fading back out for another beautiful outro. It probably doesn't go enough places for a 10 minute prog piece, but still has that affecting melancholy one expects from Camel.

There are a few times during this album when it's tempting to pretend that Latimer and friends are still on song, but the truth is that something great ended the moment Peter Bardens walked out the door. I have the strange habit of returning to Breathless and playing its closing track Rainbow's End everytime I finish listening to this album, which is a sure-fire way of bringing a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. ... 36% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#2356)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The rating "****" is described as "An excellent addtion to any prog music collection," and thats exactly what this album is. Not "An essential addtion to any prog music collection," just "An excellent addtion to any prog music collection." This album is at times proggish on tracks such as Ice and Eye Of The Storm, somtimes more AOR-ish (not nessecarily a bad thing!), such as the first half of "Who We Are," and always slightly popish, but but in a good way. This album has a very 70s feel to it, and seems like for the most part it would be an excellent love-making soundtrack. Never having heard any other Camel albums, I cannot compare it to anything else by them, but it seems like a fine album to me.
Report this review (#2357)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The eighth work of announcement in 1979 "I Can See Your House from Here". It is CAMEL sound in which it is not allowed that the member is felt to change. Work of content accepted to rock lover and pop fan. The drama of music has risen. There is a tune to feel a new style that hints the future like the title number, too. Masterpiece with which charm of CAMEL is fully. "Ice" is a masterpiece once that should be listened.
Report this review (#43758)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars "I Can See..." is not a bad album but it doesn't reach the standards of Camel's masterpieces ("Mirage", "The Snow Goose", "Moonmadness"). There's some great playing (just listen to Latimer's work in "Ice" or in "Hymn to Her") but in general it's an attempt to be commercial which wasn't musically succesful at all. There are at least 3 songs ("Your Love is Stranger...", "Neon Magic" and "Remote Control") that are among the worst ever written by any prog band. Two years before the had released "Rain Dances", a fantastic album, which is one of my favourite 5 Camel albums. If you are not a Camel fan, you shouldn't get "I Can See..." until you've got all the rest (please, avoid "The Single Factor" as well!)
Report this review (#44847)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I Can See Your House From Here, like the predecessor, is more a simple collection of songs than a concept package. Sadly, here we assist to the Pete Bardens departure's consequences and see the arrival of another ex-Caravan Jan Schelhaas. Anyway, Camel never made bad albums and also for this one I repeat it! Ok it's even more pop than the previous Breathless (one of my preferite!), but here we talk about progressively pop! Ice and Who We Are are truly very good but also the other more commercial ones are all well arranged and elaborated.

P.S. There's also tha guest appearence and contribution of Phil Collins on percussion.

Good: not their best, not essential, but good without any doubt.

Report this review (#45099)
Posted Thursday, September 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Camel's eighth studio album and nineth overall. It is 46 minutes long. Peter Bardens has left the group and is replaced by Jan Schelhaas from Caravan and Kit Watkins. Richard Sinclair has also left the group after a two album stint and is replaced by Colin Bass. . Like most progressive rock acts at the time, Camel was trying to evolve their music to fit in with the latest musical styles and score big.

1. Wait - very commercial song with interesting twists . 3/5

2. Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine - 3,5/5

3. Eye Of The Storm - is a very smooth piece of instrumental character with Mini Moog, with military rhythms. 4/5

4. Who We Are - It is a reminiscent ballad easy to listen. 3,5/5

5. Survival - a sad and very brief instrumental piece 3,5/5

6. Hymn Ho Her - is one of the most solid and expressive themes. Drawn with elusive atmosphere and interesting rhythmical metamorphosis.4/5

7. Neon Magic - It promises with a surprising character typically commercial. 4/5

8. Remote Romance - very pop dance tune...1/5

9. Ice - is the crown's jewel and justifies by itself the buy of this CD.. The fortunate combination between guitar an piano announces the main theme. a crying lament exquisitely phrased in a quiet mood. The guitar will take the leadership and draw a slender musical ellipsis which will finish in a very intriguing melody. Excellent track. 5/5

Final Note : There is much to appreciate here if you are a fan of Camel, or even a fan of other bands such as The Moody Blues, Barclay James Harvest, or The Alan Parsons Project, who often walk that musical line between progressive rock and Beatle pop.

3+3,5+4+3,5+3,5+4+4+1+5 = 31,5

31,5 : 9 = 3,5

Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Curiosity : Andy Latimer: "I can see your house from here... was meant to be called 'Endangered Species'. I was out voted [sic] by the rest of the band [...] who wanted to be humorous."

Report this review (#54742)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars It seemed like a good idea at the time

The first challenge here is to get past the questionable taste of the sleeve, which was intended to show that the band does in fact have a sense of humour. The title for the album was originally to be "Endangered species", but despite Andy Latimer's protestations he was overruled by the rest of the band, and both the name and the sleeve were changed.

With Peter Bardens having left the band before completion of the "Breathless" album, Andy Latimer had become the de-facto leader, keyboard duties being shared by Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins.

In terms of the contents, what we have here is actually a very enjoyable album. While many of the tracks find the band continuing to explore more commercial territories, the closing track is cited by many as the best Camel track of all. "Ice" is a 10 minute guitar instrumental recorded live in the studio, with Phil Collins guesting on percussion. Apparently Latimer played what he felt was a bum note at the beginning of his solo and wanted to re-record the track, but those present pursued him to leave it be. When you think about it, there really are far too few long, well developed lead guitar solos like this around. For those familiar with Camel's later "Nod and a wink" album, "Ice" resembles the final track "For today".

Looking at the rest of the album, "Wait" is rather weak for the opening track on a Camel album, devoid of the usual striking guitar and/or synth melody we have come to expect. It has a passing resemblance to some of the songs Russ Ballard wrote during his time with Argent.

"Who we are" is the other feature track. It starts as a jazz fusion piece along the lines of the Average White Band's "Cut the cake", with a distinctive theme which is developed and improvised upon. Later the introduction of vocals signals a complete change in the track, as it becomes a highly appealing ballad with building orchestration and some atmospheric flute. While the two distinct parts of the track do not sit particularly well together, the track as a whole is classic Camel.

There are a few pop based songs on the album, some of which work better than others. "Remote romance" is an awful song which serves only to show that Camel, or perhaps their record label, were becoming increasingly desperate to find a hit single. The track is 80's electronica in the mould of Devo, M, or Soft Cell. Even the lyrics are amusing because they're so bad! "Your love is stranger than mine" is as bad lyrically, but is more acceptable musically. It has a decent sax solo (by Mel Collins who appears as a guest on the album) and a bouncy, inoffensive feel.

The instrumental "Eye of the storm" is interesting in that it also appeared on Happy the Man's album "Better late", as keyboard player Kit Watkins had been a member of that band before joining Camel. It is thus a very rare example of Camel doing what is technically a cover version. "Hymn to her" manages to perpetuate the corny title syndrome the band manage to include on virtually every album, but the track itself has echoes of the "Moonmadness" era, with some good guitar work, and a pleasant melody.

In all, something of an underrated album in the Camel catalogue, with some symphonic prog, a little fusion, and some melodic pop. The album does have its flaws, but the track "Ice" renders the album essential for anyone who enjoys the music of this great band.

Report this review (#64413)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not one of thier best but still very Camel. "Prog rock" ???? Progresive yes,trying to replace Peter B took two good men to do :-) different to things gone before but still worth a good listening to.

10 min's and 10 sec's of PURE,absolute briliance.........."ICE" it's one of those, close the door, head phones on and crank it up tracks that everyone should be made to listen to at least twice.

Report this review (#69506)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Deception!

I'm sure this is the weakest Camel album from the 70`s, starting because it has a clear 80`s sound, you know, with lots of poppish passages, and simpler songs. Of course, if we have "Moonmadness", "Mirage" or "The Snow Goose" in our collection, we like Camel, and for that reason we want to know more about them , listen to other albums , because that albums are great, clear example of what progressive rock is, a clear example of complexity and beautiful symphonic music, etc. So I decided to buy this album , and I really expected something better, something more 70`s, I mean, more progressive, more Camel.

But well, sadly, this album is not good, is weak, let me say why. It starts with "Wait", from the first song, we can realize what is the direction of the album, Wait is an extraordinary pop hit, the song is completely pop, maybe we can remind some Styx and Kansas in their poppiest eras , this song was done to sing, not to enjoy the music, simple arrangements and nothing new to offer, so since the first song, we can imagine the next. "Your Love is Stranger than Mine", oh my god, well, nice bass and nothing more, I cant say anything more, I don't know, I don't like it at all, so pop, so simple, so bad. "Eye of the Storm", is a different track, it is instrumental, and it is not so bad, obviously an instrumental song is not commercial, it could be pop, but in this case it doesn't, one of the best points of the album, nice keyboards. "Who we Are", is a boring song, not so bad at all, its very mid tempo, it is like a soft ballad, boring in my opinion. "Survival", nice and simple instrumental song, good to listen to. "Hymn to Her", it has a very promising start, Latimer`s great guitar, remind me of some of their early albums, one of the most complex songs in the album, for me, the second best song, it is good, with some nice vocals and great keyboard atmosphere. "Neon Magic" another pop song at the beginning, then it changes to a bit progressive, not the worst yet! , the most of the time with keyboards and some nice sound, but it is boring too. "Remote Romance", I want to cry, what the hell were in their minds?, this song is completely horrible, I don't like it at all, in fact maybe it could be their worst song ever ( well, if you like pop and not symph Camel, then you will love it), it starts with keyboards and drums, but from the start we can imagine what's next, maybe a song to dance?, or to sing?, or to laugh?, it's funny in some ways, horrible!, the album is about to end, so what is the last song? "Ice": At Last, but, for what?... This is without a doubt the best track of this crappy album, but why this great song is here, maybe it is a waste of their previous works, and they decided to simply put this song in this pop album. Ice is an instrumental song, a very soft sound at the beginning, only guitars and some piano, then it is progressing, Latimer`s great guitar is alive , and progressive rock too, it could be maybe boring for you, after listen to 8 regular songs, you can be tired, but give a chance to Ice, because of this song, I wont give it only 1 star, this album has been one of the biggest disappointments I have had, but anyway, if you want you can get it. After all, I wont recommend it, download "Ice" if you want, because it is great, but the whole album don't.

