Monday, December 12, 2016

Nektar - 1980 - Man In The Moon

Man In The Moon

01. Too Young To Die (4:17)
02. Angel (3:30)
03. Telephone (3:40)
04. Far Away (3:17)
05. Torraine (5:25)
06. Can't Stop You Now (4:18)
07. We (4:40)
08. You're Alone (4:05)
09. Man In The Moon (6:42)

Bonus tracks on 2002 remaster:
10. Impossible Years (Too Young To Die) (4:17)
11. Straight Jacket (3:48)

- Roye Albrighton / lead & backing vocals, guitar
- Allan "Taff" Freeman / keyboards
- Carmine Rojas / bass, keyboards
- David Prater / drums, backing vocals

So Nektar survive into the 1980's. The drumming and bass playing positions have been subject to change, but principal songwriters and performers Roy Albrighton and Allan "Taff" Freeman remain on board. 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.

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