Camel - Nude
The album "Nude", the eighth studio album by "Camel", was released on January 6, 1981.
This is the first album of "Camel" in the 1980s, and it's last with drummer Andy Ward. After this album the band will actually become a one-man band, with Andrew Latimer beeing the only original member of the band.
This album comes a little over two years after the legendary keyboardist Peter Bardens left the band, in 1978.
During the recording of "Breathless", Bardens expressed his intention to leave the band due to disagreements with guitarist, flutist and singer Andrew Latimer. Bardens agrees to end the recording of the album, however he refuse to go on a tour to promote it. Bardens's departure was a shock for "Camel", as he was one of its main writers and leader of its musical direction.
Bardens' departure left the "Ship of the Desert" in the hands of Latimer, who chose to steer it in the mainstream direction. Thus, Latimer and his friends produced the band's most commercial album to date - "I Can See Your House From Here" from 1979, which will host Phil Collins and Rupert Hine, who will later produce two of "Rush" albums.
But Latimer's brief flirtation with mainstream did not go as planned since the album was not as successful as he had hoped, prompting Latimer to "return to the origins" with a progressive concept album filled with instrumental pieces.
The concept album is based on a true story about a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda, who was left behind on a lonely island for years during World War II and was found years after the war ended.
In the midst of World War II, in 1942, Hiroo Onoda found himself living in a harsh imperial regime and in a society governed by strict laws, which changed the way he should live his daily life ("City Life / Nude").
One day Hiroo receives an envelope containing a draft order requiring him to serve in the Japanese army and contribute to the national war effort. Knowing the cruel regime, Hiroo does not hesitate for a moment, and immediately fulfills the draft order ("Drafted").
Shortly afterwards, Hiroo finds himself next to other young soldiers on a ship that is making its way to the battlefield ("Docks").
The ship finds itself in battles in the Pacific Ocean. In one of the battles the ship got hit and sunk down, when Hiroo manages to escape, while being swept away to a lonely island ("Beached").
When Hiroo wakes up he finds himself alone on the island. He clings to the hope that he will soon be rescued by his unit and is not at all aware of the fact that he is left behind with the island's landscapes, all alone, and that no one is looking for him ("Landscapes").
Time passes and the years go by. Hiroo gave up on searching for more deserters on the island. He lives in a cave near a lagoon, and constantly tours the jungles ("Changing Places").
Occasionally Hiroo climbs to the top of a high mountain recites the national anthem of Japan and shoots a bullet into the sky ("Pomp & Circumstance").
One day a plane flies over the island and Hiroo receives a large content of leaflets, letters and photographs indicating the end of the war and urging him to return to his country ("Please Come Home").
Hiroo, however, doubts the truth of the documents and assumes that Allied forces are fooling him. But over time Hiroo feels a change and he comes to the conclusion that the war is really over ("Reflections").
Years later Hiroo was captured and thrown into a boat taking him back to Japan ("Captured").
When Hiroo returns to his homeland, he is greeted by crowds of people with great joy and excitement ("The Homecoming").
Despite the warm welcome, his years of loneliness and lack of communication with civilization lead Hiroo to collapse. At the same time he is also experiencing a wave of false publications about him ("Lies").
Hiroo's brief fame is quickly converted into a distinction from society and life. On his 50th birthday a small group held a party for him and gave him a cake. Hiroo excited by the gesture is left alone to reflect on his past ("The Last Farewell: The Birthday Cake / Nudes Return").
Although this album does not match to the masterpieces of "Camel" from the 70's, it is definitely a worthy.
The combination of the vocals and the instrumental sections on the album, is perfect. The rhythmic opening song "City Life", the melancholic track "Drafted" with the melodic classical guitar sections of Latimer and the "Pink Floydish" section "Lies" are perfectly intertwined with the drama and atmosphere produced by the instrumental parts. This combination creates a sweeping sound image that musically illustrates the story of the act in a fantastic way. Melodic and quiet musical parts to describe the mental state of the protagonist or the landscape while ethnic rhythms illustrates the jungle in which he lives. All these linked passages merge with the lyrics and complete a whole weave of the action story. The comparison to the immortal "The Snow Goose", at least in terms of idea and concept, is just requested.
This time we have prepared a playlist of the album songs: Youtube