Arguably, alongside its immediate predecessor Music Inspired by The Snow Goose (the record which encouraged readers of Melody Maker to vote Camel "The Brightest Hope" in that publication's 1975 year-end poll), Moonmadness is Camel's most acclaimed work; a creamy fusion of soft progressive rock exquisitely coloured with fluttering flutes and recorders (witness the icicle prettiness of "Spirit of The Water"), protracted jazzy extemporisation and--in contemporary parlance--the sort of gossamer "chill-out" passages precursive of latter-day electronic moodists like Air.
Conceptually, four of the pieces are based on the personalities of each band member and even if Peter Bardens and Andy Ward opted-out of offering psychological profiles by penning instrumentals (both fidgety jazz-rock nymbers, "Chord Changes" from Bardens and "Lunar Sea" from Ward), Andrew Latimer compared himself to a soaring glider on the wispy "Air Born" and bassist Doug Ferguson--whose "Another Night" spoke of "dark clouds", "feels like I'm fading" and "can't face the morning"--seemed in dire need of some tea and sympathy. And he probably felt a whole lot worse when the record company badgered Camel into releasing a truncated version as a single (both sides of which are included here as bonus tracks), an unhappy compromise for a band bent on steering clear of the commercial path. Of course, Camel's lack of a natural vocalist at that time proved a hindrance to greater success and--like dinosaurs--they were oblivious to the impending impact of the approaching punk meteorite. Regardless, Moonmadness is an enchanting period piece from a more innocent era. --Kevin Maidment
top of page
bottom of page