Camel
Nude


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (110 Reviews)
July 14th, 2016 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nude represents the return of Camel to conceptual albums. It represents also the return of the band to the great classic albums from Camel.

“Nude” is the eighth studio album of Camel and was released in 1981. The line up on the album is Andrew Latimer, Colin Bass and Andy Ward. The album had also the participation of Mel Collins, Duncan Mackay, Jan Schelhaas, Kit Watkins, Chris Green, Gasper Lawal and Herbie Flowers.


“Nude” was the first album of Camel that features all the lyrics by the future Latimer’s wife, Susan Hoover, except “Please Come Home”, which has lyrics by Andrew. Unfortunately, “Nude” was the last Camel’s album that features their original drummer, Ward. In the mid of the year of 1981 Andy stopped playing drums due to abuse of alcohol and drugs. Some years later it emerged that Ward had attempted suicide. So, Latimer remained the only founding member of the group in activity as the original band’s line up. This was also the last album with this line up. Their next ninth studio album “The Single Factor”, released in 1982, has a completely new line up, where Latimer is the sole remaining member of the band. In a certain way, we can consider “The Single Factor” essentially a solo Latimer’s musical working. Curiously, it has also the presence of their original keyboardist, Peter Bardens, but only as a guest musician.

With “Nude”, Camel returned to conceptual albums. The concept of “Nude” is based on a strange and surrealistic story, but a true story, about a Japanese soldier, Lt. Hiroo Onoda. The name of the album “Nude” derives from his family name Onoda. “Nude” tells us the story of a Japanese soldier who is separated on a Pacific island of his unit during the WW2. He survived in the Philippines island of Lubang until 1974 not knowing that the war had ended. So, he finally was persuaded that the war was over, after his former commanding officer from Japan fly over the island and talk with him and persuading him to surrender. After that, he has been received at home as a hero. However, he no longer manages to get along in the daily life and he finally disappeared by boat, returning to his island, the place he knew so well.

Musically, “Nude” describes perfectly well the life of the Japanese soldier Onoda, before the war, his life in the army, his loss, his life in the island, his feelings about his return to his country and his family, and finally, despite being well received, his lack of adaptation after the war. This incredible episode makes me wonder how our lives can be radically changed by a strange event and that we are animals of habits with some difficulty of adaptation to new situations.

Mostly instrumental, for me, this was a return of Camel to their original roots and a move away from the more commercial sounding of their previous recent albums. On a first listen it doesn’t bode well for a listener expecting the textures of progressive rock, and the rest of the album can seem uninvolving. But with frequent listens you will most likely find that this is because there is a very dense and varied collection of music on “Nude”. The album opens with the generic AOR “City Life” but the album never lets down. “Drafted” is stuffed with great melodies and guitar themes of the classic Camel kind, and proved beyond any doubt, that the band was back at their best. Then, you’re in for a series of lengthy and complex instrumental passages (about 70% of the album is instrumental), which perfectly captures the drama and atmosphere of the conceptual story. It reminds me “The Snow Goose”, the only other Camel's album that can rival with “Nude” when it comes to sweeping, symphonic and atmospheric soundscapes. There's lots of flute on the quiet parts, and there are even some ethnic rhythms on “Changing Places”, to illustrate the jungle. “Reflection” represents Latimer at his most magic, and will again make you think of the most beautiful and relaxed parts from “The Snow Goose”. “Lies” is a strong vocal track that somewhat resembles Pink Floyd, and Mackay delivered a solo organ to prove that he could understand what were the kind of keyboards that a progressive rock band should use in the 80's.


Conclusion: As many of you know, the overall idea of progressive music produced in the 80's, for most hardcore progressive fans, tend to disown the decade and pretend that it didn’t exist. “Nude” represents the return of the band to Camel’s classic albums. Just when you thought that Camel had joined to the other major progressive rock bands of the 70's in a hopeless search for a commercial and pop oriented style, they returned with their best, most symphonic and progressive work, since “Moonmadness”. And they did it in a time when absolutely nobody had expected it. It’s true it isn’t as spacey as their earlier albums. However, I think it’s quite atmospheric and that it was able of creating its own musical ambient. The musicianship on this album is stellar, utilizing symphonies, vibraphones, and yes, it has even a saxophone. It’s one of the best progressive albums of the 80’s in a very troubled musical period to the progressive rock music. “Nude” doesn't need to hide behind masterpieces like “Mirage”. It's better than much of what was served to us by other progressive bands in that period. Just think in “Abacab” of Genesis, which was published in the same year.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As I promised, here it is the review of "Nude". As usual your comments are always very welcome.