So , sadly, im going to give it only 2 stars, for fans.

Report this review (#76830)
Posted Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars A sad example of the lack of direction Camel was suffering from at the time. Hymn to Her is very good and Ice is fantastic, but Neon Magic is total crap and Remote Romance is unbeliebably poor. What in the world were they thinking making that one? The rest of the album has pretty much failed to get me interested. Would be a lot better without the aforementioned stinkers.
Report this review (#87414)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The weakest Camel recording to date, still not completely bad, so nice for real fans to own and know that all was better, and all will be better again soon. The album is enjoyable for background sounds, and the created ambience is sweet and gentle.

I enjoy it somewhat, but that doesn't warrant more than 2 stars, actually 1,5 stars, for they should have done better. The closing track Ice is occasional on the radio in Holland, and when it is, I sit back and enjoy the music, so don't despair.

Only for collectors and fans I think.

Report this review (#93659)
Posted Saturday, October 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first Camel album without original keyboard player Pete Bardens and second bass player ex-Caravan Richard Sinclair, replaced by two keyboard players (Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins) and newcomer Colin Bass on bass (!!!), I Can See Your House From Here succeeds where Breathless had previously failed. The quality of the material here is undeniable, even though more poppy than their early outings. One can feel that everyone was going in the same direction this time around, which was not the case on Breathless, according to Latimer's comments in the liner notes of the Breathless reissue. Camel took the 80's curve well with ICSYHFH. It has a feel good vibe to it, and a genuine one at that.

First song 'Wait' is a good start for the album, very upbeat. I find the verse to be a bit weak, but that's about the only downfall to this otherwise good song. At times it reminds me a bit of Supertramp and Genesis around the same period. The instrumental section with the keyboard solos is great, sounding a bit like early Saga, which is the case a few times around on this album. I don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that both bands employed the same producer, Rupert Hine. Nice solo from Latimer ending the song in a fade-out.

'Your Love is Stranger Than Mine' takes the pop aspect of Camel a bit further, but done rather very well. This song is probably the one that sounds the most like Saga, at least in some parts (the keyboard theme mainly). Incredibly catchy tune. Nice vocal harmonies (yep, coming from Camel, that's no small feat), great sax solo courtesy of Mel Collins, and simple but effective percussion work from Phil Collins. Short, catchy, all the elements for a radio hit.

The Kit Watkins penned instrumental 'Eye of the Storm' is a great heartfelt instrumental, with great woodwinds work by M. Collins. Good fretless bass lines by Colin Bass. A Genesis influence can be heard here. Looking back now, this song shows clearly where Camel would go next, as this song could have easily been included on follow up magnum opus 'Nude'.

'Who we Are' is another very good song, once again reminiscent of Genesis (the guitar and keyboards sound as if Banks and Hackett around the ATOTT and WaW period, especially during the intro). Then comes a soft acoustic part graced with beautiful keyboards and another nice vocal melody courtesy of Latimer. The chorus can be compared to Supertramp, both vocally and musically, during the Even in the Quietest moments period. Nice string arrangments throughout the song. Love this song.

Speaking of string arrangments, next comes 'Survival', a strings only instrumental, beautifully written by Latimer and arranged and conducted by Simon Jeffes. Short, but inspiring.

'Hymn to Her' sounds like typical Camel, especially Latimer's guitar work, sounding a bit like something from The Snow Goose. Beautiful ballad, until 3 minutes and 10 seconds, when the song breaks into an upbeat instrumental section with great keyboard and guitar interplay, sounding like a cross between Genesis and Camel. Afterwards, the way they bring back the introduction theme is just brilliant. Another great song.

'Neon Magic', well is one of the two weakest tracks on this album. A comical number, which has at least the merit of being catchy if not very up to par with the rest of the album. Way better than 'Down on the Farm' from Breathless, in any case.

'Remote Romance' is the other less good track here, having a bit of a new wave flavor to it. Not a great track, but I enjoy it nonetheless.

Album closer 'Ice' is a Camel classic, a 10 minutes long instrumental showcasing magnificent guitar work by Latimer. Even those who don't like this album love this song.

As you can see I really enjoy this one, a lot more than predecessor Breathless. The production is good and the boys sound like they are having fun. I don't understand the bashing it gets. Different doesn't mean less interesting. In this case, it means fresh and revigorating. A solid four star release, an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#108804)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars A classic example of "what were they thinking???"

This album was not as big of shock to me since the previous one was pretty lame. I wasn't expecting great things, and with one exception I didn't get them. Most of this strikes me as sub par attempts at accessible pop material. There are some okay moments on a couple songs (Who We Are, Wait), but mostly this is just a big disappointment. And Remote Romance? I can appreciate that they were trying to be modern and perhaps even funny, but God this song is terrible. It gets my vote for worst Camel song EVER.

The one exception to all this disappointment is the outstanding guitar solo instrumental, Ice. A fantastic showcase for Latimers sublime lead playing. Unfortunately, this will not save the album from mediocrity, as this track probably wouldn't have stood out as much on their best albums. Still, it is good enough to get a star. The only one, in fact, that I can bring myself to give this album.

Report this review (#110853)
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Camel is still looking for a new style. Actually, as far as I am concerned, they will reach a good quality level again much later with "Dust & Dreams but that's another story.

Some major line-up changes for this album : exit Peter Bardens (a founding member) and Richard Sinclair. Richard suggested either his cousin or Jan Schelhaas both from Caravan to replace Bardens for the supporting tour. This rang the bell of Andrew who will say : "I suddenly thought using two keyboard players would be a great idea because we'd be able to do many more adventurous things. At one stage I did think of calling the band "Caramel" ! (hopefully he only thought of this) !

The use of Caravan members was rather a logical step : both groups were moving into similar circles. Both sounded very British. Andrew again : "I always wanted to keep the music very English because I didn't feel it was worth competing with the Americans. At one stage, Peter wanted us to be a Santana-type band" (it is true that some of their numbers do sound as Santana).

"Wait" is not a bad opener. At times, it seems that I am listening to the good old Camel again. With "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" we get the same poor pop / disco tune that were already available on the previous album. Dispensible and pointless. "Eye of the Storm" is a soft piece of music like they could have produced in their earlier days : it is enjoyable.

"Who We Are" brings us back to the crappy stuff while the transistion classical "Survival (1'12") could have been avoided as well.

"Hymn to Her" is above average (but that's not very difficult) : nice melody, good arrangements (vocals and instrumentals). Another bottom is reached with the next two songs "Neon Magic" and "Remote Romance" (level of "Breathless").

But of course, there is "Ice" : a brilliant Camel instrumental full of emotion and inspiration. Latimer's guitar work is fabulous. He probably reached here the emotional level of Hackett in "Firth of Fifth" or Carlos Santana in "Samba Pa' Ti or "Song Of The Wind. Over ten minutes of the best Camel ever and quite surprisingly on this album. AMAZING.

Although this album is not as poor as "Breathless", I would suggest you to avoid spending your money on this one, just for "Ice". Instead, you should get hold of their live "Camelitis" or "Rajaz tour in Chile" : there is a great version of this song (the comparison with Steve and Carlos is even stronger because this version will be more electric guitar-oriented). Both albums were available for reviews a little while ago, but apparently were withdrawn from this site. Too (semi-)bootleg related, I guess. So, to remain in the official catalogue, you'll have to stick with "The Paris Collection" and "Never Let Go" which both feature "Ice" as well.

Two stars.

Report this review (#110855)
Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album marked a number of firsts for Camel. It was of course their first album without founder Pete Bardens who had left the band the previous year. It was the first appearance of bass player Colin Bass who was to become such an important figure in Andy Latimer's future attempts to keep the band going. It contained the band's first, and thankfully last attempt at a disco number, and Latimer's first short composition for orchestra! It was also the first Camel album I bought as a new release - which I daresay is of considerably less significance in the history of the band.

Bardens' departure (along with Richard Sinclair who had shared bass and vocal duties in the previous two studio outings) and the inclusion of two keyboard players, Kit Watkins and Jan Schelhaas, to replace him, together with Bass's arrival and Latimer assuming the burden of the writing duties, meant that some change in sound was almost inevitable. The continuing tension between being faithful to their musical roots and the desire for the 'breakthrough' single can also be felt in this collection of nine pieces.

The album opens with 'Wait' - in many ways a statement of intent or taster for what is to come, a strong uptempo song with an instrumental break which gives both keyboard players some solo interplay, ending in a long guitar solo. 'Your love' is a shorter, more commercial sounding piece, followed by 'Eye', a Kit Watkins composed instrumental. 'Who we are' is a longer piece with more nice interplay from the keyboards, but I find the heavy orchestration bringing an unwelcome sweetness to the sound!

