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Camel Breathless album cover
3.18 | 965 ratings | 83 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Breathless (4:16)
2. Echoes (7:22)
3. Wing and Prayer (4:41)
4. Down on the Farm (4:20)
5. Starlight Ride (3:20)
6. Summer Lightening (6:03)
7. You Make Me Smile (4:13)
8. The Sleeper (7:02)
9. Rainbow's End (3:00)

Total Time 44:17

Bonus Track on Esoteric 2009 remaster:
10. Rainbow's End (single version) (3:00)

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Latimer / guitars, Yamaha CS50/80 synths, vocals (2,5,7,9,10)
- Pete Bardens / keyboards, vocals (3)
[organ, synthesizer, piano, mellophonium not detailed but highly probable]
- Mel Collins / saxophones, flute, [oboe not confirmed]
- Richard Sinclair / bass, vocals (1,4,6)
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion

- Dave Sinclair (uncredited) / synth (7), piano (9,10)

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Munday with CREAM

LP Decca ‎- TXS-R 132(1978, UK)

CD Decca - 820 726-2 (1992, UK) Remastered by Anthony Hawkins
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2155 (2009, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CAMEL Breathless ratings distribution

(965 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CAMEL Breathless reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Some bands I appreciate enough to not come down too hard on them when they made a weak album but others ...... Not!

And I am no great fan of Camel but they did put out some fine records early in their career but by this time all hopes of a masterpiece was gone and even the facts that other great musicians from other bands came in , they could not stop the decline of the band. Peter Bardens and the Sinclair cousins got out after this dud. The Sleeper and Echoes would have been fillers on Rain Dances but are the highlights on this one. Sad .... so Sad.....

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Breathless" has pop accessible songs, but it is never a simple album: the songs are loaded and subtle. Because of Richard Sinclair on bass and on some lead vocals, it can sound like CARAVAN ("Down on the Farm"). There are some very good flute parts. "Echoes" has beautiful modern keyboards patterns, and there is on the second half part a very catchy and swinging rythmic patterns (the bass surrounded by all other instruments). The bass can be very rythmic. Pete Barden's keyboards are really good, varied and elaborated. The electric guitars are well played. A couples of songs are ordinary ("You Make Me Smile"). "The Sleeper" keeps the same good old CAMEL's style ("Moonmadness"). A colorful and alive album.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Once again Breathless tests the true admirer of Camel and succeeds. If you are a Caravan fan then Sinclair's influence will be highly pleasing. Breathless arrived when the world hated Progressive music so consequently falls foul of high criticism, however for me it is an extension of Rain Dances and has a beautiful feel to it. Remember these guys were maturing and the music with it. Echoes, Summer Lightning and You Make Me Smile being the main highlights. Vinyl covers were at an all time high and Breathless certainly did not disappoint. Musically though very solid even with Bardens' imminent departure.
Review by Fishy
3 stars Not the best album they released but Breathless has its moments. Pete Bardens and Andy Latimer didn't get on well during the recording sessions which would led to the departure of Bardens after the album was finished. Only "Echoes" and "the sleeper" still have the Camel trademark which consists of magical duels between the guitars of Latimer and the keyboards of Bardens. Especially "Echoes" would become a concert favourite for the band. These tracks justify the buy of the album for fans of progressive rock Other tracks tend to late seventies pop although some tracks are still quite enjoyable like "Breathless" or "On a wing and a prayer". "Summer lightning" has some nasty influences form pop and even disco, but the melody is fine and the guitarplaying of Andy Latimer is brilliant. Other tracks are forgettable. Usually the weak point in Camel is the vocal but not on this album. In 1977 and 1978 the famous Caravan singer Richard Sinclair was the band lead vocalist and he does a far better job than Andy Latimer could have ever done. Sinclair delivers "Down at the farm" a funny and uplifting song about life in the country, the song has a catchy melody and excellent flute playing of Mel Collins, one of the highlights of the album.

Don't judge Camel on this album, they can do better, still the album is a must have for the fans and I still would choose this album above "I can see your house from here".

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Camel's sixth studio album saw the quartet of Latimer, Bardens, Ward and Sinclair (with reed player Mel Collins a semi-permanent member) continue the group's evolution towards a more modern commercial sound. Made under strange circumstances, with Bardens having decided on his departure before recording commenced, it's a more consistent statement of the "new" Camel than its predecessor Rain Dances, and actually emerges as one of the strongest albums the group ever made.

Despite the move towards commercialism, this album contains some truly outstanding slices of melodic progressive pop. The lead off track Breathless for example, has one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard a prog band compose. In addition Collins' flute touches are simply glorious and Latimer's clean playing is a joy to behold. It's a song that doesn't go too many places yet is something I can listen to a dozen times in a row.

Other quality tracks include Wing And A Prayer, another really nice "pop" and Sinclair's Down On The Farm which is a real curiousity as its mock hard rock intro turns into one of the finest slices of Canterbury prog you'll ever hear (even if it isn't from a Canterbury band!) Try listening to this and see if you feel like putting on your boots and joining Betty the Barmaid down on the farm ... I certainly did! Perhaps the ultimate highlight of the new concise Camel style is Starlight Ride, a delicate dreamy piece with a lovely melody, and quasi-Baroque playing by Latimer, Bardens and Collins that could make a grown man cry. It's a real gem of a song.

Of course it wouldn't be classic Camel without a prog epic, and Echoes is a real throwback to the glory days of Mirage. If anything, the band's playing is now more confident, and Latimer in particular delivers some of his strongest playing in ages. When Bardens comes in halfway through this seven minute cut, it's like a brilliant last hurrah. I'm not sure if the vocal melodies match up to the standards of the rest of the song but it's still unforgettable.

Unfortunately the album runs out of steam towards the end. I suppose the disco-prog of Summer Lightning is a failed experiment that someone had to make (but did it have to be Camel?). Latimer turns in some more delectable playing, but it's hard to get past the disco beat that goes on for six minutes! You Make Me Smile is another one ... it's basically a really lousy song until Bardens gets his foot in the door with some great playing and then after his solo it turns back into rubbish ... Another dud is the seven minute instrumental The Sleeper which wastes an interesting intro by turning into a boring jazz-fusion exercise. These songs offer ample evidence that Bardens and Latimer pulling in different directions could really hurt Camel.

Thankfully, Camel don't let this album end on a sour note and its closer Rainbow's End is a return to the wistful melancholy we've come to expect from the lads. With a lush, unforgettable chorus that belies the sparse arrangement built around Bardens' keyboards, it's a poignant farewell to a marriage that couldn't last.

This album certainly isn't the straight-forward pop that Camel would later attempt, but it's also not what prog fans might expect (and yet I suspect a lot of proggers will enjoy this album). After Bardens' departure Camel would revamp its sound quite dramatically and while they still went on to make some great music, things would never be the same again. ... 68% on the MPV scale

Review by Tony Fisher
4 stars Let's get it clear at the start; this is no Moonmadness or Snow Goose, not even near - but nor is it a bad album either. Breathless, Echoes, Summer Lightning and The Sleeper are great pieces of progressive music and Rainbow's End is a lovely end to the album. However, Down on the Farm, with its quirky, humorous lyrics, sung in typical Richard Sinclair style, would have fitted a Caravan album much better than a Camel one and the rest are not much better than fillers. There's still lots of brilliant guitar work, some fine keyboards and Mel Collins' sax work is reliable as ever. However, the strains over the band's musical direction that had been building up between Latimer and Bardens do show somewhat and led to the latter's decision to leave. (Just to put Hugues Chantraine right (yet again, I'm afraid), Richard Sinclair was sacked - he did not choose to "get out".) And the changes did result in an eventual return to top form with Nude a couple of years later, albeit with a very different line up. So to sum it up, a good album but not a great one.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent album from Camel with good contribution of Richard Sinclair (ex Hatfield And The Noth, ex Caravan). Ok, there's an evident drift to a more "popish" sound, but there's not enough to say that Breathless (album and song) is not a good one! Self evident is the greatness of The Sleeper and ECHOES. The last one is for me one of the 10 best tracks from Camel (Rhyader, Supertwister, Lady Fantasy, Song Within A Song, Another Night, Spirit Of The Water, Air Born, Unevensong, Ice).
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a good album, don't get me wrong, it is just far from Camel's best. Like other reviewers have noted, this album definitely has a hodgepodge of musical ieas. Richard Sinclair contributes that distinctive "Canterbury" voice of his, while writing and performing songs that make Camel sound like Caravan (e.g. Down on the Farm). Now, a track by track run-through:

The first track, "Breathless," is a very catchy, solid pop tune, but does not really sound like the old Camel. Mel Collins does a fine job with the winds on this track as well.

