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Camel - A Nod and a Wink CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 789 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It may be the flute, or the many changes in the melody. I think that the title track of the last Camel's album has much of The Snow Goose. The guitar of Andy Latimer is excellent as usual. The new is that the dry, hot and sometimes dark ambient of Rajaz is now gone.

A Nod and a Wink is probably the Camel's album more close to Genesis or at least to neo- prog. The last two minutes of the title track seem to be Marillion stuff. However, the opener is one of the longest songs produced by Camel. If we don't consider the 14 useless minutes of sea noises at the end of Harbour of Tears, I think it is second in length only to Lady Fantasy, and like Lady Fantasy it has the structure of an epic, or better is unstructured enough to change the theme and the tempo several times but with continuity. There are no silences or gaps. It all flows constantly.

The athmosphere of Rajaz is partially back with "Simple Pleasure". This is a standard Latimer's song with a great mid-tempo instrumental interlude featuring a good guitar riff. The characteristic that I like most of Latimer as guitarist is that he knows not only which notes to play, but also "how many". Every note is functional to the song and is part of the melody. The same "good behaviour" that I like on David Gilmour. It's significant that Latimer was contacted by Roger Waters for a tour that he unfortunately was unable to make because of his unhealty status.

"A Boy's Life" is another great song. Slow and acoustic, it's similar to the last Latimer's song, that "Never Let Go" that is freely downloadable fron Camel's official website and is dedicated to Peter Bardens, as well as this album is. Maybe for this reason the keyboard has a sound that seems to be coming from Rain Dances. In the second half of the song the electric guitar over a base of 12-strings acoustic has a typical Camel's flavour. Who loves the period between Rain Dances and Nude knows what I mean.

I have controversial feelings about "Fox Hill". It's like Richard Sinclair is singing on a Genesis' base. From a musical point of view this is probably the song closest to Peter Gabriel's Genesis that Latimer has ever composed. I'm not particularily fan of Genesis and this is probably the reason why I have mixed feeleings. The instrumental parts are excellent and also the keyboard riff is good, but the style of singing is that of the poorest Camel's songs like "Remote Romance" or "Neon Magic". A note: we had to wait for the last album to hear a drum solo in a Camel's album, even if a great drummer as Andy Ward has been in the lineup for more than 10 years.

"The Miller's Tale" is short and sweet. An acoustic song which reches the level of things like "Mystic Queen" or "Spirit of the Water". 1 minute and half of acoustic guitar played with a Steve Hackett's touch and the second half of the song very symphonic (and very Camel).

"Squigely Fair" has a flavour midway between Moonmadness and Breathless. A good instrumental (there's a short sung part but I consider it an instrumental) which comes directly from the 70s with an excellent flute.

"(Always Live) For Today"...a piano intro, the lyrics about 9/11, or better about what Latimer calls "the courageous spirit of the High Diver". Then a long instrumental part. This track is longer than "Ice" (on I Can See Your Hous From Here), and quite similar to it. After the floydian guitar solo, the keyboard is very similar to the one on "Ice". A great closer not only for the album, but sadly for the 30 years career of the band.

After releasing this album Andy Latimer suffered for a rare form of leukemy from which he seems to be now recovered, He plays on a song of the last album of David Minasian, but it seems likely that this is the last album of Camel.

Not a masterpiece, I'm one of those who thinks that Rajaz is better, but it deserves at least 4 stars plus the fact that it's the last act of a band which has produced good music for 30 years.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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