As I write this review, I'm not exactly a Camel expert knowing almost nothing about the middle of their career. Judging by reviews of albums of that era, though, it seems I'm not missing much.
Camel's self-titled debut is, however, one of my very favorite albums and quite possibly Camel's strongest album as well. There's virtually no filler on this one and their energy is at its peak.
And in fact, this is not prog in the same way early Genesis is prog, to cite a reference in the genre. Camel from this age is quite a bit more rythmic and rocking. This doesn't happen in later albums, particularly towards the end of their career, when everything getts much more mellow, yet beautiful.
"Slow Yourself Down" sets the pace for the entire record, an upbeat track sang by Andy Latimer in his quite original tone. But it's "Never Let Go" (which has an even better rendition on "A Live Record") - my favorite Camel track - and "Arubaluba" that steal the record for me. "Six Ate" has this great grooving bass line as the backbone of the entire track while "Mystic Queen" is the most mellow track yet doesn't disappoint, being beautifully sung by bassist Doug Ferguson and featuring Bardens intensely exquisite keyboards. And everywhere Andy Ward's drumming is perfect for the mood.
I find Camel to be an essential band in the genre, and as I find this to be their best effort, this record is also essential, even if you're probably better served with next year's "Mirage" for a more progressive output.