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Camel - Rain Dances CD (album) cover

RAIN DANCES

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

3.59 | 818 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rain Dances is the fifth album from Camel. Iīll start this review by saying that Iīm sorry that I put Rain Dances down in my review of Camelīs previous album Moonmadness. It was simply too long since I had listened to Rain Dances the last time and I had a false memory of how it sounded or maybe my taste has just changed. I have listened to Rain Dances many times in the last couple of weeks to be sure that I give it the right rating because this is really an excellent album.

Since Moonmadness there has been a couple of important changes in the lineup. Doug Ferguson has been replaced by Richard Sinclair ( Caravan, Hatfield & the North) on bass and vocals on Tell Me and unevensong ( Together with Andrew Latimer). Richard is a great addition to Camel. He is a much more accomplished musician than Doug Ferguson who had a more simple style. Mel Collins ( King Crimson, Caravan) on Sax has also been added to the ranks. This addition also has great effect on the sound of Camel. Canterbury comes to mind more than one time during Rain Dances.

There are some truly wonderful songs on Rain Dances and even though this is unmistakebly Camel Rain Dances is the most diverse album they have made so far ( Only counting the first five).

The album starts with First Light which is a wonderful instrumental track with the typical melodic guitar leads. Note the new sound on the keyboards from Peter Bardens. Listening to Rain Dances it sounds like Peter has gotten a whole new keyboard rack. One of the few things I donīt care for on Rain Dances appear at the end of First Light and thatīs the wailing sax from Mel Collins. Metrognome is one of my favorite Camel songs. Beautiful simple melody line and a symphonic instrumental chorus. The last more uptempo part of the song has some fast sax playing from Mel Collins and itīs here Canterbury comes to mind. Tell Me is a ballad type song and for once itīs not a cheesy ballad. Tell Me is very beautiful and has a great vocal melody. Simple as Camel has always been but nevertheless beautiful. Highways of the Sun is the single from the album and itīs a bit commercial in the chorus but the rest of the song is really great.

Unevensong is another favorite of mine. This is one of the most progressive songs Camel have ever made IMO. Great vocals, beutiful symphonic arrangements and excellent playing. One of these Days I'll get an early night is an instrumental song with some beautiful melodic soloing. Elke is a subtle beautiful intrumental song with ethnic folky hints ( only hints though). Skylines is another instrumental song with a melodic guitar theme which starts and ends the songs and a great Peter Bardens keyboard solo in the middle. Really enjoyable. The album ends with the title track which is another instrumental. Good but nothing special. I think I hear themes from the other songs played here.

The musicianship on Rain Dances is very special. There is a certain magic here. Just great performances all around.

The production is wonderful. Some might not enjoy the more eighties like production but I find it beautiful.

Camel has made one of their best albums here. Sadly Iīve only recently discovered how special this album really is. Let me put it this way: Rain Dances right now tops the list of my favorite Camel albums over both Mirage and Moonmadness who I used to count as my favorites. Thatīs how much I like it. More than one time I have considered giving Rain Dances all 5 stars, but it does lack that final masterpiece quality that albums like Selling England By the Pound by Genesis, Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull and Close to the Edge by Yes possess. Itīs a big 4 star rating though and a highly recommendable album.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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