'Survival' sees the strings continuing on their own - and a nice minute it is too! 'Hymn to her' is a much stronger song with Latimer's guitar taking the lead on the theme, and with a nice change of pace midway. Noticably the orchestra has been left behind. 'Neon Magic' and 'Remote Romance' are hopelessly infected with the disco spirit of the age. 'Neon' is not a bad song as such, but the little quotation from the Snow Goose in the final seconds only serves to remind us how far this sound has wandered from classic Camel. I pass over Remote Romance. Though understandable in context, it is surely unarguably their worst song - by a long way!

And then from nowhere comes that classic Camel we almost feared forgotten. 'Ice' became a permanent fixture in the concert set list right to the end of Camel's touring life - and rightly so. A simple guitar melody introduced over acoustic piano is joined by the drums, and after a short keyboard interlude builds into the kind of classic guitar solo which Latimer has made his own. I've always felt the closing acoustic section was the one weakness of this track, and the fact that it is usually omitted when played live may add weight to that idea. But what a great way to end an album.

Despite its obvious weaknesses, this remains one of my favourite Camel albums. It presents us with a band clearly searching around for the right way forward, but despite the awkward moments they definitely live to fight another day.

Report this review (#116094)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Camel reinvents itself once again with this album produced by Rupert Hine, who produced Saga's commercial successes among others. His influence is especially shown in the tracks that dwell on the edge of the new wave genre, such as the infectious "Your Love is Stranger than Mine" and the even bouncier "Neon Magic". These songs would not be looked upon kindly by most prog fans, but the album does contain enough even for the discerning fan of the epic - "Survival/Hymn to Her" morphs from neo classical to a romantic ballad featuring a signature Latimer guitar line and Watkins' string synths. Even the vocals are strong here. "Wait" contains an instrumental break to die for, and the same can be said for the entire 10 minutes of "Ice", which is one of a handful of immortal Camel eminences. Not bad for an "off" album, eh?
Report this review (#120770)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars OK, I will give 1,5 stars only (but not two!) because "Ice" is sort of listenable instrumental that does not urge me to push the stop button on my player. But the rest of this album does exactly that! I don't see any point in making music like this one, on this pathetic record. One thing is wishing to make commercial or more accessible music to a wider audience; the other is to make bad music - and "I Can See Your House" IS the bad music. This is totally negligable album in CAMEL catalogue and it marks the end of the 1970s line- up of the band. Bardens and Sinclair are gone and it is clear that they somehow had kept the sound alltogether on the previous two, already mediocre, albums. Now, the introduction of New Wave-influenced sound with synthetic drums, unnecessary synthesizers and shallow songwriting only helped CAMEL sink to the bottom of prog rock. And they were largely to stay there until the 1990s...
Report this review (#124455)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Camel is one of my favorite bands of all time, I can find gold in almost every album. I like almost all of them, not just the famous symphonic ones from the 70's, much due to the talent of Andy Latimer. With that being said, I must admit that I don't like this one. The reason for me not giving it 1 star is because of Andy's performance in the last track. It wasn't hard reviewing this one really, as we have one great track, one good track, and a handful of crappy ones. The great one is "Ice", while the good one is "Hymn To Her".

I dunno what went wrong here, but I guess the influence of the coming 80's made them make some poor decisions concerning the direction of their music. What's kind of interesting, though, is that they managed to get somewhat back on track with the next one, "Nude", before they made another poor one, "The Single Factor". 2 stars.

Report this review (#137802)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A departure from their more symphonic roots? - yes, worthwhile? - yes.

In 'I Can See Your House From Here' CAMEL have done what so many of the great symphonic prog bands of the 70's did when the 80's dawned upon them and that is to move into more accessible synthesizer based pop territory but CAMEL really manages to come up with some great music here due in no small part to guitar wizard Andy Latimer, although it is plagued by a lot of lackluster and uninteresting material.

Wait is a fantastic song with an amazing guitar riff and a superb synth solo section which is in perfect contrast to the more poppy verses and choruses. Eye of the storm is a great symphonic instrumental song although a bit cheesy it's quiet peaceful. Hymn to Her is another highlight with a leviathan of an opening riff invoking images of standing on a mountain in triumph, the song then becomes a bit poppy but ends in fantastic fashion with some of CAMEL's trademark brand of symphonic prog that we all love from their previous albums. 'Ice' finishes of the album in great fashion with a very beautiful and peaceful instrumental.

As far as bad points of the album go there are quite a few that stick out, notably the more poppy songwriting that I've already touched upon several times. Songs like 'Remote Romance' are a bit of a joke really, and it's a good song just for laughing at because it's so bad, it's one of those vocoder laden synth based 'angular' 80's type pop songs (even though this was in '79) with lots of cheesy synth and sound effects. Who are we isn't much better, clocking in at nearly 8 minutes of soppy lovey-dovey pop. The symphonic songs don't really sound as cohesive as they did on previous albums either, this may be due to the production which is really quite thin and weak.

'I Can See Your House From Here' is a varied album from CAMEL, it's no where near as good as their earlier symphonic prog based efforts but it's still a decent album with some real highlights, there's just a few tracks you'll need to skip.

Report this review (#145906)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars See that guy on the cover? That is what should have happened to Andy Latimer after this record was dropped. However, not being much of a prophet, Andy remaind on the planet and actually managed to reconcile with prog rock fans a few years later. Howeverever, being somewhat of a prophet, I predicted this would happen! Sure, go ahead and say that I was alive at the time to really predict this. Maybe I was chronologically going through the groups releases without reading anything about them! How will you ever know!?

Anyway, this album is the nadir of Camel's output, comprised of extremely commerical songs, and mediocre ones at that. I don't care if it's PROG or not like some, but I do care if it's good, and this my acquaintances (at best) is not good. I don't want to get into how bad this is, but I'll say a few more words. The jazzy rockin' Camel makes a couple of cameos, and the final track "Ice" is a decent instrumental with some powerful guitar work, but those moments don't redeem this album in the least. The group has put out better instrumentals and better guitar solos and jazz-rock passages, and better everything before this album. At the very least, go with this album's predecessor, "Breathless," if you want to hear some decent Camel-goes-pop. This is an album to avoid.

As with many of the 70's symphonic prog bands, Camel decided to venture into pop territory for a bit, and as with many of the many 70's symphonic prog bands, they bombed. But unlike Genesis or Renaissance, the band recognized the error of their ways and started redeeming themselves as soon as their next record. Of course, they will never reach the heights of Moonmadness or Mirage, but at least they won't be ending with a streak of albums like Invisible Touch, We Can't Dance and Calling All Stations.

Report this review (#150737)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Bass plays bass!

I Can See Your House From Here introduced yet another new Camel line up. Richard and Dave Sinclair were no more and in came Colin Bass (a very suitable name for someone who plays bass!), Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins (ex-Happy The Man) both on keyboards. Mel Collins reappears as a guest on one track. Phil Collins also does guest performance on percussion (he is not related to Mel, though. Not as far as I know, anyway)! Colin Bass would stay in Camel even up till the present day and thus become, together with founding member Andy Latimer, one of the longest standing members of this great band. Bass was immediately allowed to sing lead vocals on a couple of tracks and even co-write one of the tracks with Schelhaas, Latimer and Andy Ward.

In some ways this album constituted a return to form after the disappointing and uncharacteristic Breathless album, but I Can See Your House From Here was by no means a return to the amazing form of Moonmadness. Still, there are some great moments here. Several tracks went on to become live favourites, including the wonderful 10 minute plus guitar-based instrumental Ice and the strong Hymn To Her with its very good and unexpected instrumental break. Wait is something of a Pop song that too was played live on more than one tour of the 80's. Eye Of The Storm is a very mellow instrumental that give diversity to the album. The almost eight minute Who We Are is also a very nice and mellow symphonic ballad with a classic Camel feel and a lovely acoustic guitar solo and flute lines despite a rather syrupy chorus. This song would have made Barclay James Harvest Proud.

There are, however, also some embarrassments on this album. Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine is a pure Pop song that does very little for me. But if you think that song is bad wait until you hear Remote Romance! This song is the worst Camel ever made; it is something of a New Wave/Synth Pop song! Even Richard Sinclair's awful Down On The Farm from the previous album is preferable over Remote Romance and that says a lot! Neon Magic is also not really fitting on a Camel album having a bit of a Punk/New Wave sound. They adapted a bit to the times on these two songs, but not generally so.

As I said, there are some great moments on this album, but it is very uneven. They don't seem to have known in what direction they wanted to go and pure Pop songs rub shoulders with Symphonic Prog and embarrassing New Wave influenced songs. The next album, Nude, would be a much more coherent Camel album that concentrated on Symphonic Prog revolving around a concept once more and better in every respect.

Recommended, but not essential unless you are a fan

Report this review (#178028)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I Can See Your House From Here is the seventh studio album from symphonic prog rockers Camel. Many consider this album to be a complete failure and therefore the rating is very low here on Prog Archives. Allthough I do understand those who are disappointed with this album, I´m one of the few who thinks it´s allright. It´s not excellent by any means but there are some good things here that I actually enjoy. Like most younger prog heads I bought this one as a collectors item in the nineties when I was purchasing Camel´s albums in used album stores. I listened to it one time and was majorly disappointed and it hasn´t left my shelf again until a couple of weeks ago when I decided it was time to review it.

