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Nektar - Man In The Moon CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.25 | 102 ratings

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5 stars Okay....yes. I am giving Nektar's 80's swansong a full five stars. I realize this might seem completely baffling to some, but the album more than warrants this praise. I waited ages to listen to it, for obvious reasons: the dawn of the eighties was the death knell to almost every excellent 70s progressive powerhouse, etc, etc. I expected something clinical, formulaic, exhausted, and poppy; yet each of these expectations was refuted on the first track. I sat and listened in complete awe.

Let me clarify. There is an intense, almost desperate energy on this album. Gone are the more extended riffs, and the dreamlike psychedelic haze; but in their place, bandleader Roye Albrighton delivers up searing guitar work and some of his most memorable vocals. The songs are indeed songs, but the craft behind the compositions is immaculate: who knew that the kings of drawling, complex space prog could create such exquisite and succinct compositions? It makes me terribly sad that the band hung up their baldric for another twenty years before returning to the studio, although it does explain the immense quality of their 2000s releases. Apparently the energy never dissipated, as is the case with so many commercially capitulating bands from the late 70s. Roye popped off to launch an AOR group, and apparently had some success in the venture. However, I don't think he needed to stray: Nektar was clearly capable of more commercial material, while remaining heavily steeped in progressive songplay.

The final and fifth star is achieved by the stellar production values. So many prog groups fell prey to the emergent recording fads at the dawn of the 80s that they sacrificed a good deal of their character. But Man In The Moon sounds like a Nektar recording. The drums are organic, the guitars bracing, and the overall music often gloriously chaotic. There is nothing even remotely sterile in the execution of these songs.

So, 5 stars. I may rethink this one in the future, but right now I can only applaud this magnificent, era-defying recording.

Lozlan | 5/5 |


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