AB 4254 I Can See Your House From Here
Produced by Rupert Hine
Released on October 1979
UK CHART POSITION #45
Find it at GEMM
AB 4254 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T he troll under the bridge would let out a loud “harumph” each time some passerby would call this Camel’s best album. “Philistines,” he’d mutter, “unaccustomed to work. Give ‘em the Spiegel gift certificate because for them the curtain is too terrible to contemplate.” Until one day, while listening to this album, smoothing out a fresh piece of paper with his hand to catalog what would surely be its forthcoming shortcomings, the troll caught sight of his own reflection in the water. And the face he saw smiled back at him, wading in the pleasurable moment of “Wait,” the song’s kinetic energy unleashed in giddy little wavelets. And thus we come to our moral prematurely: that a treasure can be buried by an otherwise invisible bias. My loyalty to an old Mirage prevents me from crowning I Can See Your House From Here, and common sense tells me that I should save my breath for such things until hearing Breathless. Yet I can see where some listeners would champion this album. Andy Latimer’s guitar work is inspired, and Camel’s gifts have seldom been so succinctly packaged. It’s a different chapter than the original foursome’s smoke-borne flotsam, but not unlike Rain Dance seen on a brighter day. With three new members (plus the immovable Andys), Camel’s allegiance to the old Gods was negated, freeing them to pursue Alan Parsons Project in a mix of vocals and instrumentals more suited to short attention spans. In that context, I Can See Your House From Here is a triumph, prescient in some spots (“Wait” is about gambling, the theme for APP’s next album), tuneful at every turn, made approachable by a newfound sense of humor, and possessed of some lovely instrumentals (“Ice,” “Eye of the Storm”). That Camel didn’t ride off into the sunset of commercial success after this is not a reflection on the music, but on the fact that they hadn’t built up a brand for this sort of thing. Old fans, trolls the lot of us, might cringe to see Camel’s strong backbone carry such a commercial load, clinging to the familiar “Hymn To Her” with a sigh of what might have been. But on this day, in this moment, I can see the wonder of it all, and it’s a wonder I didn’t see it before.

AB 4254 back cover AB 4254 lyric sleeve
AB 4254 back cover AB 4254 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. WAIT    (Andy Latimer/John McBurnie)    5:01
  2. YOUR LOVE IS STRANGER THAN MINE    (Andy Latimer/Jan Schelhaas/Andy Ward/Colin Bass)    3:22
  3. EYE OF THE STORM    (Kit Watkins)    3:50
  4. WHO WE ARE    (Andy Latimer)    7:48
  5. SURVIVAL    (Andy Latimer)    1:10
  6. HYMN TO HER    (Andy Latimer/Jan Schelhaas)    5:37
  7. NEON MAGIC    (Andy Latimer/Jan Schelhaas/Viv McAuliffe)    4:38
  8. REMOTE ROMANCE    (Andy Latimer/Kit Watkins)    4:01
  9. ICE    (Andy Latimer)    10:10

CREDITS

COLIN BASS -- bass, vocals, Wal fretless bass
ANDREW LATIMER -- guitars, vocal, backing vocals, flute, autoharp
JAN SCHELHAAS -- Yamaha C.S.80, Prophet Five, Yamaha electric grand piano, Moog solos, mini moog, grand piano, Solina, EMS sequencer
ANDY WARD -- drums, massed marching military snares, drum loop, percussion
KIT WATKINS -- Hammond C.3, Solina, Yamaha electric grand piano, Rhodes piano, Moog solos, Prophet Five, clavinet, flute, Yamaha C.S. 80, EMS sequencer
Mel Collins -- alto sax solo (2)
Phil Collins -- demon percussion and aural concussion
Rupert Hine -- essential sequential logic, backing vocals (a.k.a. The Fabulous Beach Balls) and an endless flow of advice and encouragement
Simon Jeffes -- orchestral arrangements, conductor
Gavin Wright -- orchestra leader
Peter Kelsey -- engineer
Richard Austenn -- overdub engineer
Gered Mankowitz -- space photographs
Adrian Boot -- group photographs

return to CAMEL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1979 Decca LP TXS-R 137 picture sleeve
US/CAN October 1979 Arista LP AB 4254 lyric sleeve
BRA 1979 London LP 1C 064 63569  
GER 1979 Decca LP 624132AP  
JPN 1979 London LP L20P-1048 lyric insert
NET 1979 Decca LP 6367 128 insert
MEX 1980 London LP MS 2158  
US 1993 One Way CD OW 29131  
GER   Deram CD 820 614  

 

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