Continues the commercial approach, yet with a little more pr
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 01/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I Can See Your House from Here (1979) continues heading in a mainstream direction and features only two of the original band members. As such, it does not sound as Camel-ish as earlier albums - in fact, I really missed the atmospheric synth work of Pete Bardens. Nonetheless, while this album is more commercial sounding, I consider it an improvement over the previous studio album Breathless (1978).
The lineup included long-time members Andrew Latimer (electric and acoustic guitars; flute; and vocals) and Andy Ward (drums); along with new members Jan Schelhaas (Hammond organ, Yamaha CS80, Prophet V, mini moog, Yamaha electric grand piano, grand piano, Solina string synth and EMS Sequencer), ex-Happy the Man member Kit Watkins (Hammond organ, mini-moog, clavinet, Solina string synth, Prophet V, Yamaha CS80, Rhodes electric piano, Yamaha electric grand piano, EMS Sequencer and flute); and Colin Bass (vocals and bass guitar). Joining the core group are Mel Collins (saxophone); Rupert Hine (vocals); and even Phil Collins (percussion). These guys are all great players and the vocals range from excellent to a bit dodgy (as on Neon Magic). The two keyboard player approach works pretty well (Kit is an exceptionally good player).
The nine tracks on the album span in length from 1:04 (Survival) to the 10:10 closing track Ice, which showcases Andy Latimer. Musically, the album presents a mixture of great prog rock and more straightforward tracks that show the band embracing newer musical trends including New Wave (the robotic and angular Remote Romance is a good example). Other styles that I can hear and that were popular at the time include British symphonic pop. Fortunately however, the disco influences were pared back considerably from the Breathless days. My favorite tracks include the delicate and dreamy track Eye of Storm, which (interestingly enough) was written by Kit and sounds like the material written for Rain Dances, along with Who We Are, the moody orchestral piece Survival, Hymn to Her, Ice, and the proggy parts of Neon Magic.
I have to admit that, in spite of the commercial material on this album, there is a lot of great proggy ensemble work to be found here. Other positive aspects include the intricate and skillfully played synthesizer parts and the fact that Andy Latimer cranks out some great leads on the electric guitar throughout the album.
This reissue by Deram features a few photos of the group and somewhat informative liner notes. The sound quality is OK.
In general, I feel that the prog and the pop tendencies are reasonably well balanced and found this album to be pretty enjoyable. If you are new to Camel however, I would personally recommend starting off with The Snow Goose (1975) and Moonmadness (1976). If you liked I Can See Your House from Here, you might also enjoy another great pop/prog album by Camel entitled Rain Dances (1977), one by Genesis including And Then There Were Three (1978) and Danger Money (1979) by U.K."
CAN PETER HEAR US FROM HERE?
Steve Russey | 07/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another in a fine series of progressive rock recordings from this overlooked, and underrated group. In past reviews I've compared them to other secondary progressive rock groups like FM and TRIUMVIRAT, and, like those groups, shall not be forgotten, thanks to reissues and remasters. By the way, still waiting for FM to receive the remastering (so far only BLACK NOISE has received the remastering treatment) and "DELUXE EDITION" honor. The ongoing gestalt of woodwinds, synthesizers, piano, guitar, and "no nonsense" drumming with the perfect amount of "flash", along with one of the most soothing vocalists ever, not to mention skillful and tasteful songwriting, as well as pritine production, should please any progressive rock fan. Sadly, I recently learned that founding member Peter Bardens passed on, and it is to him I dedicate this review with this closing statement: you left us long before your time, but you left us with an indispensable legacy of finely crafted and exponentially influential music that continues to endure... I've been a fan since 1982 and your music still sounds as fresh, uplifting, and inspiring as it did when I first heard NUDE all those years ago... finally, as you headline that "great gig in the sky" I hope you "Can Hear Us From Here" and know that the applause will resonate forever.
Balthazar "AIR COOL" Platini, III"