The music is unmistakebly Camel. The simple yet melodic vocals, the funky drums from Andy Ward and the beutiful guitar leads from Andrew Latimer. All trademarks which is as present here as on any other Camel album. The big change has happened behind the keyboard as Peter Bardens has left the band and Jan Scelhaas ( formerly of Caravan) is the new man on that ( those) instrument(s). Jan has a very pleasant style not unlike the one of Peter Bardens and allthough I must admit that I am not keyboard wiz I really can´t hear much difference between the two. Richard Sinclair has also left the band and new bassist/ vocalist is Colin Bass.

What most people don´t like about I Can See Your House From Here is that the eighties AOR sound is beginning to enter Camel´s sound. Just listen to some of the choirs in the songs and of course the keyboard sounds that are used. I rather enjoy the eighties sounding keyboards but the AOR/ new wave trend isn´t that much to my liking either. It doesn´t destroy my listening pleasure though. At times Camel comes very close to sounding like Caravan but the two bands have always had a link.

I enjoy all songs on the album but there are some standout tracks. The opener Wait is an enjoyable yet very poppy vocal oriented song which can also be said about Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine. Who We Are starts out with a great instrumental part and a couple of minutes in the singing starts. It´s great to begin with but the chorus is hidious. Soak in strings and too commercial ( did anyone say Caravan?). There are also some enjoyable tracks near the end of the album in the humorous Remote Romance which is a very eighties sounding song. Ice ends the album in majestic style. A nice 10 minute long guitar solo track. It´s such a great song where Andrew Latimer really shines. It might be a bit too nice at times which means it borders easy listening but it´s still very beautiful. The other songs are also good.

The musicianship is excellent as usual.

The production is not as good as on the two previous albums but it´s still good.

I Can See Your House From Here isn´t exactly my favorite Camel album but I think it´s a good album and it deserves 3 stars. It´s a very eighties sounding album and some might have problems with that, so keep that in mind when you purchase this album so you don´t expect something that sounds like The Snow Goose or Moonmadness because this album sounds very different from those classic albums. Still enjoyable though.

Report this review (#180776)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the uneven "Breathless", which was the last Camel effort with Bardens on board, things got a bit better with the "I Can See Your House from Here" album. All in all, the final result didn't really get to the "excellent" spot, but it was just more than just good: very good, uneven still, and that is a relative shame, since the addition of two keyboardists such as Tom Schelhaas and Kit Watkins guaranteed a strong melodic presence in the material's arrangements. Andy Ward has begun to pursue a more concise swing, focusing on a rockier framework and letting go of the dominantly jazz-oriented grove that he had enthusiastically explored since the "Moon Madness" days. This makes sense with the sort of fluid dynamics that another newcomer, Colin Bass, brought to the electric bass. The album kicks off fine, with an example of catchy symphonic rock entitled 'Wait': this song's pop-friendly melodic development doesn't kill the power delivered on the alternating duels of Schelhaas and Watkins' Moog solos in the interlude and on Latimer's closing lead guitar. This one's better than most explicitly pleasant songs recorded by Yes or Genesis in the late 70s. but 'Your Love is Stranger than Mine' is not. This song succeeds at emulating the most trivial moments of the "Breathless" album, which in itself means an artistic misplacement. With a stronger set of arrangements and a fully instrumental development, this might as well been an effective prog piece with a lovely touch of lightness (a-la Sky, for instance). But no, arrangements had to be predictable and it had to bear trivial lyrics. The worst case scenario would have been an attempt to do techno-pop including vocoder. Wait! There is some of that in the album, as well! 'Remote Romance' is the name of this sort of pop-friendly atrocity: Watkins co-authored this song, so it's not Latimer's fault entirely. I won't comment on this one any further, but rather focus on the Watkins-penned instrumental 'Eye of the Storm'. Originally conceived as part of the third studio album that Happy the Man didn't manage to release at the time, this majestic exercise on ethereal moods does capture the freshness and inventiveness that the newcomers were capable of bringing on for the reshaping that Camel needed. Compared to the original version (resurfaced on the CD edition of HTM's "3rd"), this Camel rendition fulfills a more pompous atmosphere and displays a more compact rhythmic structure. 'Who We Are' is a delicious albeit not impressively brilliant mini-epic that finds the band attempting to bring a modern air to its symphonic core, succeeding partially at it. The orchestral coda 'Survival' kind of completes the atmosphere. I happen to enjoy 'Neon Lights' more than other reviewers apparently do: it's a fine up-tempo song with a slight connection to melodic hard rock in its main body and an eerie utilization of multiple keyboards in its interlude. I'm saving the album's two gems for last. 'Hymn to Her' is one of the loveliest Camel ballads ever: it kind of combines the evocative side of 'Air Born' and the romantic vibe 'The Snow Goose'. Watkins shines on brightly in the dynamic jazzed up interlude at doubling Latimer's soloing, and the introductory theme is simply priceless. The 10+ minute instrumental 'Ice' is the icing of this partially convincing cake (well, the icing is more convincing than the cake as a whole). The slow basic 3/4 motif (with inserted 5/4 breaks along the way) conveys a dreamy mood through its various sonorities, be it with the full band or guitar/piano soliloquies. The use of keyboard layers serves as a perfect bridge between the underlying keyboard harmonies and Latimer's emotionally charged leads. This track asks for an intimate climax, and so it happens. This sort of inspired conception and the sort of melodic elegance as comprised in 'Hymn to Her' and 'Eye of the Storm' are what this album should have been full of. Since it isn't, I rate "I Can See Your House from Here" with a 3.40 star grade.
Report this review (#184207)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Let's put this realease in the context of it's year: 1979.

This is one of the most dismal prog years on record. It's dominated by the remnants of UK split, with Bruford releasing One of a Kind and UK releasing Danger Money. Both of these are excellent albums and should definitely be in anybody's collection. Both contain a mix of mellow jazz and rock, with Bruford on the jazzier side and UK on the rockier side.

The only album that really compares to them in quality is Steve Hackett's masterpiece, Spectral Mornings. Again, this is an album every prog fan should own, with some of Steve's best work showcased.

After that, two Zappa albums that demonstrate his transition into the next decade. Sheik Yerbouti and the first part of Joe's Garage are also worthy additions to your collection from 1979.

After that, what is there? Stormwatch by Jethro Tull? The Steve Howe Album? Monolith by Kansas? Discovery by ELO? In Through the Out Door by Led Zeppelin?

Well, I'm here to tell you that I Can See Your House From Here beats all of those (although it's a close race with the underrated Led Zeppelin release.)

Sure Camel has turned poppier. In this they are ahead of their time, beating out Genesis's Duke by a year. But as with Duke, Camel's new sound is mostly acceptable to us prog fans. There are some great prog moments here, and the pop moments aren't that bad either.

Other people have hit this tune by tune, but Ice and the first four tracks should make prog fans very happy, while the fifth and sixth tracks should prove at least acceptable. Heck, even Remote Romance is an acceptable track if you remember the times. (It reminds me of Patrick Moraz's work on Time Code.)

This is not as good as the classic three album sequence from Mirage through Moonmadness. It is just as good as Raindances and better than Breathless. It is a bit better than Nude.

This is really an album on the cusp. It falls somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. If you don't like your prog with a strong pop element, this is 3 stars. If you like your prog with a strong pop element, this is 4 stars. What the heck. I like my prog with a strong pop element. I'd listen to this over Moonmadness on a good day. 4 stars for a controversial but rewarding album.

Report this review (#199829)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Two stars seems to be the perfect rating for this uneven record. Although I'd contend that listening to this album is not as unbearable as some of our more dramatic reviewers would insinuate, I cannot imagine a non-CAMEL fan enjoying it.

Most of the songs are pleasant to listen to, if a bit thin. The only painful track is Remote Romance - which I won't even dignify with an explanation. Suffice to say I simply deleted the track from my MP3 collection and my enjoyment of the album went up considerably. That being said, anyone who shut off this album after hearing Remote Romance would be sorely disappointed - Ice, the closing track, is a perfect compliment to Camel's wonderful longer suites such as Echoes and Lunar Sea. Ice features 10 minutes of Latimer's best and most emotional guitar playing (anyone convinced Latimer is a Gilmour clone simply must hear this beauty).

Anyone who enjoys Camel's distinctive take on prog will undoubtedly get some good vibes from this record, at the very least from Ice. However, those who didn't enjoy Mirage and Moonmadness likely won't find anything here. ICSYHFH is definitely of lower quality than these records but certainly not without merit.

Report this review (#203944)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am new at listening to Camel (thanks to this site I discovered them :-)) and this is my first review. I choose this album - part by chance - but mostly because the general criticism of the album overall strikes me, and I want to see for myself...


Wait (2+) Sounds a bit like pretty cheap Supertramp - sure it's good instrumental and some quite good pieces, but the song itself don't wake me up really - it's more like I WAIT for the next song to start...

Your Love is Stranger than Mine (2+) Sounds like a song from the 80:s - not very good, mostly uninteresting keyboard-patterns and a bit haunting and almost irritating singing voice. Not especially good.

Eye of the Storm (3+) Starts pretty nice - with a moody and cautios tune and some good playing on the drums. The song itself is the best so far - but lacks a bit in gripping me - anyway after a while. A descent song overall.

Who we Are (4+) A catchy beginning - and it strikes me the absent of a real guitarsound on the album this far. The songs are indeed very popish and mellow. And mostly instrumental. This song has some pretty good bass and a happy tune - but it don't tell me a [&*!#] in the first minutes. After that though, the singing begins and the song turns to be quite interesting and good with great keyboard-patterns and nice singing and a nice parts with great feeling. The albums best song so far.

Survival (3+) A nice feeling but too short.