"Echoes" is probably the proggiest track on the entire album. It also is the track that most sounds like the old Camel. Great guitar work by Latimer on this one. This is definitely the best track.

"Wing and a Prayer" is another pop song that sounds very similar to "Breathless." It too is extremely catchy. Mel Collins again contributes some nice wind parts on this one as well.

"Down on the Farm" is a funny and enjoyable track that sounds like it could have come off of a Caravan album. Props to Sinclair's humor and songwriting abilities on this one.

The next track, "Starlight Ride," is pretty much a short, forgettable track that ends the first side of the album, although the Classical feel in it is interesting.

The second side of the album begins with "Summer Lightning," a Camel song that can be anced to. It has a shuffle/disco feel, which is interesting.

"You Make Me Smile" is again similar to "Breathless." It is a decent pop song, but is definitely not the best (also has a dance feel to it).

"The Sleeper" is another one of the proggier tracks. However, it is just not quite as good as "Echoes." Again, they attempt to sound like the old Camel.

"Rainbow's End" finishes off the album nicely. It is a calm track similar to "Starlight Ride," but better in my opinion.

Overall, this is a nice album to have, but is definitely not the place to start for those who are new to Camel. This album is too spotty to be highly recommened, but is an interesting listen nonetheless.

Review by lor68
2 stars This issue was regarded as their partial decline, above all regarding of the last period according to the commercial exigencies of that time. "Echoes" probably was the unique exception along with a few pleasant episodes. The sound was almost in the vein of such "Disco-music" in some circumstances, while in other moments it could be considered as a different kind of a light fusion-genre, being anyway suitable for the common listener. This is not "prog" not the AOR music, but I should rather say an elegant pop- rock enriched with a few elements of light fusion.after all in the early eighties They produced a good album (always as AOR music) such as "Nude" (this latter enriched by means of some symphonic and "ethnic" features), before their long break which brought them to compose their excellent work "Dust & Dreams" and afterwards the other remarkable album entitled "Harbour of Tears". All these recent events confirm that "Breathless" alone, lacking of inspiration, represented the unique critical phase of their remarkable career; nevertheless the production was excellent and - moreover - the track "Echoes" became soon a classic song, also during their stunning performances live!!

For their collectors only, anyway!!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In appreciating a music, I have a general rule of thumb. If the first track is not compelling, the next tracks might not be compelling also. But usually I don't stop here and I give another chance to listen next tracks. But if it has consumed about half way of the overall duration and there is no such compelling track at all, forget it the album must be not a compelling one to enjoy. It happens with this sixth studio album of Camel. It truly disappointed me at first listen as it experienced major drop from their ground breaking "Moonmadness" album. I could sense the drop since "Rain Dances" album. Honestly, nothing wrong with composition and musicianship as both are still good. But I'm questioning these two things: where is the melody? Where is the harmony? There is no such thing demonstrated here. Camel who has been famous with their melody, has lost its power here with this album. Sorry to say, the first track is totally out of focus in terms of melody and harmony. It does not seem improving even until track 2, track 3 and track 4. What happened with the band?

Through track 5 "Starlight Ride" the band has put its effort to rejuvenate on melody department with a sort of melancholic style with sweet and nice opening augmented with guitar, flutes, and keyboard. But it sounds to me not elevating much on the spirit of good and melodic music. Track 5 is not really bad at all actually but it's not representing the full potential of the band creativity. Track 6 "Summer Lightening" (6:03) is another song with a very weak structure and melody. "You Make Me Smile" (4:13) is also weak in melody. With "The Sleeper" (7:02) Camel wants to present the music in different style, i.e with brass section and some jazz/rock fusion music. It's a good track even though it's not typical sound of Camel. But the song helps elevate the overall image of this album. "Rainbow's End" (3:00) closes the album with a "bit" melodic style.

Overall, this album is good for collectors or fans only. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Why is no one talking to me?

While Camel are often listed as a "Canterbury" act, this appears to stem primarily from their association with Caravan, and in particular the Sinclair cousins. Camel themselves were not originally from the Canterbury area, nor indeed did they spend a great deal of time there. Furthermore, they do not feature the unique keyboard sound which is often associated with that sub-genre.

The band have a happy knack of coming up with a really strong opener for their albums, and the title track here is no exception. It's a lilting, melodic piece, with some infectious instrumental hooks which are guaranteed to make you feel good. Unfortunately, the feel good factor was the one thing which was missing for the band themselves when they recorded "Breathless", with Peter Bardens being all but ostracised by the rest of the band. By this time, Mel Collins had formally joined the band, his sax contributions once again providing an extra dimension to the sound. Despite the bitter acrimony during the recording of the album, Bardens and Latimer worked together on many of the songs.

The track "Breathless" provides early evidence of the generally lighter feel to this album. Richard Sinclair may have had more influence than he did on "Rain dances", but it is his whimsical side which comes through, rather than anything resembling the early work of Caravan. Sinclair's vocals certainly help to make tracks such as "Breathless" more melodic though.

There are effectively three feature tracks here. "Echoes" (no relation to the Pink Floyd track) a melodic upbeat number, "Summer lightening" which has a superb long guitar solo by Andy Latimer, and "The sleeper", the intro to which was inspired by seagulls flying in Cornwall where Bardens and Latimer wrote together. On "The sleeper", Andy Latimer uses different guitar sounds to create both fusion and rock feels within the track.

There are several weaker tracks too. "Wing and a prayer" is dull, with a lifeless melody, and an overt pop influence. "You make me smile" takes the blandness a step further, being a nondescript love song, with cringe inducing lyrics.

The story behind the track "Down on the farm" illustrates the divisions in the band well. Peter Bardens had submitted a track for inclusion on the album, but such was the desire of the rest of the band to evict Bardens from the band that they rejected the song, on the pretext of allowing Richard Sinclair to include one of his. Bardens disliked Sinclair's song so much, that he does not play on it at all. To be fair to Bardens, Sinclair's dominance of the track, and its whimsical nature make it sound more like a discarded Caravan outtake than a Camel song. In retrospect, Bardens was right, the song should have been left off the album.

The final track, "Rainbow's end" was written by Latimer for Bardens, the soft reflective nature and delicate vocals conveying the end of an era nature of the album.

In all an uneven album, with some tracks which are well up there with the band's best, but with others which should have been left in the studio.

Even before recording of the album had been completed, Bardens had left Camel to work with Van Morrison, and to rekindle his solo career. For the tour to promote "Breathless", Bardens was replaced by two keyboard players, including Richard Sinclair's cousin Dave, who had guested (without being credited) on two tracks on the album. Both the Sinclairs would leave the band after the tour, which had taken its toll on all the band members.

Review by Zitro
3 stars 2.2 Stars

What is it?: An average album from Camel. Here, the band seem to have pursued the pop, but realized that they didn't put enough quality songwriting to make it very enjoyable. While the first songs are solid, the second half of the disc is disappointing.

You can already feel it in the title track. Title tracks are usually supposed to be strong, and this one passes as merely above average. The instrumentation is nice and lovely in moments, but don't you think Camel can do better than this? Echoes manages to be the best track of the album because the band is at its best in terms of musicianship and dynamics. This track is a concert favourite and recalls their first 3 albums. It is also the only track that can safely be called prog. Wing and a Prayer is a catchy pop tune and slightly stronger than the title track. That's it: it all goes downhill from here:

Down on a farm is a light-hearted tune that does nothing for me.

Starlight Ride is a soft dreamy piece that is also uninteresting.

Summer Lighting: An uptempo song with a disco-like rhythm. Not bad, but somewhat overlong. I love the extended guitar solo.

You Make me Smile: uninteresting disco song that only has a decent solo preventing it from being total garbage. The melodies are very weak.

The Sleeper: Just when you think it will be a prog classic since it's long, it ends up being a jazz-fusion jam, something that Camel is not very good at. Stick with George Duke instead of this.

Rainbow's End: Not bad. This is a symphonic closer that reminds me of Genesis' Wind and Wuthering.

Highlights: Echoes Let-Downs: You Make me Smile, Down on a farm, Starlight Ride

My Grade : D+

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars Yes - this album sometimes crosses the border to Pop.

But nevertheless i like to hear it because of its great melodies. "Echoes", "Summer lightning" and "The sleeper" are the best songs for me.

Richard Sinclair is with the band - so this is not CAMEL at the beginning of the 70s. But this music is not simple or monotonous. And you have to listen several times to get in touch with.

Review by belz
3 stars 2.8/5.0As others reviewers noted, this is a mixbag; lot of great stuff there... but also lot of crap! Some of the great songs: "The Sleeper" (one of the finest songs after Moonmadness album), "Echoes" with great "moonmadness style" rhythm, "Rainbow's End" which is really the end of it all for Bardens and Sinclair... But the rest of the album is not very good, with a pop sound and... really ordinary music.

