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Peter Bardens

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Peter Bardens Speed Of Light album cover
2.36 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Westward Ho! (4:21)
2. Black Elk (5:14)
3. Gold (4:05)
4. This Could Be Paradise (4:42)
5. Afterthought (2:08)
6. Speed of Light (5:04)
7. Whisper in the Wind (5:25)
8. Heartland (4:32)
9. Columbine (5:17)
10. Gold (Reprise) (1:45)

Total Time 41:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Bardens / keyboards, producer

- Neil Lockwood / vocals
- Honey Hylton / vocals
- Neil Nicholas / vocals (4)
- Neale Heywood / guitar
- Dave Foster / bass (3)
- Russell Gilbrook / drums (3,8)
- Mick Fleetwood / drums (7)
- Phil Da Costa / programming

Releases information

Artwork: Quick On The Draw with Orin Cozier (photo)

LP Capitol Records ‎- 064 7 48967 1 (1988, Europe)

CD Capitol Records ‎- CDP 7 48967 2 (1988, UK)

Thanks to chris stacey for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PETER BARDENS Speed Of Light ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (38%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

PETER BARDENS Speed Of Light reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Bardens followup to "Seen One Earth" was released the very next year and showed that he was committed to producing quality new age music. When new age music became popular among some listeners in the early to mid 1980s, it seemed a bit of a refuge for fans of melodic and refined prog. Granted at its most adventurous the genre retained only sprinklings of what could be called progressive music, and almost nothing in the way of rock, but Bardens showed a valid path to get from there to here.

Surprisingly, this is a stronger album in terms of its actual content than its predecessor. Each track is meticulously composed and arranged, with much less in the way of ambient synth doodling. That said, you have to get past the programmed drums and keyboards that are made to sound like saxes and even animals, etc, not to mention 6 tracks with those smug sensitive baby boomer vocals.

If you can allow for the excesses of the day, you will find near Camel-like beauty and intricacy in songs like "Black Elk", "This Could be Paradise", "Afterthought", and the title cut, the latter being almost a half-sister of "Unevensong" from Camel's "Raindances". Even the poppier tracks like "Gold" and its Alan Parsons Project phrasings, and "Whispers in the Wind" are bolstered by incisive lead guitars by Neale Heywood and/or drums from friends like Mick Fleetwood.

No need to use warp speed to act, but if you happen to spot this one for a decent price, and you would like to hear what Mr Bardens was up to after Camel, by all means pick this one up.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Speed Of Light for me is one of Barden's poorest offerings. After the reasonably good Seen One Earth from a year previously there does not appear to be much progress made. The new age, jazzy funk sound more apparent making it great background music but never really getting to that place where the music demands more attention. Notwithstanding all his great qualities on keyboards and synths and his reasonable voice nothing really manages to stand out but again once a Camel fan, you will always find some bias to enjoy his works.His long time friend Mick Fleetwood adds drums to the album as well. Highlights would have to be the title track ( good energy), " Black Elk" and " Columbine". There are better releases from Bardens but if you are an ardent collector of Camel, no doubt you will have this already. Two and a half stars.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars New-Age Pop?

As I pointed out in my review of his previous solo album Seen One Earth, Peter Bardens' musical career is very diverse. From the Psychedelic Blues Rock of his two pre-Camel solo albums to the brilliant Symphonic Prog with Camel and then the slick Pop of Heart To Heart and after that the Progressive Electronic oriented Seen One Earth. What would come next?

Well, even if there was only one year separating 1988's Speed Of Light from its predecessor, this is not Seen One Earth part II. What we have here is more similar to the Pop of Heart To Heart, but also strongly New-Age-like; New-Age Pop, maybe? While Seen One Earth was a darker and more atmospheric affair, Speed Of Light is more light-hearted and bright. Again unlike Seen One Earth, several of the tracks here have vocals. But the melodies are not memorable at all. While Seen One Earth reminded me of Vangelis' works, Speed Of Light reminds me of Tony Banks solo albums (his worst ones!).

The Prog quotient here is simply zero. Still, it is a well-produced album and actually not among Bardens' worst albums! It is not as embarrassingly bad like some of Bardens' other releases, just dull and uninspired. This is a poor release, at least judged as a Prog or Prog related one. Very few Prog fans will find this worth their while and more than a few will certainly cringe at some of these tunes.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars The quality of the sound is impressive. Unfortunately the songwriting is not at the same level.

"Westward Ho!" is just a newage instrumental with very few or nothing of Camel. Not bad if considered as a chillout newage song, but it's not what one should expect from one of the two composers of the Camel's golden age.

"This Could Be Paradise" Is a kind of follow-up to Seen One Earth. Same kind of sounds, similar chords as "The Stargate" and a mood quite close to Breathless. It's listenable, but unnecessary as the previous song.

"Black Elk" could have been a better song with a real drummer instead of the electronic drums. Also the fairlight sound was starting to be outdated in 1988. I can imagine the chorus with Latimer's classical guitar replacing the fairlight, Andy Ward replacing a drone and Latimer's voice. It could have been a great song. With this arrangement it's just a quite poor late 80s electronic chillout.

"Aftertought" even if extremely melodic is a piano instrumental which reminds to better times. It can be considered another newage thing, but it's the first good moment of the album.

"Gold" is another electronic newage song but with a bit of guitar inside. It sounds like an attempt to be the commercial one, but it wasn't a hit single. Again it's not totally bad, but it sounds like another revisitation of "The Stargate".

"Speed Of Light", the title track, is one of the best songs of the album. Nothing exceptional also this time, but it's a good song not as cold as the previous ones, and very reminding of late 70s Camel. If the title track let's us hope in something good, "Whisper In The Wind" destroys all the hopes. Was he trying to sound like Blondie or Wang Chung? My suggestion is: skip this track.

"Heartland" is just another newage instrumental based on a trivial sequence of chords and a quite good piano.

"Columbine" closes the album. It's not a bad song even if there's not much prog inside. A sort of Alan Parson's love song. It looks like the one on which Bardens has put more effort in the songwriting. I have to admit that I personally like this song but honestly I can't recommend it to others.

There was no need for a "Gold" reprise in the last minute of the album.

If you consider it a newage album it's not totally bad, but if you are looking for Camel please forget it.

A collector's item which can't be of any interest for non-camel or non-bardens fans. Even if I like it for some strange reasons, I'm sorry but it's between 1 and 2 stars

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Peter Bardens was and still remains one of the better musicians prog music ever had in the 70, he made history with Camel, but aswell had a solo career with hit and miss albums, at least for me.

His forth album from 1988 named Speed of light is one of those forgotten albums from his career. This time around he has a new age symphonic pop prog album in his sleeve, fans of Camel are gone crazy, in a bad way, but time are changing late 80s has nothing to do with mid to late 70s.

Kind cool release for my taste, 2-3 pieces are more then ok, like opening track Westward Ho, an enjoyble new age prog tune, nothing ground breaking but ok, another good song is the title track, all pieces has that plastic feel of the late 80s, electronic drums and pop new age atmosphere.

Overall to me is ok in places, and because I like him as musician I will round the vote to 3 stars, forgotten album and for good reason.

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