Hymn ho Her (2+) Starts as it's linked with Survival with drums and some nice tunes but to popish for my taste. Good singing though.

Neon Magic (1+) Aoouch... a terrible song! Bad slobby singing and a boring guitar like in a poor pop-song. It does'nt help with the section-changes either.

Remote Romance (1+) Totally rubbish - even as a bad joke.

Ice (4+) A good beginning with some nice piano and some mellow but great solo guitar, at last... When the drums begins the song drops a bit for me. It's too slow, and don't have that magical feeling from the early recordings. But it must be said - really great guitar!

Report this review (#207388)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I am not a huge Camel fan. Their "Snow Goose " has it's place in my collection, and I like it because of it's beautiful music. Not because of prog-rock, but because of rare balance: it's not easy to record beautiful music without selling out in our time! So, "Snow Goose "was one of these rare albums successfuly balancing on that edge.

So, what with "I can see your house from here "? Is this album's music beautiful? Definitely no. Is there some interesting sounds, new technique, prog-inovations? Are you joking! So, is it progresive rock at all? I am affraid not too much!

So - what do we have as result? Synth- pop -rock with faceless songs? Open flirt with commercial oriented mass-production. Only name, based on old good times?

Can't recommend this album to no-one. Even pop-production users will find better records for their test.

Report this review (#237814)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, This album.... There are some things I`d like to say about this one This album is GREAT (from my point of view). Of course it isn`t as complex as The snow goose, moonmadness or mirage but that is the point that I`m gonna talk about: It seems that the people is always looking to satisfy the word "progressive". This album is prog, this band is prog (and it doesen`t matter if it is pure random sound you`re hearing). This album is NICE MUSIC, not nice (only) prog. And for me that is what counts, nice and hearable music with neat sound and great riffs and chords.

I`ve said the same when I reviewed magma`s album Mercí.

I think the people should listen to the music, to THE MUSIC and review THE MUSIC.

Of course this site is PROGARCHIVES, I mean, I love progressive rock and I know when an album is more prog than another one, but give this one a chance, the music is GREAT, simple and GREAT.

PD: Sorry about my bad english


Report this review (#239911)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I Can See Your House From Here isn't a good album but at least it stopped the downward slide for Camel. It brought a still shaky but nevertheless replenished Camel onto the scene.

Most of the songs are entirely forgettable, obviously aiming to get a piece of the more commercial prog cake that was being baked around that time by Genesis, Alan Parsons Project and the likes. Other songs like Wait, Eye of the Storm and Hymn to Her announce an updated version of the Camel sound that would improve over the next couple of albums. Unfortunately the vocals are far from accomplished again.

The only track every Camel fan should get his hands on here is Ice. It's an instrumental improvisation that offers nothing new but that at least manages to offer equally good guitar solos and keyboards as on Moonmadness.

Report this review (#254536)
Posted Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars And then we were two...Not as bad as I thought at the time I first heard it in the 80´s, but still the band was going down. Slowly, yet they were going down the drain. Without founding member Peter Bardens Camel became almost the backing musicians for guitarrist and vocalist Andrew Latimer (drummer Andy Ward´s drinking problems would soon take him out of the band too). And the pop elements that were already showing on Breathless are enhanced here.

Not that is a disaster. There are good moments (if you ´re looking for pop music, of course). I can enjoy songs like Wait and Who We Are because I do like pop music. But even then there are some really embarassing numbers like Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine and, specially, the hideous new wavish Remote Romance. The new two keyboards configuration suggest a more progressive approach that unfortunatly reveals to be quite deceiving. Good musicians as they are Kit Watkins (Happy The Man) and Jan Schelhaas (Caravan) can´t do much about the songwriting direction of this album.

Of course there is the great instrumental track Ice, an inspired and enthralling tune that would fit greatly on any Camel´s first four albums with honors. This is the only moment that really makes us believe that this is the same Andrew Latimer that we once knew as one prog´s most influential guitarrists. Unfortunatly .it is too little to save this album.

If PA was a pop site I guess I Can See Your House From Here would deserve a 3 or maybe 3,5 stars rating. But, remember, this a PROG site! And one great song can only grant two stars. Definitly not one for starters on this great band.

Report this review (#255377)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wait, wait wait! For all those ready to throw the stone upon this one! Just remember the times , this album was relesead and imagine the pressure Camel had to bare! Imagine, being in Latimer's seat after a ten year (almost) career and you are obliged to produce a hit single because your contract is loosing grip... What do you do? You do this album which is a perfect balance between your roots and the commanding reality of your record company... Of course, being so much pressured causes side effects and this can be seen in this album as it can be seen on The Single Factor Album. But just be patient and start the album.. Wait, wait, wait! Is this one a pop song...well i hope pop was always like this one! Listen carefully this well crafted song and the excellent mini moog solos by two of the most underestimated keyboard heroes mr Kit Watkins and Jan Schellas, not to mention the solid sound of mr Bass and the wiseful drumming. Yes, i hear you say... this album is a disgrace comparing to the Mirage album or The Snow Goose album or th Moonmadness album... All right then... i will pass the pop elegant graceness of Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine with the lyrical saxophone solo by mr Collins (Mel, of course), the ambient tendencies of Kit Watkins's Eye Of The Storm and the pop-prog Who we Are (what an intro for a pop song!), Survival, which is a just a wonderfull glimpse to full symphonic music...i won't say anything about Hymn To Her-prog purists please open your ears for this one and listen to the excellent mid section solos and what comes a little bit after those solos, how more symphonic rock can it be? Ok, two songs coming after this one...Neon Magic, well Uk were doing the same thing a little bit proggier i suppose or am i wrong...all right Neon Magic is ,if you take out mid section , a very prog music section for the times, just quite odd for Camel tradition...of course Remote Romance is a a kind of a joke for me, joke for Camel themselves too, being ironic to their times they were having as 30something years old men then...i hope you understand what i am trying to say...some of you remember those times with the punk explosion, or the arise of the new wave movement or the first steps of electronica and so on...Camel made an experiment on this one , not quite bad for the kind of music Remote Romance represents. And finally we come to the great finale, the song that alone itself worths the buy or the listen for this album. Few words for this masterpiece-just let yourself flow in this one, have chills with every single note played by mr Latimer, be spaced out with the mini moog solo and again have chills with all the notes played by this very , very , very special guitarist mr Andrew Latimer. Last but not least, is one of the "teachers" of drumming, so much underestimated, the one and only Andy Ward! Ice, is an excellent example of intelligent drumming, for those who can hear and understand! To prog purists-you are right! this isn't Moonmadness, but it isn't 1976, it is 1979, do you remember? ok, for you, two star rating album, i can see your point! But as an album itself and the times released...a four star rating! Ice, itself, deserves the full five stars!
Report this review (#257663)
Posted Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars Andy Latimer and Andy Ward would be the only two remaining after the last record "Breathless", although Mel Collins does guest on one track. So enter new members Colin Bass on bass, along with Kit Watkins (HAPPY THE MAN) and Jan Schelhaas on keyboards. Phil Collins adds some percussion. Rupert Hine is the producer which certainly didn't surprise me when I heard this record, simply because it's very commercial sounding and light for the most part.

"Wait" is uptempo and very dated sounding to these ears. That late seventies poppy sound is alive and well here. It's awful. And no I don't care that there are four Moog solos. "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" continues in that light poppy sound. Yikes ! "Eye Of The Storm" is the first half decent tune. Apparently this was originally a HAPPY THE MAN instrumental. Kit plays keyboards and flute here. "Who Are We" atually sounds like CAMEL but it's nothing to write home about. I'm not a fan of the orchestration.

"Survival" is a short orchestral piece. "Hymn To Her" is the best so far. The beginning is just gorgeous, it reminds me of the "Moonmadness" album. Jan is playing the Grand Piano here while Andrew shines on vocals and guitar. "Neon Magic" is a return to blah really. "Remote Romance" is the worse track on here, and that's saying something. Those sequencers just don't work, neither do the almost spoken vocals. Just shoot me please ! "Ice" is a complete surprise considering all that has gone on before it. How do you explain this over 10 minute instrumental that is filled with emotion and passion. It's one of CAMEL's best compositions on a bad album. It's also one of Latimer's best solos.

Certainly "Ice" and "Hymn To Her" made me think about giving this 3 stars, but the rest just drags this album down too far.

Report this review (#257925)
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am firmly convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that the advent of MTV was the equivalent of prog homicide in the 80s. Until someone can present a compelling, intelligent argument to the contrary that's my verdict and I'm sticking with it. Yet the punch- drunk attitude and atrophied muscles that made prog unable to put up much of a fight in its life struggle were the result of what was happening in the rock & roll universe in the later years of the 70s and I place into evidence this black vinyl platter entitled "I Can See Your House From Here" released by the previously respectable prog jockeys known as Camel in '79 as exhibit A, your honor. In addition, if it pleases the court, I can also swear that, having been quite active in the music biz goings on of that tumultuous decade, I witnessed first hand the sad deterioration that slowly but surely eroded the health and fitness of the once hale and hardy genre known as symphonic progressive rock to the extent that it nearly became an extinct species in the years that followed. In other words, I know of what I speak and I warn you, it ain't pretty.