I would give a lower rating to this album, but I just can't. Even if the music is sadly unimaginative on the majority of the tracks and highly boring, there are some times when there is that reminescent typical Camel sound which creates some highly emotional nostalgia in my brain, like meeting an old girl-friend and remembering the nice time we HAD. "HAD" is the key word here; everything is at past tense; there is no future for Camel with this album; sadly enough, the band that created the two best prog-music albums of all-time in my opinion (The Snow Goose and Moonmadness) is quietly fading in the end and the echoing sound of their decline is overwhelming and can't get compensation by two or three good songs on this album.

If it wasn't for "Echoes" and "The Sleeper", I would have to give between 1 and 2 stars. This is sad. But hey, who said it was fun to review a great band when it becomes an has-been band? 2.8/5.0

Review by b_olariu
4 stars I might say this is a great album. I think this band doesn't has weak albums specialy in the '70. Maybe is not so good as Mirage or Snow goose, but i like most than the album from '75. Some really good moments are for me Echoes, Summer lightning and The sleeper. The entire album is a great one, and the drumer is very energic, the voice of Latimer is good as always, one of the the warmest voice i ever heard. So my rate is 4 stars. My favorite from them remains Mirage but this one is close.
Review by Australian
3 stars It seems that the mastermind of 'Caravan', Richard Sinclair was unable to bring a magic touch to camel but he was able to help the band create some good, above average music. "Breathless" and "Rain Dances" primarily see Camel taking a completely different course to their preceding albums. Their style of music changed from symphonic experimental music to a more popish type of music. Their new style of music in these albums till retains several classic Camel elements and the poppy side of the music isn't bad. Mel Collins also makes an appearance in the band at this point and he brings with him Saxophones (and Flutes) which were unique for Camel at that time, and still are I suppose. The two flutes in the band allow for two flute parts (really?) and fantastic interplay between Latimer and Collins on guitar and woodwinds respectively.

The quality of music on "Breathless" is reduced in the way of complexity and it lacks the original flow of the first four albums. One example is that the guitar and synthesizer solos seem to be mixed very quiet and they are almost fillers here, while on previous albums they stand out and can be easily heard. The synthesizers and guitar also take on a more conventional sound, the band probably intended on making these changes without knowing what the reaction would be, that in it's self is an experiment.

Some of "Breathless" is good, and some is damn right average, take "You Make Me Smile" for example, it just makes me angry, grrrr. On the other hand songs like "Echoes" and "The Sleeper" are at the other end of the spectrum. "Breathless" has a more laid back feel in the music and nobody strains themselves in any aspects of the album. All the vocals and instruments don't really have serious strain to them, if you know what I mean. This feel is refreshing in ways but it also rises the point that perhaps they weren't fully devoted to the making of "Breathless."

The song "Echoes" basically by its self pays for Breathless and it is the most similar to that of the band's opening period. The guitar and synthesizers stand out here and provides a good ride. "The sleeper" is another good listen; it is all instrumental and puts emphasis on woodwinds and guitar relationships. "Summer Lightning" is the best of the poppy songs and the last three minutes is an almost inaudible guitar solo, but it is a good inaudible solo. "Wing and a Prayer" is okay I guess, catchy, happy and it displays many other desirable features, I like it. "Down on the Farm" is, a rap I guess as everything is spoken. Written by Richard Sinclair and it has his genuine feel. "Breathless" has some nice woodwind melodies. Most of the rest is pop drivel, not very interesting.

1. Breathless (4/5) 2. Echoes (5/5) 3. Wing and Prayer (4/5) 4. Down on the Farm (4/5) 5. Starlight Ride (2/5) 6. Summer Lightening (4/5) 7. You Make me Smile (1/5) 8. The Sleeper (4/5) 9. Rainbow's End (2/5)

Total = 30 divided by 9 (number of songs) = 3.333 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

"Breathless" has earn its three stars, the stand out songs luckily overshadow the ordinary ones. It is a good listen and I'd recommend it after the first four Camel albums to everyone interested. I have to admit I almost gave Breathless four stars. The End.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This album left me rather breathless when I heard for the first time. It is Camel's Abacab or Big Generator (if you see what I mean) IMO.

I purchased almost their entire catalogue based on their first four studio albums, and this one is not worth the money (it will not be the last one from Camel, unfortunately). The title track sounds really awful (or is it just candid ?) : it tries to be poppy, but fails. Unfortunately it is not the only one (listen to "Wing and a Prayer", "Down on the Farm" to be convinced).

"Starlight Ride" is a melancholic tune with no inspiration at all. "Summer Lightning" is a disco / pop tune to be forgotten as soon as you have heard it. Real bad, I tell you. I guess they tried to adapt themselves to the external world of the era but hell! they didn't pick up the good direction (if any was available for a band like Camel at that time).

"Echoes" is the best track here : a traditional good Camel song, maybe harder than usual. "The Sleeper" is not bad either, but is by no means a masterpiece. Fortunately those two songs are the longest ones : almost one third of the whole album. The closing number "Summer Lightning" is a track that reminds me sub-par ELO.

Only two average to good songs could not save this effort for being very poor. They should have released a single instead. One star.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars 'Breathless' hails from 1978, a year where many (not all, though) excellent progressive bands toned down on complexity in favour of a more accessible, song oriented style. Camel followed this path on this effort. Opening with an easy-listening track, 'Breathless', it sounds more like 'Adult Contemporary' music than prog - it's pleasant, but not really characteristic of what one has come to know and love from this great band's earlier compositions. 'Echoes' is possibly the masterpiece of this release, with stunning instrumental displays all around, particularly Richard Sinclair's superb bass playing, and Pete Bardens' mini-moog runs. 'Wing and a Prayer' is a rather forgettable pop-song. Next we have the Sinclair-penned 'Down on the Farm', a quirky little tune that has more in common with his previous band Caravan, than Camel - it never fails to bring a smile to my face. 'Starlight Ride' is a pretty little song, with great flute and sax from Mel Collins, and some lovely Rhodes e-piano.

Side 2 greets us with 'Summer Lightning', an up-tempo, almost danceable (eek!) tune with its 4/4 beats, but the excellent bass guitaring, atmospheric keyboard work and Andy Latimer's great lead-guitaring more than makes up for its lack. It is a track I find deserves more recognition. 'You Make Me Smile' is a *very* poppish tune, but features a nice mini- moog solo. 'The Sleeper' is a great 7 min. instrumental track, starting out in atmospheric fashion, giving way to some tricky rhythms and more stunning playing from Collins, Latimer and Bardens. I find the last song, 'Rainbow's End', to be a little dull, and along with 'Wing and a Prayer' culminate as the weakest moments on the album.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second album with Collins/Sinclair on board keeps watering down the sound and is much weaker than its predecessor, "Rain Dances". It is amazing to hear how such a fine group of competent musicians feel restricted to open-up their minds and step into more adventurous exploration of music. "Breathless" sounds like a "lite version" of CARAVAN and in a few songs with Sinclair on lead vocal you could wonder is this really CAMEL? However, this is not a classic CARAVAN sound I am talking about - rather it is the late 1970s sound of mixing pop, AOR and new wave influences in a quite disasterous way. "Echoes" and "Sleeper" are probably the best moments, which bring some of the old CAMEL pleasure, especially in Latimer's fine guitar work and Bardens' keys. The rest of the album, although not entirely unlistenable, contains nothing worth of attention. Jazz-rock elements are more present, particularly towards the second half of the album, but it is unfortunately the style closer to awful Muzak than to any adveturous prog rock. This is only for CAMEL collectors.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Last album that still features founder member Peter Bardens on keyboards. Although it contains some fine songs, it is also quite different from the sound Camel created and ultimately influenced so many people. Only Echoes does reflect their glorious past and itīs the CDīs best track. No wonder many fans remember this album solely by this tune. Unfortunately it canīt really save the whole album. The title track is a good pop song, as are others here and there. Some are downright embarrassing (`Down On The Farm`) . And Summer Lightning is too much a disco track: not bad, it has a good melody and guitar solo, but again does not sound like Camel at all.

Breathless is a mixed bag that is partially saved by the great musicianship of all members involved. If you like pop music youīll probably enjoy this album. For the prog fan Iīd suggest to look somewhere else.

Final rating: 2,5 stars.


Review by Moatilliatta
2 stars The downward trend continues here. Camel really starts to bring the pop out out here, as evidenced by the rather weak title track which opens the album. The main riff of the song isn't bad at first, but by the end of the song you are left quite bored and almost angry at these guys for making you sit (or stand, or run in place, or whatever you do when you listen to music) through that. But then! They quickly redeem themselves with "Echoes," a track that harkens back to the band's former musical glory. I'll admit, this is a solid song, and it was worth letting the first song finish so I could get to it, but disappointment peaks it's head out from around the corner and then comes over to hang out for the rest of the album.

