Camel
Breathless


3.5
great

Review

by Killerhit USER (39 Reviews)
May 16th, 2013 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Old as the hills, Young just like the rising sun.

Caravan’s transformation with Richard Sinclair did not last long, at all – the gloomy bassist’s rather stark appearance in the events preceding Rain Dances’s history and the vague burst of pop that came with it did not seem to last long, for Breathless was the last album that Sinclair did, and yet to this day the reasons for his departure are vague and confusing. It is possible that through power struggles and arguments over which direction to take Camel that led to his prompt departure, though some sources believe the band was under a lot of pressure from the record company to head in a more commercial direction, and Sinclair was not happy with what was proposed. Excluding Sinclair, Breathless is all the more important because it was the last album that original keyboardist Peter Bardens was involved with, due to creative differences with Andrew Latimer; despite this, the two mutually agreed that he should depart, and from thence Bardens left.

So here we have an album that ultimately led to one key member’s departure, and one outlander’s departure, but even after all this time Breathless isn’t that bad. It featured many signs of a band preparing to depart from their progressive roots, but it enjoys a quite robust sound because it is full of life. The opening title track kicks the album off well, injecting energy-filled guitar work next to some very uplifting and pretty lyrics, and this track is adjacent to the great “Echoes”, an obvious slice of old, Mirage-esque Camel: the crafty and complex use of its jazzy rhythms, driven by a 4/4 keyboard and power chords that make it something of a storm of music – something undeniably sophisticated but colorful at the same time.

The primary drawback here, though, is that the album will climb to greatness but will spend the same amount of time drolling through bland and monotonous pop songs or buildups. “Summer Lightning”, while pleasant enough, contains far too much of a near-80’s groove that contains a significant lack of variation up until Latimer’s solo. That same tedium comes back with “You Make Me Smile” directly afterwards, easily the least impressive track on the entire LP because of its mediocre bass line and very generic melody that would become a problem in some Camel albums to follow. Which is unfortunate considering the sincerity put forth in songs such as the elegant “Starlight Ride” and the tumultuous collision of instruments that is “The Sleeper”.

Breathless is an album that suffers the exactly same problems as many of the great 70’s progressive rock bands – they began going forward into mainstream music, and the departure of Peter Bardens and Richard Sinclair because of creative differences really emphasized this point. This is unfair to Breathless, though, because the whole thing is actually very good.



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user ratings (106)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
ProgressiveTheory (3.5)
Breathless from Camel gives the listener a wide range of styles and sounds: a combination of commerc...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
May 16th 2013


72077 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review raven

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ViperAces
May 16th 2013


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

love the camel reviews lately

BigPleb
May 16th 2013


37508 Comments


The title track and Echoes are fantastic.

Piglet
May 16th 2013


4662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album art is the decor of prog hell

Killerhit
May 16th 2013


5254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sounds accurate enough

JokineAugustus
June 12th 2013


6321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good Album. Kinda surprised me. Might up this to a 4 with more listens.

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ViperAces
June 12th 2013


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

too much shit songs for that

JokineAugustus
June 12th 2013


6321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its better than Rain Dances IMO.

OmairSh
August 23rd 2013


11915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rip Pete Bardens and Andy Ward is missed

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conesmoke
August 23rd 2013


5274 Comments


not enough mooncamels on this one.

DrHouseSchuldiner
August 23rd 2013


5643 Comments


its not bad album rly ....its just not that consistently great tho

JokineAugustus
June 10th 2014


6321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the sleeper almost makes me 4 this alone

smaugman
August 16th 2014


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Summer Lightning makes me wanna jizz out my ears

Mythodea
September 10th 2014


1477 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable album, second half is better imo. Both 'The Sleeper' and 'Summer Lightning' are great, relaxing tunes. Echoes as well is nice. On the other hand, I mildly like 'Wing and a Prayer' and 'Rainbow's End', the first one being monotonous and uninteresting, and the latter having an annoying ''Raaaainbow's, RAIIIIIINbow's'' poppy refrain.


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MeatSalad
September 10th 2014


14900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A true masterpiece

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ViperAces
September 10th 2014


12485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

agreed

OmairSh
September 10th 2014


11915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was just jamming this a while back, what a coincidence



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