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Camel - A Nod And A Wink

Camel - A Nod And A WinkThirty years is a long time.  A very long time for a band to be churning out prog albums.  Yet somehow Camel still manage to produce albums to match or better their previous work and A Nod And A Wink is no exception.

Interestingly, a few different styles have been incorporated on this album alongside the distinctive Camel signature.  The title track starts with a subdued Hacketty Clocks overlaid with flute in a sensitive manner.  Acoustic guitar accompanies soft vocal, which at the end of the first two verses turns into a Mellotron-sounding wash with flute.  Then the pace picks up with a typical full Camel approach pausing only for a long third verse followed by more instrumental with element of Floydian guitar and keyboard.  Simple Pleasures has a bluesy feel about it with superb Latimer guitar work. A Boy’s Life begins with a short reflective vocal leading to a wistful instrumental until 4 minutes in speed up in an uplifting way.  Remember those humorous tracks that Genesis did?  Harold The Barrel, Get ‘Em Out By Friday etc.?  Fox Hill is in that vein and it works – love the Trick Of The Tail like keys and bass over the vocals, and the lengthy instrumental that follows which reminds me of the album Nude.  The end of the track sounds a little of Tull with flute, acoustic guitar and percussion and, for a moment, vocals akin to Ian Anderson’s.  The Miller’s Tale has a hint of Anthony Philips’ The Geese And The Ghost, the shortest track on the album but beautifully delicate.  Squigely Fair is an almost purely instrumental affair with oodles of enthusiastic flute.  Final track, For Today, carries the poignant message for everyone, especially after September 11th, to always live for today.  The Wish You Were Here style tempo lends itself to the nature of the song.

I had to listen to this album three times before it made its mark, and I admit I am a Camel fan.  The album, dedicated to the late Peter Bardens, as a whole has a pastoral effect; foxes, fairs etc. plus the gentle twittering of birds at the beginning and end of tracks. In general, it is an upbeat album with delicate compositions, yet not devoid of more energetic moments.  Would I recommend it?  That’s a question you shouldn’t ask a Camel fan, as the answer would always be a resounding YES.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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