NEKTAR – 3 key albums (1971-80)
Recently did the discog of Gentle Giant, eczema and wasn’t as thrilled with most of it as I’d hoped. I then turned my sights onto English-born, Germany-bound Nektar, another band that ran the entirety of the ’70s, produced many an album and evaporated right at the point when most proggy veterans gave up the ghost in favor of either: a) solo careers; b) “real” jobs; c) raising families; or, d) creative bankruptcy.
I found that three albums really stood out, while the rest were either middling or disappointing. Most online prog resources point towards their second album, “A Tab In The Ocean” (1972) as being their greatest, but it’s really two side-long excursions into murky, mostly-forgettable, slightly modulating tunelessness. Sounded like they were trying for “Close To The Edge”, and only got a third of the way there.
Their debut LP, however, “Journey To The Centre of the Eye” (1971) is KILLER. True psychedelic phased-out repeat listening.
One needs to skip ahead to their sixth album “Recycled” for evidence of truly memorable off-the-wall uniqueness. A concept album about environmental disaster (with side one being a suite of songs about recycled energy being the only energy left on Earth).
Finally, their swan song (before their mostly redundant 21st-century reunion material), “Man In The Moon” (1980), released at a time when all ’70s survivors were busy mutating their sound into more commercially viable and/or pukey directions. This is no exception, but it is a shining example, much like Yes’s “Drama” or Rush’s “Moving Pictures”, of a band actually trying not to wuss out when going in the aforementioned “brighter” place.