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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Camel

Nude

Review by Gary Hill

For those who have never heard Camel, they are revered as a great progressive rock band. Well, I have to admit, this is the only disc from them I’ve heard. I’d have to say that I agree with the prog part, but barely – and I do agree with the great part. This music wanders between Floyd, Alan Parsons and Supertramp with some other elements (including healthy dosages of new age) thrown in here and there. It’s a concept album and quite a listenable and entertaining one at that.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
City Life

The opening portion of this is considerably mellow. It makes me think of early Pink Floyd. The cut works out to more of a mainstream pop rock sound after that.  There is a hint of a fusion element at times on the instrumental section later.

Nude

This short instrumental is very pretty and classically oriented. It segues straight into the next number.

Drafted

The vocal line here reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd. The music is pretty and balladic and this is moody and quite strong. I suppose the music is rather Floyd-like, too – but in a keyboard dominated way at first. Guitar rises up after a time and carries on the evocative ballad style started at the onset. It shifts out to a bouncy proggy number that reminds me at times of Supertramp and at other times of Saga. They take us through an intriguing instrumental break and then seem to combine the earlier Floydian elements with those more pop rock prog stylings.

Docks

This instrumental is a rocker that combines a Pink Floyd type section (with some funk and blues thrown in) with alternating Genesis-like movements and even some segments that call to mind Emerson Lake and Palmer. It’s dramatic, powerful and the most fully progressive rock oriented thing we’ve heard to this point. It gets pretty intense and segues into the next number.

Beached

As this comes in it continues many of the musical themes of the last piece. They take us on a killer instrumental journey from there working some serious progressive rock textures. At times you might think of Pink Floyd. At other points Genesis will come to mind. All in all, though, this track is uniquely Camel and very tasty. They even give us some fusion along this route.

Landscapes

Brief and pretty, this is a gentle instrumental number.

Changing Places

Another instrumental this has an organic, tribal world music texture. It’s nice and what could easily be called “new age.”

Pomp & Circumstance

This is a pretty piece of music that has a bit of a martial beat at the end. It’s another instrumental and another that could pass for new age.

Please Come Home

Here’s a short little number with vocals. It’s a more pop oriented sound, but yet there’s a moody ambience, too.

Reflections

Another instrumental, this is a short, pretty and rather new age like number.

Captured

Coming straight out of the previous one a picked guitar melody starts this and it rises rather like Pink Floyd. Symphonic elements join and then they rock out a bit in the style of Alan Parsons Project. There’s a cool saxophone solo and this is another where I can hear some Supertramp at times. It’s got quite a few proggy turns and you might also make out some Genesis on this. It’s another instrumental.

Homecoming

Take a bombastic marching band sound and combine it with musical elements found on the rest of the disc. This is another instrumental and it’s rather light, but not to the point of new age.

Lies

Here’s a killer rocker that’s got a lot of Pink Floyd in the mix. There’s also some jazz and other elements. It’s definitely a highlight of the set.

Birthday Cake

This short instrumental is balladic and pretty and runs straight into the next piece.

Nude's Return
Coming out of the last one this has some Genesis and Marillion-like tendencies. It’s another instrumental and closes out the disc in nice fashion.
 
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