Review Summary: Unique and skillfully composed, The Snow Goose is a journey rather than an album.
Camel’s third record (Music Inspired by) The Snow Goose
is a rather unique entry in their discography. Following the positive experience of the Lord of the Rings
-inspired White Rider
suite which appeared on Mirage
, the band sought to further explore the creation of conceptual, storytelling compositions. Eventually they settled on Paul Gallico’s novel The Snow Goose
as a basis for their entire next album. What makes the record even more of an odd bird (no pun intended) is that it tells the story without the use of any language: instrumental themes are woven together into a 43-minute suite, and the little vocals that are used are all wordless.
Now, as both of their previous showed, Camel’s type of music never was too focused on the vocal department. It seems only logical that an album such as The Snow Goose
would appear in their bulk of work someday, considering their ability to display mood and emotion with their instruments. If any group could manage to translate a book into a piece of music, it would be Camel.
It isn’t for naught that this is one of the group’s most popular records, many of their fans even citing it as their best. The band did an excellent job on fulfilling the original goal they set for themselves: the entire composition is carefully put together and contains some very memorable themes. Because it is more atmospheric and less energetic than other classic Camel albums, it’s best moments are not as impressive as those on Mirage
, but due to the coherency of the tracks, which often flow into each other, it stands its own against the group’s best two albums very well.
Because the record is entirely instrumental, the listener’s imagination can fill in the story for himself, provided he is not familiar with the book. Each of the twenty movements (within sixteen tracks) has its own niche. The slightly ominous Great Marsh
theme, the quirky and playful Rhayader
, the tranquil Sanctuary
, the emotional title theme and the climatic Epitaph
: they will all not fail to gain your attention.
Describing the music in too much detail would however be a waste, as it is best just to listen. Take a dive into The Snow Goose
, and let it take you away. Camel’s music can take you places, and this is one of their works that shows it best. Original, well composed and always keeping you interested, the group’s third album is another of their greatest accomplishments, and also one of their most accessible ones.
The Snow Goose’s Camel was:
- Andrew Latimer ~ Lead Guitars, Flute, Vocals
- Peter Bardens (R.I.P.) ~ Organs, Moog, Pianos, Synthesizers
- Douglas Ferguson ~ Bass Guitar
- Andrew John Ward ~ Drums, Vibes, Percussion
TO BE CONTINUED...