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Nektar - The Prodigal Son CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.92 | 87 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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