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Nektar - The Prodigal Son CD (album) cover

THE PRODIGAL SON

Nektar

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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4 stars Although they´re back on track...Nektar, is not the Nektar of yesteryear! But!!! They still have the edge....if youre fond of their first 5 albums... then get this.... an give it a chance. Listen to it one more time ( gathering that you already gave it a listen or two) It WILL grow on you ...promise!!!!
Report this review (#19117)
Posted Monday, December 29, 2003 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I heard the news that NEKTAR were releasing a new album after all those years in hibernation I started to get itchy palms. Well it is true and here are the new NEKTAR... Three of the original four members... Roye Albrighton (guitars, vocals), Ray Hadwick (drums) and James Allan Freeman (Taff) (keyboards). As much as I would have loved to have heard another "Tab In The Ocean" or "Remember The Future", "The Prodigal Son" really embodies a very new sound, yet still carries a reflection on those older days atmospheres. NEKTAR have definitely "Recycled" their sound and have moved clearly into the 21st century as a more straight-ahead rock unit. Having said that the music on this album is far better than any crap you'd ever hear on the radio. "The Prodigal Son" is 9 engaged tracks with deep meaning and excellent instrumentation. This album is very well recorded and sounds excellent with great speaker separation. I have read both negative and positive things about this album , but IMHO this is a very good album and does not even try to complete with their 70's masterpieces.
Report this review (#19118)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was afraid when i got this cd, it sounded like the boring "magic child", but no ! Mr. Roye and his marvellous voice and guitar is back again. Isn´t "remember the future" ( one of my five stars album ) or" recycled", but that´s good. better than I hoped. Excellent tracks: "terminus/oh my", "now", "the prodigal son"...
Report this review (#19119)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The return Journey

To the surprise of everyone, Nektar returned in 2001 with a brand new album, almost 20 years after what appeared to be their swansong ("Man on the moon"). In reality, this is by the band's two principal musicians, Roye Albrighton and Allan "Taff" Freeman. The line up is completed by drummer Ray Hardwick (Albrighton takes on bass duties in addition to his usual guitar and vocals). Original drummer Ron Howden returned to the line up after this release.

"The prodigal son" is a sort of halfway house between the classic prog albums Nektar made in their earliest days, and their more accessible AOR influenced albums of the late 70's. The track lengths are of a reasonable length, generally ranging from 4 to 6 minutes, but this is more through the development of the songs and not through the re- introduction of multiple time signatures and complex arrangements.

Even the opening "Terminus/oh my", which runs to 9 minutes, remains a fairly simple composition which is developed through repetition. Many of the tracks are slower ballad type songs, some are power ballads, others are softer. "Shangri-La" for example, opens with an AOR guitar fanfare leading to a soft acoustic backed vocal passage followed by an anthemic chorus. Albrighton's vocal delivery is as competent and inspired as ever, and Freeman adds some fine keyboard sounds. The song though is very JOURNEY like.

"Salt and Pepper and Rhythm and Blues" takes us back to the days of "Down to earth", but without the extended jamming. The track does find the band letting their (remaining!) hair down though, and having fun. The title track has the most interesting structure of the album, with deep harmonies counter-pointing upbeat guitar work. The vocals display a hymnal quality which sympathetically capture the mood of the lyrics. "Be tonight" moves close to DIRE STRAITS territory, with semi-spoken verses and a catchy hook in the chorus.

In all, a pretty enjoyable album as a sort of bonus release. While the majestic prog of the early 70's is largely absent, the basic AOR tracks on which this album is founded are at least developed into more substantial pieces.

Report this review (#117462)
Posted Friday, April 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Nektar was a band from the early seventies that produced two great psychedelic / space rock albums. They drastically shifted in their music style after this even if some good works were produced later on.

Their last album dated from 1980 and was one of their good efforts (even if not too many persons think so).

My point of you is that when such a band does a come back, its fan database waits for a real come-back. I mean like in the good old days. But over ninety per cent of the time it is not the case. Like here.

This is a soft-rock album with absolutely no highlights. Supermarket (or elevator, as you wish) music. Not too bad, that's true. But no early fans can really like this since there are no reference to their previous work and I wonder how many youngsters can be interested.

Nektar is still touring and I even thought to attend their concert next Friday (September 30th 2007) at the Spirit of 66 here in Belgium, but finally I won't go. What for ? None of the songs I like will probably come out from their instruments so I might just be wasting my time.

This is even more a pity that several founding members were present to record this release; they could at least have come up with something more interesting. Van Der Graaf did it in 2005 with "Present" (well, for half of it actually). Why couldn't "Nektar" do it ?

Still, I will review some more of their live efforts released much later than their original recording ("Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse" for example as well as their last studio album to date "Evolution". The album "Book Of Days" featured on PA might well never see the light since there are apparently major problems to release it. Hopefully that there will be soon a solution.

This also leads me to the (important in my view) point that there shouldn't be the possibility to review a record PRIOR its release, but I might post a thread on the forumabout it, if I have time.

Two stars for this middle of the road music.

Report this review (#140645)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Salt and nektar and rhythm and blues

This was Nektar's come-back after many years of absence from the music scene. It was impossible to know what expect given that Nektar has always been a band that chooses a new direction with every new release; no two Nektar albums sound alike. This tradition was continued here since they are not trying to mimic any of their older albums, while still holding on to what makes Nektar Nektar.

The Prodigal Son is the most bluesy of Nektar's albums, sometimes reminding me of Dire Straits' more progressive moments like Telegraph Road. Procol Harum also springs to mind on a couple occasions. The songs are vocally driven and not many instrumental workouts are allowed. While the album is pleasurable to listen to, it is not particularly memorable and it will hardly blow the typical Prog fan away. Nektar would make a much stronger follow up album in Evolution.

Good, but not essential by any means.

Report this review (#223461)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Roye Albrighton's return to the NEKTAR helm after years of contentious absence (with management and record companies) and after a religious awakening notes a clear attempt to put his considerable talents toward the praise of God and extolling his religious beliefs. While Roye is not the first to go through such a conversion and to then use his artistic name to convey his religious message, he is one of the few that has "come back" after such a long layoff with such high quality music. Don't get me wrong: the Nektar albums of the Naughties are NOT the Nektar of old, but what we see here is how talented of a composer/songwriter AND guitarist Mr. Albrighton was. He was not a bad singer, either. If only to listen to the masterful rhythm guitar work, these albums are worth your time. Start with "Terminus / Oh My" here and then go to the amazing "Always" from 2004's Evolution and then "Over Krakatoa" from 2008's Book of Days. An under-appreciated prog treasure, RIP.
Report this review (#626887)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The most prog thing about this album is it's (mediocre) cover artwork.

More of a soft rock album with prog elements, it has nothing exceptionally memorable to offer. Some of the lyrics are good, but musically it's nothing fancy, compared to other Nektar works and in general. There is not even a single stand-out song to elevate the general reputation of the album.

Nektar release an album after 21 long years, and the result is this? Through all of those years they should have arranged some masterpieces! That's what we were expecting at least... It's not a bad album in any way, maybe closer to 2.5/5, but how can I rate it higher when after the first listen I have no intention to replay at least a single song?

Report this review (#1601432)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2016 | Review Permalink

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