Camel - Moonmadness (1976)

The opening “Aristillus” may herald a mad moon, but the shrouded shapes cast by "Moonmadness" are old friends we’ve seen in an earlier "Mirage". These songs are slices of the same sleepy exotica that snaked like a wild opiate through the black grooves of their first two albums, "The Snow Goose" being for all intents a downy anomaly. Vocals return, shared again by various band members (Andy Latimer bears the burden of them), each obscured by the familiar veil of the subconscious from whence their muse arises.

As with "Mirage", the music on "Moonmadness" is intoxicating, absorbing, and comforting, using gentle sounds (keyboards, muted bass, flute) to weave a soft fabric scented with the spices of faraway worlds. Within their complete catalog, several of these tracks breathe the rarefied air of prog rock classics: “Song Within A Song", “Chord Change” (with shades of SANTANA and PINK FLOYD to be found), the soaring “Air Born". The remainder of the album is never less than engaging, from the moody “Lunar Sea” (again inviting TANGERINE DREAM as a reference point) to the celebratory “Aristillus". I’ve read that this is a concept album, but some things are better left to the imagination. As with the best of progressive rock, the songs are suggestive of many things, and may transport individual listeners to any number of fantastic landscapes that a map might limit.

The Camel albums that followed were terrestrial excursions, grounded in quasi-conventional structures that made spaceflight difficult. There were isolated moments of magic in them, to be sure, but it’s on "Moonmadness" that the eerie light of inspiration last pervaded an entire album ("Nude" notwithstanding). Note that an alternate version of the cover exists with a CAMEL in a spacesuit. - Review by daveconn (Dave Connolly)

Track Listings

1. Aristilus (1:59)
2. Song Within a Song (6:48)
3. Chord Change (7:18)
4. Spirit of the Water (2:09)
5. Another Night (7:00)
6. Air Born (5:04)
7. Lunar Sea (9:14)

Total Time: 39:32

- Doug Ferguson / bass, lead vocal on 2
- Andy Ward / drums, percussion, voice on 1
- Peter Bardens / keyboards, vocal on 4
- Andy Latimer / guitars, flute, recorder and vocal on 2, 5 and 6
Releases information

LP DECCA TXS-R115 (1976)
Remastered by Decca (A Universal Company) in 2002 with 5 bonus tracks: Another Night (single version) (3:22), Spirit Of The Water (demo) (2:13), Song Within A Song (Live 4-14-1976) (7:11), Lunar Sea (Live 4-14-1976) (9:51), Preparation / Dunkirk (4-14-1976) (9:32).

Download - part 1
Download - part 2

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