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CAMEL Moonmadness Universal (2009)


With the instrumental concept piece that was 'The Snow Goose' out of their systems and mercifully well received, symphonic proggers Camel returned to the studio in early 1976 to forge this more traditional effort that was to prove their highest charting release, peaking at No. 15 in the UK.

Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens' terribly English vocals are a tad wheeny but still complement melodic soundscapes otherwordly, distant, lovely and almost scholarly in the precision delivery.

It's very much of its time but endearingly so with some of the band's most memorable material from scene-setting 'Aristillus' and the pretty 'Spirit Of The Water' to more trademark, extended workouts in 'Air Born' and stonking sign-off instrumental, 'Lunar Sea' (ho ho).

Thirty plus years on, 'Moonmadness' has been out more often than in, but Universal's 2009 2CD reissue is the definitive one: bonus tracks include a single cut of 'Another Night' and contemporary concert performances are exacting and well-drilled yet still thrill.

Disc 2 is brimming with further previously unreleased live performance from the album and predecessors in the sprightly form of 'Lady Fantasy' and 'The White Rider'. This genre of music can instill lethargy after extended play but there's no plodding here. Camel rocked.


Review by Peter Muir

Peter Muir presents "Progressive Rock Fusion" on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 19:00, Monday 19:00

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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