Ere we get to the musical festivities, however, we must address the album cover. I take it as an attempt to symbolically portray technology/science as being the secular savior of the blue planet's inhabitants. As the beatniks used to say, that's heavy, man, heavy. Evidently, according to Wikipedia, said sleeve was controversial in some circles, however small they may have been, and, therefore, garnered some attention in the UK media (Camel was still only a brand of ignitable cancer sticks here in the U.S. of A. so we Yanks were unaware as we puffed away). Yet the tiniest sliver of perspective will reveal that this wasn't exactly the Beatles' outrageously satiric "butcher cover" in comparison and has long since entered the realm of useless minutiae. And well it should have because it looks like something 13-year-old Sid threw together one morning at St. Alfonso's parochial middle school for the talented & gifted to rile the nuns, yet it remained inoffensive enough to earn him no more than a stiff whack across the knuckles with a ruler from sister Bess, much less a late afternoon lock down in detention. Truth is, bad art is just bad art, nothing more. This crude illustration is juvenile and far beneath this group. However, after listening to the songs inside, its stupidity is somewhat appropriate. Allow me to explain.

They open with the band's CEO/head dude/guitarist Andrew Latimer's "Wait," a sort of conglomerate casserole of the era's prog pop (a.k.a. Queen, Post-Peter Genesis, ELO and the like) and assorted New Wave flavorings. This lifeless tune exemplifies the confused, direction-challenged state of mind that saturated progressive brains of that day in that the exploding world of affordable synthesized keyboards was spiraling out of control. Need proof? Here's a partial list utilized on this album: Yamaha C.S. 80, Prophet Five, Solina, Mini Moog, EMS Sequencer, R2D2 and a rare Cherry 2000. (Okay, I'm kidding about those last two.) The rapid development of polyphonic keyboard devices helped to spawn the New Wave movement in that any bozo who could master "chopsticks" and considered Rick Wakeman a deity could now call himself a musician and make funny noises with a machine. I'm not indicting the whole genre, mind you. Like any category of music there were brave pioneers and fearless innovators mixed in with the twits and pretenders and the cream did, indeed, rise to the top eventually. But my point is that Camel overindulged in these gadgets and lost their balls as well as their bearings in the process. As they say, "it ain't what you're packing in your dungarees, it's what you do with it that counts" and these boys unfortunately went limp in the clutch. Back to "Wait." Other than some energetic Moog solos from Jan Schelhaas and Kit Watkins and a smooth vocal performance from bassist Colin Bass this song is unremarkable.

The band-penned "Your Love is Stranger Than Mine" is next and it's very typical of the inane, slick commercial fare that was flooding the airwaves unabated around that time. Colin sings okay but the background harmonies are uncharacteristically lazy and off-key as if they were no more than an afterthought and that's inexcusable. Mel Collins' saxophone solo is the only mildly interesting aspect to be found and even then his instrument veers perilously close to sounding like a tenor kazoo. Kit's instrumental, "Eye of the Storm," is New Age-ish, pseudo-enlightened shopping mall muzak at best and its only potential redeeming quality lies in its being employed as a cure for chronic insomnia. This snore- inducer is the epitome of blandness and is totally bereft of dynamics. Andrew's tell- tale "Who We Are" follows and it sports a plastic shuffle feel massively devoid of soul on the intro before it morphs into a throbbing Alan Parsons Project-styled verse and then moves on to a syrupy chorus so saccharine as to cause onsets of diabetes in perfectly healthy humans. The lush orchestral instrumental section sounds like something my dear old mother, may she rest in eternal peace, would've liked and that's no compliment, by the way. Look, buckaroos, if I wanted to expose my ears to this kind of sappy mush there are other contemporary composers who do it a lot better than this. I'm just saying.

The most appealing thing about Latimer's "Survival" is that it is only 1:10 long. This is romantic made-for-TV movie soundtrack stuff and extremely run-of-the-mill at that. Yark. The proggy introduction to his and Jan's "Hymn to Her" is promising but Andrew's anemic vocal is an immediate let-down. The middle part in 11/8 provides a teeny tad of hopeful excitement but it passes much too swiftly and they soon return to ladling up the doldrums. "Neon Madness" is a lousy California New Wave imitation during the verses and choruses but the decent instrumental section in 7/8 only befuddles me as to what they were trying to accomplish. Add to that Latimer's bluesy guitar ride toward the end and you've got yourself a real head-scratcher here. They hit rock bottom, though, on "Remote Romance." It's so putrid it makes Devo look like a supergroup that included Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. This fetid turd of a tune encompasses all that was ugly, revolting and demeaning about the New Wave phenomenon. It contains no perceptible substance or meaning. If I owned a Saturday night special and entertained suicidal tendencies this song could be the straw that broke the Camel's back and just might convince me to bite the barrel and pull the trigger. It is an insult and should be banned.

At this juncture I was ready and willing to use this disc as a Frisbee for Fido to fetch from the pond, and then something unexpected occurred while speeding along the record's ever- widening path to the dreaded one-star rating. A stellar track called "Ice." This composition showcases the kind of moving, emotional music Andrew is really gifted at writing. It begins as an ethereal, flowing guitar and piano piece that patiently evolves into deeper, richer tone territories wherein everyone shines, even the troubled drummer Andy Ward. Watkins' fluid Moog solo is particularly brilliant and Latimer turns in a passionate guitar lead that waters the eyes. The classical guitar coda is a cool surprise and the whole deal's a much-needed touch of class. This 10-minute vacation from mediocrity (and worse) may be akin to tying a fancy bow on the tail of a grunting feral hog but it's the only cut that warrants repeated listens and is the album's sole saving grace.

In all fairness I must say that I've purchased five of this band's albums prior to this one and have been more or less well-pleased with the product every time so I'm hoping this is an anomaly. Yet I do still feel a bit betrayed because I spent $8 plus tax on this sucker and I would've enjoyed a Happy Meal from MacDonald's a lot more, collecting a spiffy "Avatar" toy to play with in the bargain. If this isn't the nadir of Camel's career, then I don't want to find out what is. This is poor enough for me. This court is adjourned. 1.6 stars.

Report this review (#272635)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have seen this album "dissed" by many on this web site. Without a doubt it has a somewhat dated sound, and it is poppier than most Camel efforts, but I have always enjoyed listening to most, but not all, of this album. Lineup changes really seem to have taken their toll about this time in the Camel history, so I have forgiven some of the worst moments. Yet, "Ice" is great, as is "Eye of the Storm" and I even like "Who we Are". The better moments redeem many of the lower spots enough to bring this up to an average album. 3 stars. Camel folks need it but not others.
Report this review (#276635)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite a shake up after 'Breathless': Pete Bardens, co-founder and wonderful key-tickler, buggers off, as does Canterbury co-conspirator Richard Sinclair, taking with him both his tight bass-work and charmingly colloquial voice. So, after the satisfyingly group-oriented 'Breathless', Andy Latimer is left with quite a task. Punk blah blah blah forced to adapt blah blah blah commercial angle blah blah blah Genesis? yeah, well you know the story.

Now, I adore 'Breathless', I think it has an unpretentious musicality and lack of pomp (not to mention great playing and cool hooks) that marks it out as something very special, so following it under such circumstances was going to be doubly difficult. We still have Latimer, supremely articulate guitarist with his camomile and a hug voice, and the possibility of him slipping out his epic flute and doing it gentle and slow? ahem. Excuse me. Anyway, as I was saying, he was a capable one-man band and very much the 'heart' of Camel. So? the results could still be pretty cool and unavoidably "Camel".

Well, he was first and foremost a guitarist, so perhaps its apt that 'Wait' is more drivingly chord-led than a lot of the group's previous material. Now, the band had previously tried to "rock out" on 'Another Night' (from Moonmadness) and, in my humble opinion, largely failed. It helps here that the song is both shorter and more melodic than that previous attempt. It's actually pretty cool in a lite-rock single kind of way: really catchy, with some super block harmonies and gutsy backing vocals that sound a bit like Supertramp. It does sound rather? skeletal without Bardens' cloud of keyboard augmentations, but there is at least a pretty energetic keyboard solo in the middle.

Now, here is the great divider, where for those not already put off by the Sinclair-era material, the band "sold their soul" or something. 'Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine' is a decent, catchy synth-led single that, while not really any more "poppy" than the 'Breathless' stuff, is certainly a bit more? well, plodding. Still, Latimer shows unusually good pop chops, and it IS a well-constructed song. I enjoy it anyway!

Then, an instrumental, and a really pretty one. 'Eye of the Storm' really grew on me from between the more blatantly infectious material and is a particularly good example of the kind of atmospheric, lullingly (?) melodic instrumental 'Camel' were great at.

Then we have 'Who We Are'. It is here that a new aesthetic, that takes up much of the album, is established- a kind of austere majesty, augmented not by keys, but by stark chamber strings. It has a large, poppy chorus (some might say "sugary"), but Latimer has the uncanny knack of making a potentially overblown "lighter-waving" moment into something that sounds more akin to a bittersweet personal epiphany ('It won't matter at all? who weee aaare': I can't help but share his enthusiasm for whatever unknown romantic path he's treading). It's a very good track, if not quite on the same level as the more energetic "biggies" from 'Breathless'. Perhaps I'm looking at it the wrong way round though ? as it could perhaps be viewed as one of the more concise, 'hooky' tunes from that album, gently spread on to a larger canvas. Well, its good anyway.

Another, very brief, instrumental is tremendously beautiful for a minute and then leaves. Hey, this is going well!

'Hymn to Her' is another rich yet characteristically subtle "epic" track that has grown on me considerably. Rather less catchy than 'Who We Are', and yet slightly more intriguing. Atmospheric, and graced with Latimer's characteristic genteel gravitas. Another good 'un!

Then everything goes weird.