For being a predominantly poppy record, Breathless isn't awful, but pop songs were never the forte of the 70's symphonic bands. The pop songs here are far better than those on their next record, but other than that, there isn't anything positive to say about this album. In hindsight, "Echoes," while being the highlight of this album and "The Sleeper" also standing out as a decent instrumental, really don't have anything on the good tracks from Rain Dances. Oh well.

Review by progrules
3 stars Nothing special is the best description for this album. Nothing real bad or poor either so a typical 3 star album is the conclusion for the first of a serie of lesser albums by Camel. I'll illustrate it with song by song ratings:

Breathless (4:17) 3,25*. Average song for Camel standard, no specific features, just nice.

Echoes (7:17) 3,5*. Pretty good instrumental effort in the beginning, but again no spectular stuff.

Wing and a prayer (4:41) 3*. This is not average, this is mediocre. Almost below par.

Down on the farm (4:19) 3*. Rock song, vocals in Caravan style with Richard Sinclair. No more than nice.

Starlight ride (3:19) 3*. This one is insignificant as well with some nice wind instr.

Summer Lightning (6:00) 3,75*. Finally a stunning track thanks to an excelling Andy.

You make me smile (4:14) 3*. Starts off surprisingly with some soul/disco like sounds in Raydio style. Well, at least it's original but how low can you sink ?

The Sleeper (7:02) 3,75*. The other highlight of this album. The boys prove here they can still do it. So why only with this 8th track ?? This is 70-s Camel really !

Rainbow's End (2:59) 3*. And then this senseless closer again. What can I say indeed ?!

Good album and that's all, so three stars (3,25).

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars First of all, let me get one thing straight: I like this album, and since I bought it I have listened to it more often than I have, for instance, to the likes of "Relayer". As a matter of fact, there are times when something like "Breathless" hits the spot, while a more complex album would just flow by unnoticed. Sometimes you just need music that, while undoubtedly well-played and eminently listenable, it is certainly not intellectually challenging.

Well, Camel can certainly play, and the added bonus of Richard Sinclair's vocals is not to be despised either. However, considering the collective talent of the musicians involved, this album cannot be called other than a disappointment. The poppy tendencies already displayed by "Highways of the Sun" on "Rain Dances" are here brought forward and developed in a way that makes Camel nearly undistinguishable from many chart-friendly bands of the late Seventies.

With the exception of the instrumental "The Sleeper", the album is mostly song-oriented. The songs in question, while not intrinsically bad, are not a patch on what Camel had been doing in the previous years. Sinclair's gorgeous vocals are given more space here than on "Rain Dances", but nothing reminds the listener of his awe-inspiring performances on the likes of "In the Land of Grey and Pink" or "The Rotters' Club". Even the funny, upbeat little ditty "Down on the Farm" (a song many hate, though I've always found it rather endearing), while undoubtedly catchy, is light years away from the humorous prog-pop masterpiece that was "Share It". And then, we have Camel's take on Seventies' disco music, "Summer Lightning", which is rescued by Sinclair's vocals and a great guitar solo at the end.

Richard Sinclair would be more or less booted out of the band after this album - his stint in Camel had unfortunately proved anything but a marriage made in heaven. Moreover, the tension between Latimer and Bardens, the two musical masterminds of the band, led to the latter's departure as well. It took a long time for Camel to bounce back, though they never again reached the heights of their early Seventies output. As for "Breathless", it is indeed a pleasant, undemanding listen for those days when King Crimson are really too much to take for our stressed brains - little more than a pop album with a bit of prog thrown in for good measure.

Review by Gooner
4 stars This is the best of the Richard Sinclair line-up, sort of like their _Wind & Wuthering_(as per Genesis). A perfect fusing of the best parts from Caravan and Camel. The instrumental The Sleeper is a real treat which is regularly featured on XM Radio's _Deep Tracks_. A mentioned in a few reviews I've read elsewhere, this album has a spring/summery feeling to it. _Down On The Farm_ has some creative sound effects and wonderful lyrics which appropriately describe the rural area lifestyle and local gatherings. I rate this as one of Camel's finest _vocal_ albums...and their last great stab at prog. in the '70s. Also, this is the last album with keyboardist Peter Bardens. _Summer Lightning_ is the best tune Steely Dan never wrote.
Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Camel's second album with the heavy Caravan influence, thanks to both the times and personnel, "Breathless" leans more to the quirky pop side of that act, and dispenses with most of the jazzy qualities of its predecessor. In summation, yet another piece of the Camel saga that involves significant change, albeit within the context of producing quality in a generally progressive format.

The first side is, in its own way, as strong as anything Camel has done. The title track is a pleasant prog pop composition with more of an acoustic feel than most of Camel's repertoire. The most old style Camel track is "Echoes", with a brilliant 4+ minute introduction of recurring themes and stellar synthesizers and guitars, one of Latimer and Bardens best and last synergistic tunes. "Wing and a Prayer" is an inventive Caravan style slice of whimsy, and even more so is "Down on the Farm", both showing Camel at its most undeniably English sounding. This is probably not to the taste of a lot of people on the list but is nonetheless captivating and clever pop music with more than enough ingenuity to outclass 90% of what comes out of that genre. "Starlight Ride" is the type of ballad we got used to on Moonmadness - mellow, cosmic, with a gently unfolding melody.

Side 2 is somewhat polarizing, containing a mixture of decidedly disco beats and some of Latimer's best lead work, sometimes in the same song, such as in "Summer Lightning" and the somewhat superior and decidedly jazzy "The Sleeper". "You Make me Smile" is more slick pop oriented than anything on side 1. "Rainbow's End" provides the goodnight kiss in the form of another thoughtful mellow ballad.

With the benefit of retrospect, Camel maintained a high quality throughout their career, occasional missteps notwithstanding, and this album constitutes another breathtaking change of pace on the group's fascinating journey.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars A good Caravan album makes a bad Camel album

The previous Camel album, Rain Dances, had been both a backward-looking album and a forward-looking album as it was a rather appealing mix of what Camel did on their first four albums and what they would do on the present album (their sixth studio album). Richard Sinclair of Caravan fame had joined the band for Rain Dances and put his personal stamp on Camel's music already at that point, but his influence was counterbalanced with the classic Camel sound. Rain Dances thus managed to retain a lot of the typical Camel-identity despite the more or less strong Caravan influences, resulting in an album somewhere in the middle between Symphonic Prog and the jazzy Canterbury Scene sound of Caravan. On Breathless, however, I feel that Sinclair dominated a bit too much and he brought Camel too far towards the sound of Caravan.

Sinclair even brought in his cousin and fellow Caravan-member, Dave Sinclair, on additional keyboards on this album (though he is, for some reason, uncredited in the album sleeve). And when original member Peter Bardens left the band directly after the recording of this album, Dave Sinclair took over on keyboards for the tour in support of the album. Andy Latimer at one point joked about re-naming the band 'Caramel' (a crossover between 'Camel' and 'Caravan') and listening to Breathless I feel that such a name-change would actually have been a very good idea! If you know both bands, "Caramel" is really a very fitting name to the band that made this album.

Richard Sinclair sang lead vocals on the opening title track, on Summer Lightning (the latter of which he also co-wrote with Latimer), and on Down On The Farm (which is written by Sinclair alone). The first two of these are decent songs, but Down On The Farm is, in my opinion, a complete embarrassment! I don't dislike Sinclair's vocals at all, but they are too strongly associated with Caravan for me.

Echoes is the real highlight of Breathless and this is indeed an excellent song that has since become a frequent item in the band's set list up till and including the very last tour they did in 2003. Also The Sleeper is a very good song that more resembles the earlier Camel sound. The rest of the songs are not bad at all, but not particularly strong either. The material is significantly less memorable than on most other Camel albums.

Being a major Camel fan (and a minor Caravan fan) I do enjoy Breathless, and there are some great moments here. However, the album falls short in comparison with both earlier and later Camel albums. Indeed, The Single Factor is the only other Camel studio album that I've given as low a rating as this.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Breathless is the sixth studio album from symphonic prog rockers Camel. The album was released in 1978. Breathless shares the same lineup as the previous album Rain Dances from 1977 which means that in addition to founding members Peter Bardens ( organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, mellophonium, vocals), Andy Latimer (flute, guitar, vocals ) and Andy Ward ( percussion, drums) Camel consisted of Richard Synclair ( Caravan, Hatfield & The North) on bass and vocals and Mel Collins ( King Crimson) on Sax. Rain Dances was one of those albums that I remembered was not to my liking. After listening to it again before making my review here on Prog Archives I ended up loving the album though and I was curious if the same thing would happen with Breathless which I had an equal distaste for when I heard it the first time in the mid nineties. Lets say that things have changed for the better between me and Breathless but that I donīt think itīs as good as Rain Dances.

