Exposé Online banner

Camel — Harbour of Tears
(Camel Productions CP-006CD, 1996, CD)

by Dan Casey, 1996-03-01:

Harbour of Tears Cover art

It's hard to believe that Dust and Dreams, the album that single-handedly revived Camel, was released so long ago. The subsequent 20th anniversary double-live CD elevated the band to their highest level in ten years, with the addition of ex-Fish sideman Mickey Simmonds on keys. Expectations were perhaps set too high for this new studio release, however. What we have here is basically Dust and Dreams the sequel. This time the storyline is about Irish immigrants, their hardships and toils. The music flows in a familiar fashion from start to finish, only adding drums and vocals when the energy picks up. But the vocal numbers are too much like the mid-80s Camel, with that Alan Parsons-like pop styling. The one exception, the closing instrumental suite, is what makes this disc worth owning for the Camel fan. On "Coming of Age / The Hour Candle," we are treated to classic Latimer soloing and the album's only real keyboard lead line. After that, it's almost 20 minutes of gentle waves (literally) in honor of Latimer's late father. Overall, the low energy level and depressing themes make this album a bit of a disappointment, but it's not without a few bright spots.


by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

For anyone hoping that Camel might be turning out something a bit more uptempo, full of fire and color, after the somewhat 'gray' Dust and Dreams, I hate to be the bringer of bad news. This latest studio release from Latimer and company is even more somber than its predecessor. That said, this concept album based on an immigrant's journey from Ireland to America covers plenty of new ground as well, mostly in its subtle use of tastefully applied Irish folk influences. The album's five vocal tracks (not counting the introductory and closing solo vocal by Mae McKenna) are separated by low-key symphonic instrumental interludes, none particularly memorable until we arrive at "Running from Paradise," which — interrupted only briefly by the final vocal track "End of the Day," segues into what is arguably the album's most powerful instrumental track "Coming of Age," a smoker that matches the best moments of the last half of Dust and Dreams, gobs of multi-tracked guitar and synths, and plenty of those soaring guitar leads that have long been Camel's trademark. The only problem is that the fire goes out too soon, the song is over and done in barely seven minutes. The closing instrumental "The Hour Candle" is another good one for its many great moments of solo guitar, though overall it's far less energetic, as it probably should be. After a little over six minutes, the music stops, we get a reprise of the solo vocal that opened the album, and then fifteen solid minutes of nearly inaudible waves at the seashore. How interesting! C'mon, at least make it a separate track so we can program it out. Like the last one, this has its bright spots, but overall leaves me longing for the Camel of yesteryear with a more positive sound.


by Jeff Melton, 1996-03-01:

Camel's latest album is a rather moody, somewhat slow-moving concept surrounding the events which take place in a small town on the Irish coast. Harbour of Tears is again (like 1991's Dust and Dreams) much more of a solo, individualized project which seems to be the long term plan of Andy Latimer (Camel co-founder, guitarist, and songwriter) as the 'group' slowly churns out new material. Like the last studio Camel discs, this one grows on you after several (meaning greater than four) plays. It's pretty high quality work considering Andy put most of it together in a very small studio. Sorely missing is the keen band interplay which was the spotlight of the last live album and used to be the one of the high points of the band on which a fan could continually rely. Vocals have been supplied by old member, David Paton ( who also appeared on A Single Factor and the 10th anniversary tour CD).There is a distinct Celtic flavor which is the tone point of the album: which reminds me of some Clannad's later work. One of the better tracks is "Watching the Bobbins" with a blues base and including trademark guitar leads. Don't be intimidated by the last track, "The Hour Candle" even though there are quite a few minutes of surf sound at the end of the disk you can easily imagine a long stroll on the beach.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 9 , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Camel, Mickey Simmonds, Colin Bass (Sabah Habas Mustapha)

More info

Latest news

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Level ∏ - Entrance – Level π is kind of an oddball release for Garden of Delights as they specialize in releasing reissues and archive recordings of little known German bands from the late 60s and 70s. In this case,...  (2011) » Read more

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band - Live at Bickershaw Festival - North West England 1972 – The front of the package proclaims "Joe Strummer's favourite concert." Well, I'm sure it was great to be there. The Captain and his crackshot '72 touring lineup (Rockette Morton,...  (2008) » Read more

David Bagsby - Syllogisms – “I don’t think, therefore I am not.” Bagsby has long been a master of unpredictability and eccentric works that fit squarely into no categories, and his latest, Syllogisms, is no...  (2006) » Read more

Medina Azahara - Paseando por la Mexquita, La Esquina del Viento & Andalucía – Medina Azahara are one of the longest running Spanish symphonic rock bands. If I'm not mistaken, they may still be together. While most of their contemporaries disappeared due to the Spanish...  (1996) » Read more

Opeth - Lamentations - Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003 – This concert focuses mostly on Opeth’s “mellow” album Damnation. For the first set, it is performed in its entirety in order (with one other song interpolated). Then they take a...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues