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4 stars The music on this one is good. I really enjoyed it. You can tell that the group had modernized their sound and were sounding more like 'Journey' (in my opinion), and probably some other groups of that same time period.. I am more interested in hearing more of their later work now after hearing this one. My favorite song on this one is "Far Away."
Report this review (#19116)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars I'd have to back up a previous reviewer by giving this one 4 stars - just. As expected, this is an album of 'songs', as opposed to the mind blowing jams we know and love - after all, we are at 1980 with this one. Mo Moore and Ron Howden did not take part in this recording, but we do have a fine drummer in David Prater, who is equally competent and technical (if not more so), and a precise (but subtle) bass player, Carmine Rojas (who went on to work with Bowie). Roye turns in a fine performance with his vocals, and, at times his guitar soloing harkens back to the Nektar of old - Grand Alliance this is not (Roye's commercial, post-Nektar band). Keys man 'Taff' Freeman plays the Hammond, Piano, Mini-Moog, Clavinet and the odd poly-synth of the day - he has not lost the 'atmospheric' touch to his approach, always playing tasteful melodies and selecting the most appropriate sounds. Production duties are taken care of by Roye, with some help from Rupert Hine, so, rest assured, the sound is not going to be hideous 80's gloss. Side one of the album (first 5 tracks for CD) are generally strong songs, some have a bit of that 'power ballad' style to them but still generate a lot more 'depth' than most other bands at that stage - 'Telephone' is a good example of this and a great song. The track 'Torraine' features a fine proggy instrumental section that gets the adrenalin pumping, with the band giving it their all, Roye shreds especially. Side 2 contains some pleasant tracks, but maybe a little too light and radio friendly A.O.R. for those who prefer complex arrangements - they are concisely structured and performed, and (thankfully) lacks that 'cheeziness' so prevalent in this style of music. The title track 'Man In THe Moon' (6.42) rounds off the proceedings with a touch of 'spaciness' and a good dose of their 'classic' earlier sound and approach. A bit of a mini-epic, actually. All in all, this album can be considered very good at what it does, but don't go expecting another King of Twilight. Nice cover art too.
Report this review (#56547)
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the dawn of the 1980s - the decade most proggers love to hate. Out went intricacy and progression, in came bombast and power ballads. It is the age of Arena Rock when bands like Foreigner, Styx, Journey and Boston ruled the airwaves, when old Prog bands had to adapt to survive. While there is some good material on Man In The Moon, you can forget about Prog because this is FM-friendly AOR USA-style with cheesy generic song structures, big production values and wailing vocals with a little of the band's glorious heritage knocking on the door to be let out occasionally.

Quality is subjective, but these songs are a mixed-bag ranging from very good to very poor. Guitar is the principal driving force of the album, mostly rhythm and riffs rather than solos, ably supported by a varied bunch of keyboards. There are not too many soft and gentle songs: intimacy and dynamics are not generally a fundamental of this kind of music, so there isn't much variation. Angel is a fairly typical example - a cheesy soft-ballad that turns into a cheesy big-power-ballad. Yeuk! Telephone and Can't Stop You Now are equally poor, while Torraine is worse, much worse, with some awful 'Phil Collins' shouty vocals, though the guitar work in an excellent instrumental break is worth hearing.

Remove those four songs and you are left with a pretty decent mini-album. Too Young To Die [ha!] has a three-note riff that catches up on you, not original in any way but well executed with a catchy tune though I hate endlessly repeated vocals at the end of a song. Far Away has another good riff though the song becomes a little ordinary and it fades without really developing into anything. The heavy rocking We is lively enough, has a cute synth solo and I like the multi-tracked vocals. You're Alone is the stand-out song, a ballad with an inventive arrangement, a little Mellotron amongst acoustic guitars and an evocative melancholy mood mirroring the subject. Man In The Moon gets a bit too bombastic, and there's more 'Phil Collins' vocals, but it has a meaty riff and the gutteral man-in-the-moon voice is a neat trick. By the way, the bonus tracks add little of value: Impossible Years is an alternative, but very similar, take on Too Young To Die, while Straight Jacket has more shouty vocals.

You become very aware that these songs are all short - none go beyond 4˝ minutes. Compact and concise may have been buzzwords at the time, but several songs would have benefitted greatly from longer passages and theme progressions. As is so often the case, there are some good ideas here, but they are not developed into anything other than interesting little embellishments. If you like the stereotype you may well find much to like on this album, but don't expect too much classic Nektar.

Report this review (#98884)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Made of cheese?

Following the departure of co-band leader Roy Albrighton and the release of one album "Magic is a child", Nektar disbanded in 1978. Principal songwriters and performers Roy Albrighton and Allan "Taff" Freeman quickly resurrected the band the following year, the drumming and bass playing positions being subject to further change. The migration from the unmistakably progressive band of the early 1970's to an AOR/pop rock outfit, which really began with 1977's "Magic is a child", continues unabated here. The songs are a mixture of upbeat sing-a-long anthems and power ballads, but always in the vein of STYX, FOREIGNER, JOURNEY, BOSTON, ETC.

The album opens with the upbeat "Too young to die", a fine if straightforward pop rock number. Certainly, the following two tracks "Angel" and "Telephone" are slower ballad type songs but their three to four minute lengths, pretty much the standard for the album, betray the fact that the songs remain undeveloped and straight forward.

And that's the way the album goes, a few faster upbeat songs, a few slower ballads, any of which would sound great on a rock radio station. There's no concept to tie the songs together, each stands or falls on its own merits. "Torraine" breaks the mould slightly, as it manages to combine a slow start with a more upbeat instrumental run through in its 5 minutes or so, and for that reason alone stands apart as at least a nod to the past.