One thing I noticed listening to my CD version of Breathless is that the songs have changed places compared to my original LP version. I havenīt heard my LP in years so I wonīt comment on if itīs a good or a bad thing. Generally I think that you should leave the original albums as they were, but there is probably an explanation.

The music on Rain Dances had moved towards a more commercial sound and with Breathless Camel takes this development in their music one step further without totally sacrificing their prog rock sound. There are some pretty good songs here in Breathless, Echoes, Starlight Ride, The Sleeper and the funny Canterburian ( Well partially) Down on the Farm. Whenever Richard Sinclair sings the lead vocals I canīt help being reminded of Caravan and Breathless, Down on the Farm and Summer Lightning could almost have been Caravan from circa Cunning Stunts to Better by Far. Camelīs music has more exciting instrumental parts though.

All is not well on Breathless though and I could have done without the commercial Wing and Prayer and the disco beat in Summer lightning. You Make me Smile sounds like one of the boring pop songs from Caravanīs Better By Far and doesnīt really help my impression either.

The musicianship is as tight and excellent as ever. Richard Sinclair is really a great addition to Camel with his warm voice and clever basslines.

The production is good allthough not as good as the one on Rain Dances.

Breathless is a step down from Rain Dances IMO. The songwriting isnīt as inspired as on that one but there are still some truly excellent moments on Breathless that convinces me that this is a small 3 star album and not a big 2 star album. This would be the last album with Peter Bardens and Richard Sinclair and thatīs a real shame IMO. This is probably the strongest lineup Camel would ever have. Too bad Breathless didnīt turn out better.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If Rain Dances had found Camel refurbishing their musical direction and absolutely capable of creating yet another prog masterpiece for their catalogue, the follow-up effort "Breathless" turned out to be a partial disappointment. The band's sound somewhat deviates from the increased Canterbury orientations that had been developed in "Rain Dances" (and used in the live versions of old material with support wind player Mel Collins, as it is shown in A Live Record) and fully returns to the intensely melodic drive that had signalled the band's earlier symphonic prog albums. Richard Sinclair didn't prove to be the determining influential force that he could/should have been, while the tandem Bardens-Latimer was falling apart at the seams before the eyes of everyone else in the band. Even before the album's actual completion, Bardens had announced his decision to part ways with the reast of the band. There was tension in the meantime in a high degree: proof of that is the fact that Bardens refused to play in the Sinclair-penned track 'Down on the Farm' (actually, it is a very entertaining song, very much related to the simplistic humorous side of Caravan, but actually not as inspired as what he wrote in the 'Waterloo Lilly' song, for instance). On the other hand, the beautiful closing ballad 'Rainbow's End' was written by Latimer as a kind farewell to his longtime partner and fellow musician. Of course, the creator of that special background that characterized vintage Camel sound deserved no less than a beautiful song as a parting homage. But before getting to this moving closure, there are other brilliant songs in this album. 'Echoes' is not only the album's highlight but one of the most brilliant Camel compositions ever. The dynamics and refined arrangements that solidify the links between motifs and tempo shifts cry out the echoing rumours of the "Mirage"-era, while Ward's drumming continues to provide that kind of swing that he eagerly explored in the "Moon Madness" and "Rain Dances" albums. More tracks like this, recapitulating the current and pre-Sinclair eras in a tight fashion, were what this album needed to be truly excellent. More focused on the jazzy leanings are the powerful instrumental 'The Sleeper' (still reminding us of Moon Madness in some specific moments) and the effectively appealing 'Wing and a Prayer' (this is the kind of Canterbury-friendly songs that Sinclair should have come up with in order to make his contributions really interesting). Also, the romantic eponymous semi-ballad and the pastoral-related ballad 'Starlight Ride' are eficient in their respective musical ambitions: sonic colorfulness delivered with melodic sensibility and a clear sense of elegance. I'm not so sure about what Camel intended to accomplish with 'Summer Lightning' and 'You Make Me Smile'. The former has an excellent guitar lead and magical multiple synth layers, the latter bears effective synth solos - granted. But all in all, these are indefinite pieces that apparently intended to create a ridiculous marriage of disco/pop and art-rock, ultimately failing. General balance: a very irregular album with two great tracks, a few good songs and some inane numbers that sabotage the repertoire as a whole. "Breathless" is essential to understand the evolving vision of Camel at a certain point of the band's history, not an essential album in itself.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars "Breathless" continues where "Rain Dances" left off, although this is even lighter and more difficult for me to digest. Same lineup as well, but there would be major changes after this was released. I must admit that giving this even 3 stars didn't seem possible after my first couple of listens, this is just too close to that soft seventies rock sound, but fortunately after many listens I started to appreciate the instrumental work a little more.

"Breathless" has a pleasant and light melody with vocals. Collins comes in before 2 minutes and later. "Echoes" is far and away the best track.The drumming, guitar work and bass play are all outstanding. A calm with flute 2 minutes in. It kicks back in more aggressively than before after 3 minutes. Vocals after 4 minutes. "Wing And A Prayer" features light keys and vocals. When the vocals stop the sax comes in at 2 1/2 minutes. Flute comes in late. "Down On The Farm" is very much a CARAVAN-like track written by Sinclair of course. As Tom Ozric says this one always makes me smile. Great lyrics with Richards understated vocals.

"Starlight Ride" is another mellow song with keys, vocals and flute standing out. "Summer Lightning" sounds really good for the first 30 seconds then it turns too soft for my tastes. The long guitar solo to end it helps though. "You Make Me Smile" is too commercial, although I don't mind the chorus. "The Sleeper" is an instrumental. I like the atmosphere to open. It kicks in with an uptempo melody after 1 1/2 minutes. Collins comes in after 3 minutes. "Rainbow's End" is again mellow with vocals.

Very difficult to give this even 3 stars, but hey there's enough here to say it's pretty good. Barely.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
4 stars Folk-oriented album by Camel! The most folky sounding album for Camel up to that date. The vocals and flute works made by Andy Latimer contribute to that. Really much better than the previous one - Rain Dances. The synchronism returns to the band. The musicianship is perfect and there're not anything boring and needless on Breathless. The album is softer than Moonmadness, but it's more folky and jazzy than it. That means it's different, but not weaker than Moonmadness. Of course, it's weaker than the first three albums, but they are samples of classic progressive rock. I want to say, that Breathless is above 3.5 stars album, but under 4 stars surely. Something like Moonmadness - around 3.75 for me! Interesting is, that the album produce a couple of jewels like the previous one - Rain Dances. Here the best track is The Sleeper: true masterpiece. The other very original song is Down on the Farm. Very interesting and very innovative and different. It's made by Richard Synclair - the newcomer (this is his second album for Camel). The other lond song - Echoes is another fresh-sounding song. The worst songs are Summer Lightening and You Make Me Smile. But that only shows how constant is the quality of the album. Most of the songs are 3.5, while on Rain Dances most of the songs are 3 stars with some boring elements. That's why Rain Dances is the weakest album to that date for me!
Review by The Quiet One
2 stars An Odd Breath of Pop, Jazz, Prog and Canterbury..

Rain Dances was a great mix bag of fusion, some old proggy roots, and a bit of pop. Breathless on the other hand showed Camel focusing more on the pop aspects and Richard's specialised territory, Canterbury, rather than keep on exploring the jazz realm and of course the prog aspects are nearly vanished.

As for the Pop aspects Breathless presents, already from the beginning it's heard with the title track, a soft radio-oriented song with pretty much zero content. The next pop-tinged song would be Wing and Prayer, unlike the title track, this one is pretty catchy and contains some interesting vocals and nice instrumentation, though nothing really up to the standards of their classic songs. Then comes Summer Lightning with it's disco-esque rhythm with a pretty decent guitar solo and a simple but nice synth solo, but the result is obviously awkward though not actually bad per se. You Make Me Smile is another pop-oriented song with a simple structure and mediocre composition, but like always there's something worth the listen and that is a splendid very original keyboard solo to be delighted with.

As for the Canterbury aspects it's really in only one song and that is Down on the Farm with it's misleading AOR like opening it then transforms completely into a Caravan song without Caravan's neither Camel's brilliance. If you're a die-hard Caravan fan you should listen to this once, since it's like ''the missing Caravan tune'', haha.

There's still some prog material on board but it's not alike the music on board on Mirage or The Snow Goose. The first song presenting prog substance is Echoes(not the Floyd one!) with Andy's razing guitar bites all-through, while not a big fan of it it's definitely the best song on Breathless when it comes to musicianship. However when it comes to composition The Sleeper wins easily, it's in the vein of Lunar Sea from Moonmadness just that The Sleeper has a jazzier feel due to Mel Collins' great sax. The only tunes left are Rainbow End and Starlight Ride, while they're not prog songs they pretty much fit the style of Moonmadness and The Snow Goose, that delicate but never heading to pop sound, decent songs.