'Neon Magic' is just a misfire, really. Latimer tries to do a Thin Lizzy impression for some reason. Not offensive, exactly, just pretty weak.

'Remote Romance' would be fine as a parody of the 'electro-pop' movement, if it weren't for the fact that said genre? didn't really exist yet. How unutterably bizarre. Like the "song" itself. I'd call it filler, because it is transparently pointless, if it weren't so weirdly prescient and er? yeah, weird. It is pretty crap though.

Okay, now back to the point, with 'Ice'. Twelve minutes of atmosphere, gently percussive chord-changes and Latimer illustrating his enviable taming of the guitar. To be honest, that's about it, but it is an impressive, atmospheric track nonetheless. It certainly makes the previous two duds seem very insignificant on the album as a whole. Clever sequencing there!

This album really isn't the popular concession that everyone makes it out to be ? in fact, a lot of the album seems to be a more stately, concise reaffirmation of the group's identity. There just happens to be some bizarrely throwaway moments that attract an inordinate amount of attention by being louder and less subtle than the rest of the record. Which is a shame, because nearly 2/3rds of the record is actually prime Camel. Well, if you like the band and aren't too put off by more concise songs with catchier bits in them, I'd certainly give this a try.

Report this review (#288464)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars This was basically the granddaddy of all the terrible album purchases that I've done prior to joining Prog Archives where I could get the opinions straight from the fans!

Even though 2003 was just a few years back, the comparison of great information resource sites have definitely expanded a lot since then. Back then, my main sources of influence came from AMG's Allmusic Guide and the occasional visit to Ground & Sky, but other than that I rarely bothered to get a third opinion before purchasing new music. When it came to I Can See Your House From Here, both of these resources seemed very untrustworthy, especially Allmusic that even awarded this album the AMG Album Pick and hailed it to be Camel's most popular work.

What I experienced here was far from the band that I would later learn to love. The definite commercial feel of the two opening tracks repelled me, still I pushed on and was awarded by a first glimpse of Eye Of The Storm. This was the only track composed entirely by Kit Watkins and the change of style is definitely for the better with this atmospheric instrumental number. This change of pace really did wonders for my initial experience since the next few tracks felt almost like the band were getting towards the style that would resemble progressive rock.

Hymn To Her was where the band managed to successfully combine their progressive influences with the commercial such and have they only continued in this same direction the results here would have been a whole lot better. This doesn't really happen and, starting with Neon Magic, the songwriting takes another turn for the worse. The 10-minute album concluding track simply titled Ice depicts a return to form for Andrew Latimer, but by this time it's already too late to save I Can See Your House From Here from failure.

Granted that 1979 was hardly a strong year for progressive rock, I Can See Your House From Here still managed to show everything that was was wrong with our heroes at the turn of the decade. The commercial approach might have worked for a few acts like Genesis and Alan Parsons Project, but for these few exceptions we had a sea filled with terrible pop music coming from bands that only moments ago made some of the best music of the '70s.

**** star songs: Eye Of The Storm (3:42) Hymn To Her (5:23) Ice (10:10)

*** star songs: Wait (4:50) Who We Are (7:26) Survival (1:04) Neon Magic (4:39)

** star songs: Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine (3:14) Remote Romance (4:01)

Report this review (#296617)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An important album

Through this album I knew Camel for the first time because their previous releases were not known yet in my country by that time. You could put things in perspective that by the time I knew this 'I can See Your House from Here' I already got Yes 'Fragile", 'Close To The Edge' and also Genesis 'Nursery Cryme" as wll as "Selling England by The Pound". So when it came into my ears, I was not impressed at all with Camel. I was like, when I was bored with Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Tull or Gentle Giant and then I refreshed with something else: Camel. But it's not something phenomenal, musically, for me. Only then I started to know the band with its previous releases like "MoonMadness" which is a masterpiece, "Mirage", "Breathless" and so on. That's why this album is important to me.

One tune that struck me at that time was "Hymn to Her" which sounded symphonic and melodic to my ears. I also enjoyed the long instrumental piece "Ice". The rest sound poppy to me even though it's not truly pop mainstream, actually. One thing I noticed was that there was an influence of new wave / punk music in the music. Well, you know, Rupert Hine is here as well. I enjoy the work of Mel Collins with his sax.

Overall, it's just good. Keep on proggin'...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#296651)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second best CAMEL to listen in the daytime

As I wrote before, I like prog rock so much that I listen to these music in the daytime and night time, morning througfh mid-night. But, how many prog rock albums do you have that you can listen in the daytime ? "I Can See Your House From Here" of CAMEL is one of such prog albums.

Precisely speaking, this album does not fit in the morning because of their one of the masterpieces "Ice" which fits in the sunset time or evening.

Track 1 "Wait" is a rock tune, like YES plays such a rock tune at live. Keyboard solo from 2:03 is just nice. Slow tempo after 3:30 makes this song a prog rock like YES.

Track 2 "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" is a song like being from Breathless album. Sax solo from 2:13 is making this song a nice pop prog.

Track 3 "Eye Of The Strom" is a revisiting to Snow Goose album. Flute sounds lovely.

Track 4 "Who We Are" starts with the beautiful guitars and hear even orchestra plays later. This is like a 7:52 long drama movie.

Track 5 "Survival" is a song to end A-side. This is for the old analog record style of A and B sides.

Track 6 "Hymn To Her" is great song that the band has played live often. Prog rock that nobody can copy yet.

Track 7 "Neon Magic": Please don't go to the next song before listening to the keyboards starting from 1:04. It is not really simple but rather complicated structured pop tune.

Track 8 "Remote Romance": Well, I can accept, but I understand there are many fans who not. Please skip if you want.

Track 9 "Ice": I have been telling my son, "play this song at my funeral". This is one of my best favorites of the prog music. I don't know how many times I have listened, but I never get bored.

Only a pity thing with this album is the artwork and album title, and maybe the 8th track. Given these points, my rating is 4-star, but it is great album I will never throw away.

Report this review (#307710)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is another interesting album by Camel. There was a line up change after "Breathless", but it's a good thing that their sound is different again! There is also variety here which I will always acknowledge as a high point.

It was indeed an awkward time for music but it didn't mean Camel was on it's way down a long slope (Sorry, but some reviewers on this site were just too harsh). Their next album would prove that they could be even more wonderful again.

Initially, you might notice the weaker moments on here, in particular "Remote Romance". I'm not quite sure what they were doing with that one. This album definitely could have been better and more polished in places, although there are certainly enough good tracks here, such as the delightful "Eye of the Storm","Hymn To Her" and of course the best and rather moving "Ice" which ends it all on a moody note.

I don't like "I can see your house from here" quite as much as its predecessor " Breathless" but I still think it's good overall. Not VERY good, but still, good!. A mixure of moods can be felt from the various tunes on this album. Worth checking out, but it's not essential.

3 stars

Report this review (#308650)
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars "Survival", "Hymn to Her" and "Ice". Are three average good songs enough to give apositive rating to an album? I think not.

Even if Richard Sinclair is no longer in the band, most of the songs sound similar to the pop side of Caravan. "Wait", "You're Love Is Stranger Than Mine" and "Who We Are" could find room in any Caravan album of the late 70s, and this is not a good thing.

We have also the most embarassing song ever produced by Camel: Remote Romance (which has broken one of my car's tweeters years ago), is a failed attempt to make electronic pop and "Neon Magic" is not very better.

The highlight of this album is "Ice", but far from being an epic track, it's an instrumental made of a long intro, a middle part that's the core of the track and a classical guitar coda maybe a bit too long.

The presence of Phil Collins doesn't add anything, I can't say on which track he's playing what.

I'm a Camel fan so I like also this album, but it's for fans only.

Report this review (#349747)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars As the seventies slowly came to a close, we saw that many prog-rock bands had suddenly decided to go mainstream. This is not always a bad thing like some may think. Rush, for example, played more radio friendly songs along with making long prog songs. However, many bands did not follow that formula, Camel being one of them.

The transition started in Breathless, yet that album felt more like how Rush did, creating great short songs while making songs that were prog essence. Although the album did have some clunkers (Wing and a Prayer and Down on the Farm) it for the most part remained true to its roots, despite some pop-like elements added. After all, songs like the title track and you make me smile still had a Camel fill.

Not so with this album. Any "pop" songs (I use that term loosely) are pretty much terrible.

The album opens with Wait, and the first twenty seconds of the song actually sound pretty good. But then it becomes awful. It sounds like they were trying to produce a pop-hit with a catchy vocal melody. The only problem is Andrew Latimer, despite being an excellent guitarist and flautist, is not a great singer. Focusing on his voice rather than his music was not a smart idea.

Your Love is Stranger than Mine reflects the style that Breathless and "You Make me Smile have, yet lacks the soul that the latter two have. The album proceeds to Eye of the Storm, a wonderful (yet short) Camel instrumental, that reflects their traditional style. Who We Are was a surprise, as I was expecting a long pop song, but it actually turned out to be a really engaging track. Survival is a short instrumental that sounds like it was ripped from a movie soundtrack.

Hymn to Her is rather hard for me to rate. The instrumental sections are good but the vocal parts are terrible. Again, Latimer is a great musician, but not singer. It is not that he is bad, but he lacks the charisma that others have which is sometimes a huge part in being a singer. The next two songs are the absolute low points of the album: Neon Magic and Remote Romance. The former is everything wrong with seventies music rolled up into one song and the latter features plastic synths and what can only be described as Latimer on drugs and hyper.

