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Camel - Stationary Traveller CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 700 ratings

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2 stars Stationary Traveller is a decent synth-pop album made by (the sole-surviving founder member) Andy Latimer and released under the Camel moniker. Latimer's lead guitar-playing and vocals aside, it bares little resemblance to the music played by the once great quartet of Latimer, keyboardist Peter Bardens, bassist Doug Ferguson and drummer Andy Ward.

This album was made in 1984 and you can really tell. Songs like Refugee, Vopos, West Berlin and Cloak And Dagger Man (perhaps the rockiest moment on the album, but also one of my least favourite) sound like the work of The Romantics (remember Talking In Your Sleep?), OMD, Ultravox or any synth-pop band of that ilk. While Latimer is actually a stronger songwriter than almost any member of the 80s pop brigade (and I suspect I actually would have enjoyed this album a lot had I heard it 20 years ago) the moments that will appeal to prog fans are few and far between. That's despite a guest list that includes Kayak keyboardist Tom Scherpenzeel, multi-reed maestro Mel Collins and Alan Parsons Project bassist David Paton.

The last song Long Goodbyes is the song that reminds me most of the old Camel (and I'm talking Breathless-era Camel here) although that's probably just because of the lovely organic sounding intro featuring Latimer on flute, as well as the vintage guitar solo that rounds the song off. Fingertips is another decent piece that starts off sounding organic and has a nice saxophone solo from Collins. It's also helped by Latimer's pleasing, yet mournful melody. The title track has a nice acoustic guitar intro, and a flute (probably a synth flute, actually) solo over an ominious yet enticing synth bass vamp, before Latimer takes over the last half of the sound with some fiery guitar work. West Berlin has some nice fluttering synth work on its outro.

But let's be honest ... I had to look hard to find all the good creative music on this album, whereas Camel's best work leaves me gasping. This certainly isn't a prog-rock album, and come to think of it, it's barely a Camel album. ... 20% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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