Breathless ends up being a sloppy mix of Canterbury-cliches with some mediocre pop tunes and two great, though very out of place tracks. Definitely less consistent than Rain Dances, however it's not worse than what other Prog bands were doing at that time.

2 stars, a weak record for Camel in inspiration and composition skills, however still enjoyable.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Yes, pity story again there... I think, Camel had it's golden moment once (quite short, and not as gold ,as possible, I think), but that time is gone. What we have on their "Breathless"?

First of all, we have a serious list of players: Burdens, Latimer + Sinclair and Collins ( he was so perfect somewhere collaborating with King Crimson!). After, we have a music played: faceless and openly flirting with synth-pop collection of song. What does it means?

If you miss your ideas ( or inspiration) , but you are professional musician and have a rights for quite valuable trade mark in rock-music ( as "Camel"is), you can try to stay on the wave just mixing some breaks from "Camel ", "Caravan ", and put more pop-spices just to make this food for ears more tasteful. What is the result?

As in restaurant with bad cook: if your food is tasteless, just put more spices! So, we have there mainly spices (no food) for our ears. As in bad restaurant, you know...

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Breathless is the sound of a camel that has used up its supply of body fat. A camel in desperate need of a gulp of fresh water, completely drained and out of breath.

It's not a total disaster. There are some touches of Camel's trademark mellowness and melodic lightness but there's just not enough energy and inspiration left to make anything really come alive. Some songs like Echoes and Starlight Ride would have worked well on Rain Dances and could have improved it, had they replaced the traces of soft-jazz that disgraced that album.

Most of Breathless is entirely forgettable and badly dated pop music that wouldn't even stand a chance in the pop field neither.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars I decided to review this album and give it a low rating because I think that CAMEL are best served if their weakest albums are NOT used by newbies as first approach to their music.

This is a good album for hard fans who can appreciate the jazzy period with Richard Sinclair during which Camel were sounding exactly as Caravan. Personally I don't like this period even if each single track alone is not bad.

Let's start from the good: as many other reviewer mention, "Echoes","summer lightning" and "You make me Smile" are good songs, Echoes is also mentioned in a forum thread as one of the best Camel's song at all. What is disppointing for me is that with Rain Dances and Breathless they have lost the intensity of the first 4 albums. There's more brain than heart here.

I imagine a person who has never heard anything of Camel choose an album from Rain Dances to The Single Factor (with the exception of Nude). He will never become a fan.

So even if Camel and Caravan's fans can like it so much, if you are not into Camel, please start from their first or their last albums. "Mirage" and "Rajaz" are my suggestions.

2 stars

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Since my first Camel album was I Can See Your House From Here I really wasn't planning to purchase any more of those post-Moonmadness studio releases. This same notion reemerged once I heard the live material from Rain Dances that was featured on A Live Record. But one day while listening to the 1993 compilation album called Echoes on Spotify I noticed these two tracks that were actually quite pleasant in comparison to everything else that CD2 had to offer. The compositions Breathless and Echoes were beyond anything I've heard from Camel's late '70s output which was why I finally decided to give this 1978 album a shot.

By 1978, Camel became a quintet with the addition of Richard Sinclair on bass guitar/lead vocals and Mel Collins on saxophone. Judging from the opening two numbers this new additions to the band's lineup seemed like a nice choice since the saxophone did add a slight Jazz Rock feel to Camel's overall sound while Sinclair's vocals reminded me of his work with Caravan.

Everything really seemed great until the final moments of Echoes and I even began wondering whether this was one of those underrated albums that people dismissed for no apparent reason. Unfortunately Wing And Prayer brought the songwriting quality down a few notches with its basic structure that can't be called anything but a bland pop song. The quirky Down On The Farm brought the album back to relatively interesting level saved entirely by Richard Sinclair's beautiful vocal delivery while the subtile ballad called Starlight Ride once again raised my hopes up.

It turned out that all the negative reviews were quite right in the end since the disco sounding Summer Lightening really made me lose all faith in this album. Little did I know, things were actually going to get worse with You Make Me Smile and even if The Sleeper had a few interesting moments, it made little impact in the long run. Rainbow's End is another ballad that does remind me a lot of Starlight Ride and I'll definitely take four more of these nice tunes instead of the commercial disasters that I've experienced throughout this release. Breathless is a proper title for this album since it certainly runs out of breath towards the second half and never recovers from that disaster. I'm sure that there are fans who would enjoy this album, if only for Richard Sinclair's participation, which is why I give it a collectors/fans only rating.

***** star songs: Echoes (7:20)

**** star songs: Breathless (4:20) Down On The Farm (4:20) Starlight Ride (3:26) Rainbow's End (3:06)

*** star songs: Wing And Prayer (4:44) The Sleeper (7:07)

** star songs: Summer Lightening (6:03) You Make Me Smile (4:19)

Review by friso
3 stars Camel - Breathless (1978)

When reading a new review on this album I suddenly realized I haven't written one myself on this debatable Camel-album. I know the album is generally seen as one of the weakest of the band, and there's a good reason for this.

First of all.

This album has little progressive undertones, which is a pity. The second track, Echoes, is however one of Camel's best long tracks. The instrumental parts are all very good, the combination of the heroic guitar themes and the superb bass-lines is a blessing. Other tracks are often poppy, ballad-like or a Canterbury-styled with soft jazz undertones. Even disco influences can be found in one song.


This album has quality. Ok, the prog heydays are over, but Camel remains a good band in this stage. The quality can't be found in technical achievements (except for the great solo's of Latimer), it can't be found in harmonically challenging composition, but it's there. Some of the songs like Rainbow's End, Breathless and Starlight Ride are really charged with emotional energy. All stand out as memorable songs with beautiful song-writing. Some other tracks are downright poppy, like the positive Wing and Prayer (it does make me smile) and You make me smile. Still, once I've accepted this is just another band then years earlier, I think it's at least good pop. Summer Lightening has disco influences, but acceptable song-writing and a perfect extended guitar solo. Down on the Farm is a funny track with a progressive intro and a poppy lyrical theme which is accompanied with sounds that fit with the lyrics. The Sleeper is an instrumental with interesting jazz-influences and a wind-section by Collins.


Perhaps this is not an excellent Camel album, but It can carry you away with it's positive, emotional and sometimes feel-good mood. It somehow just works. When the record is finished (after Rainbow's End) I just feel happy and peaceful. Let this be your motivation to buy this record and don't expect to much of it. If you like the poppy side of Canterbury, this could also be a good addition to your collection. I'm giving it three stars, but I sympathize with those who rated this album higher due to it's emotional value.

Review by baz91
3 stars I'm not quite sure why I got this album, but I don't regret having it, and that's a good start. Breathless is surely Camel's most inconsistent album up to that point. The bad stuff is truly dire, and the good stuff is progtastic! Given it's release date (1978), Camel were doing quite well, as this was the year that also brought us 'Tormato' and 'Love Beach' (though applause must be given to Rush for giving us 'Hemispheres' that year). If you can't stand commercial sounds, you might want turn away now, as this album was choc full of cheesy pop tunes, some better than others.

The title track Breathless opens the album on a remarkably poppy note. It's not a bad song, but it's quite predictable and quite tame.

Echoes is fanastic. You can easily forget your listening to a poppy record when you hear this. The guitar at the very beginning is fantastic, and it sounds like it's going to lead into a verse. But it doesn't. Instead we continue on this extremely exciting musical journey, with breakneck technical playing by the band. The peice changes moods several times, and you think this might just be one of the best Camel instrumentals you've heard. But no! At 4:09, the lyrics of the song begin. This means that the intro lasted over half of the song. Brilliant! I have to say, the rest of the song isn't quite on par with the beginning, but it plays out quite well. This doesn't matter though as I am truly impressed with this song, and just knowing that fantastic track is there makes the album worthwhile.

Armed with Echoes, we now charge forth into Wing and a Prayer. Oh god, this song is cheesy! The lyrics, the melody, the instruments, everything is so cheesy. And I love every second of it! Maybe it's just a guilty pleasure, but this song just really strikes a chord with me! The beautiful production of this album is definitely a contributing factor, as the clarity of the instruments is very appealing. Love it!

The fun doesn't stop! Down on the Farm is one of those pop songs which has something distinctive to make it stand out, much like Yes's Leave It. The distinctive thing in this song is Sinclair's fast paced humourous lyrics about farm life, and the sound effects to go with it. It might be gimmicky, and seems like Caravan meets The Wurzels, but this track is very charming. Those lyrics, which aren't at all cryptic are a nice change from most prog lyrics. It's a very fun track indeed.

