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Nektar - Recycled CD (album) cover

RECYCLED

Nektar

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.76 | 224 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Recycled" is Nektar's second master opus. This album is the culmination of the symphonic exploration that had got started in the "Remember the Future" album and had been partially interrupted in "Down to Earth". In no small degree was synth player Larry Fast an important item for the band's achievement; even though he was just a guest, he was given plenty of room to create massive orchestrations, cosmic layers and complementing leads on his arsenal of Moogs, in this way, enhancing the melodic richness of the new repertoire's basic compositions. Most of the time it happens that Fast almost buries Allan Freeman's deliveries on organ and pianos (grand and Wurlitzer electric); also, given the fact that Roye Allbrighton is more focused on riffing and rhythm waving than on soloing, Fast ends up functioning as the band's major melodic asset at the end of the day. not being a real band member. Paradoxes aside, the most important fact is that this album manages to recreate the band's penchant for big conceptual narratives articulated in ambitious musical frames going far more places than "Remember the Future" or "A Tab in the Ocean", as well as recapture the sense of energy and taste for melodic richness that had been somewhat lost in the "Down to Earth" album. As I see it (or, more likely, hear it), Moore and Howden are the Nektar members who deliver the most impressive job all through the album: Moore's bass guitar sounds really loud and relevant, many times reinforcing the melodic stuff by creating effective counterpoints against guitar riffs and synth adornments, while Howden's drumming and percussive sources are more inventive than in any other previous Nektar album. Let's check over the repertoire now. The seven sections comprised in Part One fill a well organized symphonic amalgam, which recaptures and enhances the epic spirit of "Remember the Future": the aforementioned synth orchestrations by Larry Fast and the use of choral arrangements near the end help to build a consistent musical journey from the initial tympani-driven storm signals right to the climax and the synthetic coda. What is left then for Part 2? Part Two mostly retakes the jazz-pop leanings that had first appeared in "Down to Earth", albeit with added colours of Latin jazz and funky: that's what happens during the sequence of the first 3 songs. The notable presence of synth stuff helps to build a persistent connection with the Part One material, although the musical ideas are clearly oriented toward a more optimistic attitude. Part One was focused on a criticism of the power of destruction that man inflicts on the environment he's supposed to cherish and protect; now, Part Two conjures images of a better future, as if the voice of hope was speaking its wishful thinking out loud. 'Costa del Sol' and 'Marvelous Moses' benefit from a harder use of guitar by Allbrighton and a more featured presence of organ and guitar in the keyboard department. But the gem of Part Two is the beautiful closing ballad 'It's All Over', whose melodic richness and emotional imagery may remind us of BJH or The Moody Blues at their most majestic. This song is typical romantic Nektar, and it serves as a realistic goodbye to a dream of happiness and harmony that is very unlikely to come true. Additionally, it is also Allbrighton's goodbye to the band, since this was his last album in the ranks of Nektar for a while (the same goes for visual associate Mick Brokett). Generally speaking, I like Part One better, but I also feel that the album works quite well as a whole: in short, "Recycled" is an excellent addition to any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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