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Caamora - Journey's End... An Acoustic Anthology CD (album) cover





3.28 | 16 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars She goes acoustic

Compared to the overblown, overly bombastic Rock Opera that was She, what we have on the present release goes to the other extreme; here we get many songs taken from She, but they are stripped down to the very basics, mostly just grand piano and vocals. We also get a few songs by other Clive Nolan projects such as Shadowland, Strangers On A Train, Nolan & (Oliver) Wakeman and Arena, all performed in a similar stripped down fashion. Most of the songs were recorded live in many different places around the world (Poland, England, Chile, Bolivia, Germany, Belgium and Argentina) between 2006 and 2008, but apart from Clive's introductions and the applause at the end of each song, these recordings sounds very much like studio recordings. Karl Groom of Shadowland and Threshold was involved in compiling and mastering these recordings and the end result is sonically impeccable.

The core of Caamora consists of Clive and vocalist Agnieszka Swita and Swita handles most of the lead vocals here. Clive himself sings some parts and a couple of songs are sung by Christina Booth of Magenta and one (Arena's Salamander) by a Sebastian Medina. On the She material, instead of having three or four different vocalists playing different roles in the story, three different keyboard players, two guitarists, a drummer, choir and a full orchestra, etc., Clive and Agnieszka goes at it (almost) all alone here. The dominant element in the music here is Agnieszka's often dramatic vocals and, precisely as in the sleeve picture, she is to the front of the sound and Clive is in the background. In the picture, Agnieszka even leans against Clive's grand piano which plays a merely supporting role for her both literally and musically! Her distinctive voice is as beautiful as she is, but with such a long running time I tend to tire of it somewhat towards the end. Only occasionally are there some rather discrete acoustic guitar and drums in the mix.

I should say up front that I mostly enjoy these acoustic live performances of the She material more than the original Rock Opera versions and that I have the greatest respect for Clive Nolan, who, in fact, is one of my favourite songwriters. Indeed, in my opinion, Journey's End is by far Caamora's best release, but, like the original Rock Opera, this is by no means Prog. Windows Media Player categorizes this as 'Pop' and that is probably right. The songs are all fairly short and there is no room for Clive (or anyone else) to expand instrumentally. The sound and approach remains pretty much the same throughout and it is not easy to sit through the whole two disc set in one go.

The first disc opens with the title track of this anthology which is a new studio recording. At the end of disc two, we get several demos from the She sessions and at the very end an interesting radio interview with Clive and Agnieszka (concluded by a hidden song). The bulk of this anthology is, however, acoustic live recordings.

The informative booklet is filled with comments and pictures and I am very happy to own this lavish set, but Journey's End can really only be recommended to Clive Nolan fans, even if this is very different from anything else he has done in the past including the rest of the Caamora output.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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