Starlight Ride is also very cheesy, but not in such a good way. There is a slightly classical feel to the interludes between verses, which is interesting on close inspection, and the melody is nice enough, but that's about as much as I can say about this track.

When Summer Lightning starts, it takes on a disco feel. While this is a little cringeworthy, all is not lost! You'd better believe it when I say that the final THREE MINUTES of this song are devoted to a Latimer guitar solo. Boy, can he play his instrument. Not a terrible song at all, but I preferred Down on the Farm.

You Make Me Smile is a very cute song indeed. With verses in 3/4 it's also a little odd, but still an enjoyable poppy track.

Hold on, we're near the end a Camel album, but it feels like we're missing something. Do you know what it is? That's right, an instrumental! Camel's obligatory instrumental The Sleeper is quite a complex proggy workout indeed, and very enjoyable to hear after so much pop! There are fantastic time signature changes, and great musicianship on all parts.

Last AND least, comes Rainbow's End. The singing on this track is horrible, and the melody doesn't have much substance to it. We leave the album with a slightly sour taste.

After writing this review, I've found that I enjoyed that album a lot more than I thought I did before. This is actually better stuff than 'Rain Dances' to be honest. 'Rain Dances' has a heavier and more serious feel to it, with it's five instrumental tracks, and I just don't find them good enough. With 'Breathless' everything is far less serious, and the pop stuff can be quite good, not to mention the incredible Echoes. I'd give this a good 7/10, as it really isn't bad at all. Unfortunately though, this is my final installment in my list of Camel reviews (for now anyway). Maybe one day, I'll feel rich enough to fork out for 'I Can See Your House From Here', but until then, I have better albums to spend my cash on.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Most Camel fans seem to have a tendency to shrug this album as being of lesser quality than their earlier releases, but I don't agree. This album is different in that it utilizes a more polished and radio friendly sound with a stronger presence of vocals, has all the classic Camel properties that were so readily apparent on previous releases. Richard Sinclair often provides bass and vocals on this record, which gives them even more of a Caravan feel. The songs on this album are individually less progressive than classic Camel tracks, but "Echoes" is a great song that has become one of their most popular and includes many spacey changes, and "Down on the Farm" is a favorite of mine with it's goofy lyrics and bouncy playing (this song especially sounds like a Caravan reject).

Though many people disregard this Camel album as being great, I definitely think it is. It's a bit more commercial and radio friendly, but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. I highly recommend this to Camel fans with an open mind and Canterbury scene fans alike.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Breathless is a step up from Rain Dances, but still finds Camel in an awkward transitional state - this time including some honest-to-goodness into disco and funk territory in the form of Summer Lightning and You Make Me Smile. There's decent instrumental work on some tracks, such as Echoes, so lovers of Caravan's older symphonic style aren't left completely uncatered-to, whilst Down On the Farm recalls the lighter, more comedic songs from Richard Sinclair's tenure in Caravan.

On the whole, I'd say the first half of this album is a notch better than Rain Dances, and the second half more or less keeps up the same standard. It took a while to grow on me - not least because initial CD mixes seem to be a bit lackadaisical, but the Esoteric remaster teases out depths to the album I hadn't noticed before. You'll likely be disappointed if you wanted straight symphonic prog from this, but the more of a taste for late-1970s progressive pop I develop, the more I enjoy this album, and you can see it as one of those intriguing "missing link" albums between golden age symphonic prog and early neo-prog.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars 1978. When record executives filled with white powder mistook their ability to hobnob with celebrities, while raking in millions from fans of cheaply produced punk and disco, as a sign of genius. So the edict was passed down: complex, challenging music must be ridiculed, and eradicated from the major labels.

Don't get me wrong, Camel on this album did keep a small amount of their prog roots, more than I have sometimes accepted by other artists as a member of the Crossover team. But up against any of their previous albums, this one is a disappointment.

The greater involvement of Richard Sinclair adds more of a Canterbury feel, and Mel Collins, of course, brings some elegance to the wind and reed parts, but with one exception, the songs are a too laden with simplistic, forgettable composition, and unremarkable lyrics.

The nadir is Summer Lightening, which might have been tolerable had they not had Andy Ward back the song with an insipid drumbeat, popularly known in those days as "the disco suck".

The one bright spot is The Sleeper, the only throwback to the band's glory days. A great track, a good reason for the prog fan to pick up a copy of the album, but only at a very good price.

Review by Matti
3 stars I have "inherited" this vinyl from my sister, and as my vinyl collection is not so big, I have still listened to this album from time to time, though usually skipping half of it. (And when I tried some oil painting as a teenager, this cover art was the first thing I made a copy of.)

So, this is an album in the CAMEL discography that I feel I should like more than I do. The preceeding Rain Dances, the jazziest Camel album (with the singing bassist Richard Sinclair bringing some Canterbury feel) is among my very favourites, and the 1979 album I Can See Your House From Here - featuring keyboardist Kit Watkins from HAPPY THE MAN - is also enjoyable, despite some throwaway pop songs. Breathless is very light-hearted, airy, jazzy, and most of the time, so goddamn lame.

'Breathless' is a totally toothless, light pop song; sounds pretty but goes absolutely nowhere. I have always liked Richard Sinclair's elegant voice, which is best presented on CARAVAN's In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971), but it's tied here with lousy songwriting. 'Down on the Farm', happy and humorous hommage to coutrylife, gets just boring with the chorus repetition.

Tracks like 'Wing and a Prayer' and 'You Make Me Smile' also remain lazy and half-baked. 'Summer Lightning' even features a cheesy disco feel, but the guitar solo in the end is lovely. The calm closing song 'Rainbow's End' wouldn't be so bad if the thin singing wasn't so terrible.

Two 7-minute tracks are the prog highlights in this pop oriented album: 'Echoes' and 'The Sleeper'. These are good compositions even on the general Camel scale, but there are too many weak tracks to give more than 2― stars. Rounded up for the happy atmosphere and a nice cover.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 78

Camel is, in my humble opinion and unfortunately, an underrated band in the progressive rock world, probably due to the simplicity of their music. For Camel, create music is a very simple thing. A bunch of guys, with guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, are capable to create clear and simple melodies with changes of rhythm and variations, all over the songs, with great creativity and improvisation. This is all very simple, nothing hidden, everything is visible and with no tricks. The result is music with very high quality, simplicity and beauty. However, that never changed the fact that Camel always was regarded as one of the most creative and respected bands in the progressive rock music.

So, no wonder that Camel's music continues influencing many other musicians, even in our days. The Opeth's front man Mikael Akerfeldt, has stated many times that Camel is one of the major influences in his music. For instance, the song "Benighted" from Opeth's fourth studio album "Still Life" released in 1999, has some resemblance to Camel's song "Never Let Go" and the song "Ending Credits" from Opeth's seventh studio album "Damnation" released in 2003, has also extraordinary similarities with the usual sound of Camel. "Endings Credits" represents his homage to Camel.

"Breathless" is the sixth studio album of Camel and was released in 1978. It's the last album from the group that features the band's original keyboardist Peter Bardens, who unfortunately left the band before the tour of the album. It ended with one of the best duos of progressive rock composers ever. It seems that Andrew Latimer and Bardens conflicted frequently during the recording of their previous fifth studio album "Rain Dances" released in 1977. Those tensions would come to an end during the making of "Breathless". Once it was completed, Bardens quit the group.

"Breathless" has nine tracks. The first track is the title track "Breathless". It was written by Latimer, Bardens and Andy Ward and represents one of the most beautiful and melodic songs, with a touch of pop, that I've ever listen to from a progressive band. This is an excellent example how a progressive group can make a really good pop song. The second track "Echoes" also written by Latimer, Bardens and Ward is a typical Camel's song and represents one of the most progressive songs on the album. It's a song with great Latimer's guitar working. It's certainly the best track on the album. This is Camel at their best. The third track "Wing And A Prayer" written by Latimer and Bardens is another song with a touch of pop and it has some similarities with the opener track "Breathless". However, for me, it's a less good song despite have a very good and interesting Mel Collins' saxophone working. The fourth track "Down On The Farm" written by Richard Sinclair is a humorous song, but it doesn't sounds as a Camel's song. Sincerely, it sounds more like a Caravan's song, which is very natural given his previous connection with that group. Bardens didn't like the song and he doesn't play it. It seems that he was right, because despite being not a bad song, it has nothing to do with Camel's sound. It should never be recorded by Camel. The fifth track "Starlight Ride" written by Latimer and Bardens is a song that sounds very different and it has a sort of a melancholic style. It's a pretty short track, but sincerely, the final result is a forgettable song. The sixth track "Summer Lightning" written by Latimer and Sinclair is another track with a touch of pop music with a repetitive dancing rhythm. It has some good Latimer's guitar solos which make of it an interesting track. The seventh track "You Make Me Smile" written by Latimer and Bardens is one of the more popish songs of the album and it has also a repetitive dancing rhythm. This is probably the weakest and the most disappointing song on the album. It doesn't make me smile at all. The eighth track "The Sleeper" written by Latimer, Bardens, Ward and Collins is an instrumental song and is the other progressive track of the album. Despite it sounds to a Camel's song with a slightly jazzy touch, it isn't as good as "Echoes" is. The ninth track "Rainbow's End" written by Latimer and Bardens ends the album nicely. It's a short song very calm and melancholic with beautiful chorus and good musical arrangements. In the end, "Rainbow's End", closes the album with a certain beautiful musical style.