TheIntruder
July 14th 2016


404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another great review, man. I loved especially the story of the concept. What an amazing story. I really appreciate it. Pos.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm very glad you liked it Intruder. Some think that I'm very focused in the concept and I have less attention to the music. As I explained to Jethro in "The Snow Goose", in my point of view, the story is at least as important as the music on a conceptual album. So, this is the main reason why I give so much importance to de story on the conceptual albums.

It was really a pleasure to talk with you.

Cheers.

TheIntruder
July 14th 2016


404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem, man.

"the story is at least as important as the music on a conceptual album".

Agreed.

Cheers, too. Continue the good working.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Once again, thanks. You're always welcome, dude.

bnelso55
July 14th 2016


1323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos'd! This isn't often considered to be one of Camel's "classics", but I still think it's a great album.

bnelso55
July 14th 2016


1323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've always liked how Camel used the concept record as a means to establish central moods and themes for so many of their albums. For me, the discographies of so many bands blend together, similar ideas all headed in a similar direction, but Camel's approach helps differentiate each album from the next and there are so many standouts as a result.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree, bnelso.

Of course this isn't a classic album of Camel, but it's still very good, their best of the 80's.

"the discographies of so many bands blend together, similar ideas all headed in a similar direction, but Camel's approach helps differentiate each album from the next and there are so many standouts as a result."

Once more I agree. I always thought that Camel is a very special band. Despite the similarities with some of their counterparts, they always follow a very own path. Even in the 80's, their discography isn't properly bad. By the other hand, their discography of the 90's is really very good, a kind of a return of the old times with a more modern feel.

Thanks for your comments and pos.

Cheers.

bnelso55
July 14th 2016


1323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

their best of the 80's.[2]

Definitely. Their 80s era isn't awful. It's just that most of it pales in comparison to the rest of their output. And yeah, their return to form in the 90s in excellent.



e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Once more I agree. But this is the problem with almost of the prog bands of the 70's in the 80's. Anyway, comparing Camel with many other prog bands, they passed by the 80's with a certain elegance.

bnelso55
July 14th 2016


1323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

they passed by the 80's with a certain elegance.

Definitely agree. I can think of few prog bands that passed relatively unscathed through that era, but Camel is certainly one of them.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Again we are in the same boat, man.

TheIntruder
July 14th 2016


404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"they passed by the 80's with a certain elegance."

Agree. Definitely very few bands were able of do that.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now, we are three in the same boat. Great. Fantastic.



Jethro42
July 14th 2016


15635 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Count me in, bud ;)

I really like your review. You equally describe the album's concept, and you also talk about the music and how the album sounds like. I personally think the album could have used more energetic (and beautiful) songs like ''Docks'' and ''Beached''. In the middle of the album, there are too many calmed down songs, and it breaks the flow in my opinion. The opener ''City Life'' seems out of place. Drums sound like a beat machine with no cymbals, no hi-hats at all. Song would not be out of place in Single Factor. I really like ''Drafted'' and ''Lies'' too, but again, album is missing of those kinds of tracks. I have to relisten to see if my rating could go up.

And again, the concept is really interesting and touching. Once we know about it, it makes the music more beautiful, more appealing still.

smaugman
July 14th 2016


4934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice stuff buddy

smaugman
July 14th 2016


4934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The last farewell is bliss tho jethro

Sabrutin
July 14th 2016


5965 Comments


"the story is at least as important as the music on a conceptual album"

Agreed. Maybe not really as important as the music itself but it's really important since it greatly influences how the listeners should interpret what is being played. Honestly this is something I often apply to anything. If a track features lyrics, then they must mean something and deserve to be explored. Obviously there are cases where they aren't as important, but having good lyrics (or simply a story/reason that inspired the music) is never a flaw.

Pos

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jethro

So, it seems that we are four in the same boat.

"I personally think the album could have used more energetic (and beautiful) songs like ''Docks'' and ''Beached''."

Probably you're right buddy. This is the main reason I give to it 4 and not 5 as I did with "The Snow Goose".

"The opener ''City Life'' seems out of place."

Maybe you are also right. However, I don't know if it was intentional by Latimer. In reality, "City Life" is the track that shows the lack of adaptation of Onoda in his "new" life.

"Drums sound like a beat machine with no cymbals."

You are also right. But we mustn't forget that in the 80's it was very usual the use of electronic drums instead the traditional drumming working.

"I have to relisten to see if my rating could go up."

Do that man. Perhaps you can change a bit your opinion. Anyway, 3.5 is a very good rating to this album, I think.

Thanks man for your comments.

Cheers, mate.

e210013
July 14th 2016


2206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ smaugman.

Yeah, the last farewell is a bliss to me, too.

Thanks, dude.



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