SP 70019 Camera Camera
Arranged and Produced by Renaissance
Released on February 20, 2007
US CHART POSITION #196
Find it at GEMM
SP 70019 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

K M 11: A DISAPPOINTING DEVELOPMENT? Dunford and Haslam returned from their little holiday in Nevada with a new keyboard player; Sully and Tout had been cropped from the picture. This, a snapshot of a band on the declension from the heights of prog majesty to the shallow-minded, synthesizer-happy, short attention-spanned bottom dwellers below. And doesn’t every prog band get pushed down this slippery slope by intractable prog experts sooner or later? Camel, Jethro Tull, Yes, they’ve all been pilloried by progheads for plugging in their synthesizers. I’ll concede that Camera Camera isn’t their most ambitious opus, but that it lens itself to the same sort of historical, proggish reveries as recent albums like Azure d’Or should be a source of joy among fans, not jeers. Since their last album, important things had changed. John Tout and Terence Sullivan were gone, replaced by a pair of Peters: Gosling (who had joined Haslam and Dunford in the short-lived Nevada during the interim) and Barron. The latter is a smart drummer who fills the void nicely, but Gosling is likely to attract the ire of longtime fans for his synthesizer choices (especially on the shrill “Running Away From You”). Fortunately, that track is the exception on an album of well conceived (if perhaps too tightly strung) progressive pop songs that included longtime lyricist Betty Thatcher’s classy farewell, “Bonjour Swansong,” and miniature fantasies in “Tyrant-Tula,” “Ukraine Ways” and “Okichi-San.” Annie Haslam’s voice is still the band’s main commodity, though it’s twisted into strange shapes on a few tracks with less than flattering results, perhaps in a concession to the recent popularity of artists like Kate Bush and Lene Lovich. The songs, written by Camp and Dunford, are neo-proggish numbers that might have benefited from better production (e.g., “Jigsaw,” “Faeries”) but still contain interesting corridors. I don’t find this a disappointment or a devolution, just a natural progression for a band that needed to find its voice in a new and different age.

TRACK LISTING

  1. CAMERA CAMERA    (Jon Camp/Michael Dunford)    6:01
  2. FAERIES (LIVING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GARDEN)    (Michael Dunford/Peter Gosling)    3:45
  3. REMEMBER    (Michael Dunford/Betty Thatcher)    4:33
  4. BONJOUR SWANSONG    (Michael Dunford/Betty Thatcher)    3:32
  5. TYRANT-TULA    (Jon Camp/Michael Dunford)    5:58
  6. OKICHI-SAN    (Michael Dunford/Betty Thatcher)    6:00
  7. JIGSAW    (Michael Dunford/Betty Thatcher)    5:00
  8. RUNNING AWAY FROM YOU    (Jon Camp)    3:35
  9. UKRAINE WAYS    (Jon Camp/Michael Dunford)    6:37

CREDITS

PETER BARRON -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
JON CAMP -- bass guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals
MICHAEL DUNFORD -- acoustic guitars, electric guitar, backing vocals
ANNIE HASLAM -- lead vocals, backing vocals
PETER GOSLING -- keyboards, backing vocals
John Acock -- engineer
Chris Dawes -- photography
Craig Harrison -- make up
John Kirke -- camera

return to RENAISSANCE discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1981 Illegal LP ILP-008  
US/CAN 1981 IRS LP SP 70019  
UK 1995 HTD CD HTDCD-43  
GER 1996 Repertoire CD RR-4628  
JPN May 20, 2009 Air Mail CD AIRAC-1537 digital remaster

 

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