Finally, the last song is Ice, a ten-minute instrumental played in the typical Camel style, featuring beautiful keyboards and melodic guitar. It completely makes up for the two terrible songs before it.

Overall, the only essential ones are Eye of the Storm and Ice. Who We Are and Hymn to Her are debatable, but the rest can be thrown away.

Report this review (#499242)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another round of lineup changes leads to another shift in Camel's sound. The departure of Richard Sinclair halted the jazzy Canterbury dabblings of the previous two albums, whilst Peter Bardens' leaving might have deprived the band of one of the talents who had made their early albums so essential, but at least meant the band could proceed without clashes over musical direction between Latimer and Bardens compromising the recording process.

The arrival of Happy the Man's Kit Watkins on keyboards results in the presence of Eye of the Storm - and if it sounds like a leftover Happy the Man track, that's because it is - but otherwise the album sees Camel continuing its quest for an accessible, commercial style unhindered by Canterbury affectations or qualms from Bardens about the new direction. I wouldn't necessarily mind this if it resulted in a high-quality pop album, but as it is the pop songs on here are rather soulless soft rock affairs with little to recommend them. The closing Ice brings the prog back but doesn't hold a candle to the band's illustrious past, and on the whole the album finds Camel a creatively bankrupt force.

Report this review (#563277)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Everyone was doing it. Labels might have been pressing for more accessible albums from it's Prog stalwarts... from the ones that just happen have been alive at the time. Genesis, Yes, Tull, Gentle Giant and Camel are examples. So what? What's wrong with that? At the end of the day it's a business. Don't think Progressive artists are exempt from that. To elicit fame, fortune and drugs with a few free guitars were the underlying aim as well as art and break up is they are to self important or if the lead singer takes too much of the earnings. Don't kid yourself.

It shows it's prog leanings heavily with lighter and safer production and a duel keyed assault. I never liked the band's vocals. Sounds like British whisper talking on some poor British cartoon like Peppa Pig. Maybe it's why they made mostly instrumental albums. I don't know. "Wait" (which is quite heavy for the album), "Eye Of The Storm", "Who We Are"'s intro. It's still there, but don't expect to inherit an epiphany.

It's not so bad.

Report this review (#606069)
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Out of all the albums Camel made I dare sau this being the weakest of them all. For me it lacks so much when it comes to memorability (if that word even exists). By that I mean there's no songs that sticks to your brain, like previous or coming efforts. Apart from "Ice", which actually is a favorite of mine in the Camel canon, no song really does it for me. If you're looking for a place to start you'd be better off skipping this one and go for one of the more classic albums like "Moonmadness" or "The Snow goose", albums that more clearly demonstrates the greatness of Camel. (If you're bold you could even go for "Stationary traveller" from 1984, a great but more synthesized album.)
Report this review (#890200)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars The departure of BARDENS leaves LATIMER and WARD (the latter is battling with injury and other issues) rather devoid of direction. With new, additional helpers they manage to release this album dominated by POP tunes. Tunes that alienate long-time fans of the band, but also fail to excite the POP crowd.

LATIMER is somewhat prone to melancholy only matched by KIT WATKINS (of HAPPY THE MAN). The two manage to succeed in virtually creating a new genre that could be named as Melancholic-Pop that few would get excited over. To date it remains CAMEL's weakest release, ever. Featuring PHIL COLLINS as a guest doesn't lift this work beyond a PR attempt of just adding a big name, hoping that it helps in selling what turned out to be a great disappointment.

Without much ado, the shortest track "Survival" at 1:04 mins represents a brief, but pleasant change. The closing, another instrumental piece "Ice" is also pleasant - if only too long. At over 10 mins it raises questions about "filler material" issues.

A CAMEL fan, I find this album a big let-down. For my taste it wouldn't pass beyond 1 star. But in fairness, I grudgingly rate it at 2. Seven of these 10 tunes should never have been released.

Report this review (#1092293)
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Wellllllllll.....

After the pop-leaning and completely unforgettable "Breathless", it comes as no surprise that Peter Bardens and Richard Sinclair have left the band. Here, bardens is replaced by two keyboardists, Jan Schelhaas and and unusually understated Kit Watkins. Some guy named Phil Collins also makes an appearance on percussion, but you would never know it.

In general, this album is similar to "Breathless", but with a few more nods to the fans of Camel's earlier prog albums. It makes me wonder just who they were aiming at with the pop tracks, which are not clever or memorable enough to gain a substantial fanbase.

The album begins with a slightly proggy opo tune, Wait. The vocals have an ELO resemblance, and the shifting time signature gives the record a promising start. Unfortunately, It is followed by Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine which, despite a clever title, is just too cute and poppy.

Pastoral is a light symph track. Along with the very short Survival and Hymn To Her these are the throwbacks to Camels golden years. The closing track, Ice comes close as well, and contains some of Andrew Latimer's finest guitar work, but the song's structure is just too simple to rank it up there with the better pieces.

The rest of the album can be discarded, with various styles of pop, the worst being the synth-pop disater, Remote Romance, with insipid lyrics, and a sound like someone trying out a bunck of new electronic toys.

I'd give this two and a half stars, but I must round it down.

Report this review (#1196573)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review Nş 143

As many of we know, Camel never achieved the mass popularity of their fellow British progressive rock groups from the 70's like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and King Crimson. However, they were able to cultivate a dedicated and very loyal cult of fans and they never ceased to be one of the bands most respected in the progressive rock community. With their music, all over the years, they always were one of the groups that more bands influenced inside of our progressive rock world. Even today they continue to be one of the most respected progressive groups.

Personally, Camel was my second love, after Genesis. My first two vinyl albums, purchased by me in the distant 70's, were the fifth studio album of Genesis "Selling England By The Pound", which was released in 1973 and the third studio album of Camel "The Snow Goose", which was released in 1975. Therefore, they've always been, for me, truly faithful and beloved friends who always accompanied me throughout these more than forty years of progressive rock music.

"I Can See Your House From Here" is the seventh studio album of Camel and was released in 1979. This album caused some problems with the advertisers because it shows on its cover a crucified astronaut looking at the Earth. It marked also the debut of a new line up of Camel. With the only remaining two founding members of Camel, Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward, joined the band the bassist Colin Bass who replaced Richard Sinclair and two keyboardists Jan Schelhaas, who joined in 1978 for the "Breathless" live tour and the ex-Happy The Man, Kit Watkins who replaced Dave Sinclair.

So, the line up of the album is Andrew Latimer (lead and backing vocals, guitars, flute and autoharp), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Colin Bass (lead and backing vocals and bass), Jan Schelhaas (Yamaha CS80, Yamaha electric grand piano, grand piano, Prophet-5, Moog synthesizer, Minimoog and EMS sequencer) and Kit Watkins (Hammond C3 organ, Solina synthesizer, Yamaha electric grand piano, Rhodes piano, Moog synthesizer, Minimoog, clavinet, Prophet-5, Yamaha CS80, EMS sequencer and flute). The album had also the participation of Mel Collins (alto saxophone), Phil Collins (percussion), Rupert Hine (backing vocals) and Simon Jeffes (orchestral arrangements).

"I Can See Your House From Here" has nine tracks. The first track "Wait" written by Latimer and John McBurnie represents a good start for the album and is a song in the vein of Camel's usually open tracks. This is a good song with interesting keyboard workings and it has also a nice Latimer's guitar solo. The second track "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" written by Latimer, Ward, Schelhaas and Bass is a very melodic song with a pop style. It's a song with nice vocal harmonies in the wave of the commercial hits. It's a simple and good song but with nothing special on it. The third track "Eye Of The Storm" written by Watkins is a beautiful song with nice melody. It's a different song, an instrumental, and is one of my favourite songs on the album. This is, in my humble opinion, a song with a higher quality level than the most of the album. The fourth track "Who We Are" written by Latimer is one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. Despite being simpler than the songs usually composed by Latimer is a song with his mark. This is a good song, one of the best of the album. The fifth track "Survival" written by Latimer is the smallest song on the album and is a kind of a prelude of other music. It's an instrumental track with beautiful string arrangements and despite be short is an interesting song. The sixth track "Hymn To Her" written by Latimer and Schelhaas is a song with a traditional Camel's opening. It's a beautiful ballad with a good instrumental section. This is also an interesting and good song. The seventh track "Neon Magic" written by Latimer, Schelhaas and Viv McAuliffe is one of the weakest songs on the album. It's a very commercial song, uninspired and something repetitive. It's a song that shouldn't be on the album. The eighth track "Remote Control" written by Latimer and Watkins is unqualified for a Camel's song. It's a pop electronic new wave song completely dislocated of the group's music and even of the album itself. It's really an awful song. The ninth track "Ice" written by Latimer is the lengthiest track on the album and is also the best. It's a classic Camel's long instrumental track, the only song truly progressive on the album and the only song that shows Latimer at his best.

Conclusion: In reality, "I Can See Your House From Here" isn't a bad Camel's album at all. But of all their studio albums this is one of the weakest studio albums ever made by them, the weakest made in the 70's. This is another album near of the 80's, and another example of the great difficulty of the majority of the great progressive groups from de 70's, in adapting their music to post-punk and new wave movements. By the other hand, it represents also the first album without Peter Bardens and where Latimer becomes the only leader of the group. It was also their first album with two new keyboardists. So, it isn't surprising that "I Can See You House From Here" be an album of change, a weaker album that somewhat represents an album of some disappointment for fans and critics too. However, I think it has some interesting symphonic progressive music on it and the last song "Ice" probably deserves its purchase by itself.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1817618)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2017 | Review Permalink

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