Conclusion: "Breathless" is, without any kind of doubt, the weakest Camel's album released by this magnificent duo of musicians and composers Latimer and Bardens unfortunately. However, in my humble opinion, "Breathless" is far way from being a bad album. It has some good songs and it has also some others, which are interesting. I recommend strongly "Echoes" and "The Sleeper", which are definitely the two best and most progressive tracks on the album. But unfortunately, it has also "You Make Me Smile" with its dreadful disco sound, which is definitely the lower point of the album. So, the highlights are so few that can't make of it a great album. But unfortunately, "Breathless" represents also the Bardens' farewell to the band, the band that he left, but where he will be connected forever. And as a consequence of his departure, Camel could never be the same again, despite the excellence of their sound of the 90's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by patrickq
2 stars Although I won't quibble with Camel being classified as Symphonic Prog, I have to agree with some recent reviewers, who point out that, due to Richard Sinclair's presence, Breathless leans more toward Canterbury. I also appreciate judahbenkenobi's remarks on the disco elements of the album. Only a couple of tracks have much of a disco flavor, and it's pretty restrained - - nothing like what Queen ("Another One Bites the Dust") would soon release. Nonetheless, this bears little resemblance to, say, Mirage, either in style or in quality.

It seems important to point out that I like a lot of disco music, and it wouldn't bother me in the least for Camel to have put out a disco album, or even an album with a handful of disco songs - - if they were good songs, or at least if they were interesting songs. While there are some high points on some of the instrumental sections ("Echoes" and "The Sleeper" come to mind), and while Sinclair can be amusing at times ("Down on the Farm"), Breathless sounds more like the product of a contractual obligation than the result of the kind of inspiration that spawned Mirage or In the Land of Grey and Pink.

Breathless is not a bad album. However, I can't say it's a good album either, so I rate it two stars on the Prog Archives scale. Maybe give it a listen if you're already paying for it on your streaming service. Otherwise, go for earlier Camel or Caravan.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Well, I can to say that this disc surprised me negatively. I feel like there's no band identity on this record. I didn't understand the proposal, there doesn't seem to be a concept which makes the album lose any magic. Having chosen the idea of ​​several subjects mischaracteriz ... (read more)

Report this review (#2858626) | Posted by Brazil Proger | Saturday, December 17, 2022 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Review #130 "Breathless" is the album that made me start losing interest in CAMEL's discography: probably not their worst record but definitely the first not good one. The songs here are average Pop: "Summer lightning" and "You make me smile" are kind of disco music while tracks as "Wing and pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2631858) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Sunday, November 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Breathles is one of those often maligned prog albums of the late 70s but for me this one and 'Raindances' is the place to go if you happen to miss the classic Caravan sound, they lost after 'For girls...' Right from the start warm Sinclair's voice in slighly jazzy and pretty title track gives you ... (read more)

Report this review (#2522965) | Posted by Artik | Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars REVIEW #6 - "Breathless" by Camel, (1978) Lets begin by just admitting that 1978 was a pretty awful year for progressive rock. As the genre faded out of the mainstream and both disco and punk emerged, many bands were forced to abandon the sounds that made their music good and adopt personas t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2488743) | Posted by PacificProghead | Tuesday, December 29, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I own virtually ALL of the recorded Camel material, and if I had to compile a Top Five Songs list of the group, two of those five songs would come from THIS album alone: "Echoes" (my favorite Camel song of all time!) and "The Sleeper". We diehard Camel fans will usually admit that it's the instru ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441932) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars My final review of a Camel album because I don't really care for any of the albums after this one so I don't have them. Some fans don't rate Breathless either, and whilst I admit it's a drop in quality from what has gone before, there's still some good stuff here, and only one song that really s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2374370) | Posted by AlanB | Saturday, April 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Breathless seems to divide opinion. I've been a huge fan of Camel since I first heard Snowgoose in 1980, and I'm very fond of Breathless. The band had started to fracture with it's move to a lighter, slighlty sound incorporating jazz elements. Quite different from those great early albums bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2237139) | Posted by somtam | Wednesday, July 10, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars "Moonmadness" was my first Camel experience. I loved it, so I decided to listen to their albums in a chronological, more realistic way. I grew more and more in love with Camel as I traveled forward in time... Until I reached "Breathless". I have read in a dozen of Camel's biographies that dur ... (read more)

Report this review (#2137555) | Posted by judahbenkenobi | Monday, February 18, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The most solid "weak" album I've heard A lot of people like to hate on this album, claiming it is "too poppy" or "not real Camel" and I'll admit I felt the same for quite some time. But over the countless listens to this album i've grown to like it. In fact, I recommend it highly for fans of ... (read more)

Report this review (#1938071) | Posted by TheDapperFactor | Saturday, June 9, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you are as likely to spin a pop or jazz or r&b record as a progressive record, I think this is the album for you. For me, the songs blend seamlessly, touching on prog, pop, jazz, even disco and new wave themes. The opener is a pastoral pop selection with jangling guitars and a lovely sounds ... (read more)

Report this review (#471329) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What to rate this album was very difficult for me personally. I can only pick full numbers, but if I could I would give this album three-and-a-half stars. Breathless is the final album to feature late keyboardist Peter Bardens (although he did appear on The Single Factor) because of tension in ... (read more)

Report this review (#368411) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With Rain Dances Camel had started their so called second form which included Richard Sinclair on bass instead of Doug Ferguson. Rain Dances was indeed an excellent album and the success Camel gained especially on the Rain Dances-tour was bigger than expected because of the punk/disco explosion. ... (read more)

Report this review (#350044) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One thing this album has is variety! There are a lot of different styles and each song is different from the next. There are poppier songs on here too but there's something catchy about them and it's somehow hard to compare the style to anyone else. I must say that not all pop is bad and there's a n ... (read more)

Report this review (#308643) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, November 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is 5-star CAMEL ! As of now, the rating of this album on this site is 3.01 which draws my attention. Actually, I can understand why this album was not appreciated when it was released, but if you listen now, I believe that many prog fans will like the sound as it has a good balance betwe ... (read more)

Report this review (#307646) | Posted by Katsuhisa | Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Quite an erratic affair, which reminds me of Duke by GENESIS, another album with 50 percent masterpieces and the rest pop tunes of varying quality. Maybe a third of this album stands up to their earlier albums (including Rain Dances which I am one of the few who rate as high as their first th ... (read more)

Report this review (#291420) | Posted by Frasse | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The perfect fusion of Prog, Pop, Jazz, and Canterbury. I only discovered Camel 3 years ago. The first Camel album I listened to was Mirage. I was an instant fan. For the next year, I enjoyed their first 4 albums. I was hesitant to listen to anything they recorded after Moondances because of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#286539) | Posted by terpsfan101 | Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Okay, here is Camel review #4 as I work my way through their large collection. Breathless seems to be a real splitter among Camel fans. Some seem to hate it and give a saving grace for only 1 song. I am not in that camp. THis may not be the best Camel ever did, but it has it's charms. "Breath ... (read more)

Report this review (#271213) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Althrough this album is a little bit poppy at some parts, there's no doubt it is a prog album. There are not as many instrumental parts as before, but the characteristic atmospheres are kept. It's a great soft- prog album to relax with, with nice guitars, atmospheric keyboards and some good flut ... (read more)

Report this review (#205367) | Posted by Eastvillage | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album didn't left me breathless, but still... 'Breathless', 'Wing and a Prayer', 'Starlight Ride' and 'You Make me Smile' aren't very interesting, but they don't sound unpleasant, though. Summer Lightning starts a bit poppy, but the guitar solo at the end of the song is magnificent. Echoes ... (read more)

Report this review (#193278) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Sunday, December 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While Rain Dances was the first step into the jazz territory and a very succesful one, Breathless is a step forward with more wider orientations, incorporating some funk and pop elements into the palette. While not better, in any way, from the previous album Breathless still has very good moments a ... (read more)

Report this review (#192670) | Posted by Silent Knight | Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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