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Camel - Harbour Of Tears CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 620 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After the excellent but strongly dated to the 80s "Stationary Traveller" and the quite poor live "Pressure Points" I had lost the pointers to Camel and I missed Dust and Dreams, so Harbour of Tears was for me the Return of the Camel.

In that period I was deeply into celtic and British folk music ov various kinds with bands like Clannad and Pentangle, but also De Danaan, Dexys and Pogues. This means that the voice of Mae McKenna singing "In this quite place I stand alone..." touched me immediately. Just one minute and Latimer's guitar was there to remind me which band I was listening to.

It was a new Camel album, full of Latimer's guitar and with a strong concept. The 80s flavour of Stationary Traveller and its fairlight were gone. It was clear just after 3 minutes.

"I am one of seven brothers...." The title track is where the story begins. Another "long goodbye". A short sad song with a nice choir over a keyboard/piano base. Then Latimer's guitar cries its solo which leads to a change in the melody introducing the short interlude of "Cobh". One could think that it's a filler, but it's essential in leading without solution of continuity into "Send Home The Slates", a great song based on "electronic" violins. The one closer to Stationary Traveller. Another great guitar performance, here. A slow Celtic coda is the transition to "Under The Moon". A short instrumental based on guitar at the levels of Snow Goose.

"Watching The Bobbins" is I think the most famous track of this album. The essence of the album is in this song. I have the impression to hear a touch of Roger Waters in the vocals. Latimer at his best on guitar.

After another short instrumental, "Generations", another touch of Ireland, "The Last Eyes" I effectively. "When you sail from the harbour is your last eyes of Ireland".... In this 3 minutes song there's room also for a great guitar solo.

"Running From Paradise" is a complex instrumental that despite to its 5 minutes contains several parts, one of them reminds to early Genesis.

"End Of The Day" is slow and sad, with a guitar harping over a cello. The solo in the instrumental part is performed by oboe and French horn. Very nice.

The closer instrumental is a typical Camel's (or Latimer's) composition, more optimistic in the sounds than the rest of the album. I still don't understand the 15 minutes of sea noises at the end of this track. Filling a CD in this way has really no sense.

There are several ways to listen to this album: follow the lyrics, concentrate on the guitar solos or take care of each single sound wearing headphones. Each time I listen to it I discover something new. Not a masterpiece like the following Rajaz, but an excellent addition with no doubts. And skip the last 14 minutes.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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