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Camel - The Single Factor CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.65 | 536 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Some reviewers are angrily negative about this one. But I understand their feelings, because all of a sudden CAMEL decided to make a radio-friendly pop album. Even the albums preceding it (I Can See Your House from Here, Nude) were relatively progressive and quite faithful to the band's style. So this was a bit too false side-step from them. But still I think the poppiness itself is not the crime here (they had done simple pop songs before, even in the excellent Rain Dances, 1977) but simply the weakness of material. Take the weakest songs from painfully uneven Breathless (1978) and Stationary Traveller (1984), add some decent instrumentals and produce it to sound thin and typically eighties and you end up with something like this. Many tracks don't really sound like Camel, instead they are like some of the least interesting stuff by The Alan Parsons Project of the time.

I owned the vinyl around 1988 or so. I confess, my memory of some tracks has faded badly, but I presume those I don't remember would only be the most insignificant and classless. 'You Are the One' has a sticky, poppy chorus and slower parts in between them, but in its commercialism it succeeds to sound like Camel much more than several other songs.

'Sasquatch' is a bright instrumental, not even near the best by Camel but still one of the very few tracks here that wouldn't be out of place or a shame on some better album. 'Selva' is a soft, ethereal prog instrumental and a clear highlight. The closing, tender song 'A Heart's Desire' is sung by Chris Rainbow and is followed seamlessly by a beautiful iinstrumental tail. These tracks unfortunately don't save the whole album from being the all-time low in Camel's career. But compared to many other prog artists' all-time lows released at the early or mid-eighties (such as Steve Hackett) this is frankly better. Many progheads dislike also the following Stationary Traveller, which I actually enjoy if I totally ignore its worst tracks. But when the highlights (or the majority of material) are concerned, its quality is miles above this one.

Matti | 2/5 |


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