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Nektar - Time Machine CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.97 | 82 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars "Seems like I've been here before / Singing the same old song..."

The first words of the opening cut off their latest album ring all-too true for this veteran '70s outfit, currently adrift without a rudder in the 21st century. Give them credit for avoiding the copycat avenues followed by other Prog acts riding the nostalgia bandwagon: the ones that sound an awful lot like classic GENESIS or YES (with the emphasis on 'awful'). But after four decades Nektar still hasn't managed to locate a distinct musical identity of its own.

In their prime the band was often mistaken for Germans. Today they favor a bland, contemporary rock aesthetic, while occasionally pushing a few well-worn Prog buttons: big symphonic chords; portentous MOODY BLUES narration (in the song mistitled "A Better Way"); trippy cover artwork, and so on.

The opening moments of the album show promise, full of big Neo-Prog guitar chords and clever rhythmic syncopation, before the ennui sets in (when the singing begins). And there are some nice instrumental passages in between the routine songwriting, including a groovy title track, and a cool break in the middle of "Juggernaut", with hazy electric pianos and synths drifting across a flowing bass ostinato. But the music too often takes a path of least resistance, falling into that shapeless area between Progressive Rock and just plain Rock, in songs like "Destiny", and in the cantina pop nadir of "Set Me Free, Amigo".

It doesn't help that Roye Albrighton's 64-year old voice is more than a little insecure these days. Or that Billy Sherwood's production of the music was so impersonal. Besides playing bass guitar, the ex-Yes factotum recorded and mixed the album at his own studio, investing it with the same faceless professionalism he brought to the latter-day Yes low-point of "Open Your Eyes".

It's always good to hear any band from Prog Rock's golden age still alive and kicking. But not when their well of inspiration is so conspicuously dry.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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