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

A NOD AND A WINK

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 789 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A nod off

A more recent album from Camel, who are now effectively Andy Latimer and variable supporting cast. The title refers to the fact that the tracks are intended to reflect some of the musical influences of Camel, and more specifically of Latimer.

With erstwhile collaborator Ton Scherpenzeel out of the picture, primarily due to his fear of flying, song-writing duties are shared by Latimer, his wife Susan Hoover and keyboard player Guy LeBlanc. As a whole the album is extremely laid back, even in Camel‚??s terms, with most of the tracks spinning out to considerable lengths. Take the opening title track for example. It lasts for over 12 minutes, yet has little to say. After a lullaby like intro, it becomes a lengthy guitar and synth workout, a bit like an ambient ‚??Lunar sea‚?Ě (‚??Moonmadness‚?Ě). This sets the scene for most of the album, with Latimer rarely challenging himself performance wise.

‚??Fox hill‚?Ě is a bit more jaunty, although I found the heavily (and deliberately) accented vocals rather irritating. Even here though, the track includes a relaxed, rambling guitar solo. ‚??Squigely fair‚?Ě repeats the accented vocals, although it has more of a ‚??Snowgoose‚?Ě feel to it, with some pleasant flute-work. The attempted lightening of the normally serious mood of Camel in these two songs, is to my ears misguided.

The feature track is the closing ‚??For today‚?Ě. The piece was written as a tribute to the courage of someone Susan Hoover refers to as the ‚??High diver‚?Ě. This was one of the people who was trapped in the World Trade Center on September 11th, and chose to jump to his death. The track has a suitably sombre feel to it, while featuring some truly uplifting lead guitar. There‚??s a real Dave Gilmour sound to the weeping guitar solo before it transforms into a more traditional Latimer sound. The track closes with some almost hymnal harmonic vocals, and a period of silence.

As a whole, ‚??A nod and a wink‚?Ě is just a little too laid back, verging at times on the ambient. Latimer is clearly playing well within himself, although the greater use of flute and keyboards does offer a welcome diversity. The tracks are not generally strong enough to justify their extended length, the notable exception being the superb ‚??For today‚?Ě. Not a bad album by any means though, and one which Camel fans should find agreeable.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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