Camel's fourth record Moonmadness is generally regarded as one of their best efforts. After the success of The Snow Goose, the band undertook the daunting task of a follow-up. Written quickly between tours, the focus remained on the instrumental flair and songwriting of Pete Bardens and Andy Latimer. With Rhett Davies now manning production, the album opens with "Aristillus" (which should explain something about the US cover), a short track featuring Bardens's synthesizer work. "Song Within a Song" barely resurrects vocals, with Doug Ferguson taking the mic here. "Chord Changes" starts lively and then finds Camel back to playing the blues. Bardens's organ and Latimer's lead guitar exchange over a slow tempo that just so happens to sound a lot like Focus; but it's a welcome return to their earlier jam band feel, especially after the highly-arranged construct of their last album. But wait, "Spirit of the Water" sounds like a Snow Goose outtake (except with Bardens on vocals). "Another Night," also released as a single, highlights both the band's interplay (even the rhythm section gets into the foray) and Latimer's lyrical guitar work. It's a good example of Camel at their best. Latimer's flute features prominently on "Air Born," another well-arranged track that showcases the band's lighter, easy-going side. "Lunar Sea" is a fiercer workout, supported by a firm bass line from Ferguson, and even ventures towards jazz-rock. The album was their most successful chart-wise, reaching No. 15 in the UK and becoming a best-seller in the US. However, Ferguson left the band shortly thereafter. He would be replaced by Richard Sinclair, previously with Hatfield and the North.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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