"You're alone" is another touching ballad, Albrighton showing that vocally he is still as capable as ever. The closing title track has an impressively dramatic opening with drifting organ and cascading guitar bursts. The semi-spoken vocals over the organ are inadvertently reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"(!). There's some good synth too though, and overall the track works well.

The bonus tracks consist of an alternative version of "Too young to die" and a pseudo glam rock song best left unearthed.

It is of course easy to be over critical of such an album given Nektar's proud history in the field of prog. To be fair, when considered without preconceptions of the band and without any expectations of hearing a prog album, this is good quality pop rock which stands above the myriad of early 80's bands who were ploughing the same field.

If you're prepared to accept it on that basis, this is a pretty good album.

Report this review (#115860)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The final "Nektar" studio album before a looooong break. Pop, rock. Nothing to do with prog nor psychedelic music of course (only their first two albums were fully psyche to be honest).

Some commercial music like the opening number "Too Young To Die". Sounds like a Supertramp one (but less melodic). Not too bad a start.Some fine ballads like "Angel" (on the very edge of the mellowest ones, syrupous to be precise) and the similar "Telephone".

The listener gets awake with "Far Away". A very pleasant pop / rock song, fully Supertrampish again. But, if I have to choose between this type of song and the funky / disco they have produced at times; I definitely go for the rocking ones.

The next song "Torraine" starts like a sweet one, but fortunately it will turn into an excellent song. Fully Camel oriented ("Slow Yourself Down"). This is my favourite song from this album so far. Very pleasant, really.

Some AOR-ish flavours with "Can't Stop You Now". I have never been into this genre; and this song won't do anything to change my opinion. One of the pooreset of "Man in the Moon". Nektar remains in the rocking territories with "We". It features a great musical middle-part. Almost hard-rock. Very powerful. Some great synthesizers as well. It ends on a pleasant vocal and melodic part. Well done.

This album is truely a mix of ballads and rock numbers; so back to the soft mood for "You're Alone". Nice vocals for this acoustic song but this mellow flavour is a bit too much to my ears. Especially that one does not expect this from "Nektar".

Fortunately, the closing number is radically different. Spacey opening, some great crying guitar, a very strange "voice from the other world" at times. This song is a nice trip back to their early works. My fave here. A nice way to say goodbye to the fans (temporarily).

The album deserves more than two stars. Five out of ten probably. Let's upgrade it to three.

Report this review (#140533)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Trying to fit into the `80s Nektar can sound briefly like everyone from Camel, Eloy and even Canadian rockers Rush here. But then again, many prog-rock dinosaurs were beginning to sound like a lot of things not imagined in the early seventies by this time.

The Nektar die hard can seek some solace in the fact that two of the founder members Roye Albright and Allan Freeman are still here and are backed up by two competent newcomers with the band returning after a 3 year hiatus. But despite some good sound production, there are only three or four tracks to be found here that have some redeeming qualities as far as the fan of the Nektar freakouts of the early seventies is concerned and even these come in small doses. The biggest letdown is the title track which appears at the conclusion of the record. Not because it`s the worst track on the album but because it`s epic potential is not realised. It`s spacey synth and guitar work could have been developed extensively, turning it into an extended track occupying an entire side of the record thus dispensing with all of the second rate tracks which could have easily be mistaken for REO Speedwagon songs, most notably the nauseating opening track Too Young To Die. There are, nonetheless, some brief moments of false hope which occur on tracks like Torraine,We, Far Away and You`re Alone but fail to captivate as a whole. Two additional mediocre tracks appear on the 2002 CD re-issue prolonging the agony even further and explain why they weren`t included on the original vinyl in the first place. The otherwise magnificent spacey cover art also misleads one into thinking that this might be another concept album along the lines of 1975s Recycled when in effect all we get for the most part is an album of songs built around themes of lost love and other shlock.

An unmitigated catastrophe of unfocussed confusion sailing in the stormy seas of change. Arguably the band`s worst effort. A real shame.

Report this review (#160347)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#300797)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Man in the motion, besides the excellent front cover art, the music is almost as on Magic is a child. Released in 1980 is the final album , untill a long break for almost 20 years. Long gone are psychedelic and space prog elements that defines Nektar music, now they are more like something between Journey and Styx with saome parts remind me of Camel same period, that commercial aproach, that typical americanized sound. With all that the album is not bad, realy, I've realy enjoyed this album, maybe little more then Magic is a child. The band enter is the '80's with a fear, musicaly speaking, that seems to me , catch them in the end and put them down to the wall, that why they never release an album for almost 20 years untill they re unite in '00. Some pop/rocxk tunes combined here and there with some progressive elements but overall is not something special, but not bad. I don't have a fav tune here, almost are the same in value so I will give as on previous review to Magc is a child 3 stars, but less ok and enjoyble then on other albums where I've put 3 stars.
Report this review (#448328)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This one follows the musical path of "Magic is a Child", but it's not as inspired or quality as it's predecessor.

The album has no weaknesses, but no significant strengths too. Prog pop rock and all, but just not as good as the previous effort. "Torraine" is probably the album's best moment, a bittersweet love ballad with a hard rock bridge, that if it was a bit more refined could easily be a radio hit (if it got edited, as it's 5:30, a bit long for the common radio standards).

A solid 3,5 stars for this one, and yet again an impressive cover artwork.

Report this review (#1600576)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | Review Permalink

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