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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Nektar

A Spoonful of Time

Review by Gary Hill

The whole “do an album of covers” concept is a popular approach these days. This album is Nektar’s entry – and it’s a great one. In fact, while I’m a little hesitant to do such with a disc of covers, this might make my “best of 2012” list. It is a great album, and I highly recommend it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sirius

This Alan Parsons instrumental gets an updating, at least in part through the addition of some nearly fusion guitar work. Michael Pinella handles the keyboards on this thing. There are some tasty piano sounds that take it out.

Spirit of Radio
The melody is instantly recognizable, but the cut has Nektar written all over it. Mark Kelly is the keyboard player on this cut. I really dig the guitar solo on this. It’s very much trademark Nektar.
Fly Like an Eagle
There’s almost a Lynyrd Skynyrd vibe to the start of this. Then it shifts out to something more like a proggy take on the Steve Miller classic – always one of his proggier, anyway. There are two keyboardists on this cut, Geoff Downes and Joel Vandroogenbroek. Vandroogenbroek also adds some flute to the mix. Some of the keyboards on this sound like theremin at times.
Wish You Were Here
Edgar Froese provides keyboards on this classic Pink Floyd, tune. I like the guitar solo that brings an almost fusion sound to it. Otherwise, this really has Nektar written all over it in a lot of ways. I really like the extensive space rock meets progressive rock section that takes it out in style.
For the Love of Money
First off, just the fact that there’s an O’Jays song on this set is very unexpected and cool. Then add the appearance of Ian Paice (Deep Purple) on drums and Nik Turner (Hawkwind, Hawklords, etc.) on saxophone and this becomes even more surprising. The funk remains, but there’s a real jazz kind of element at play here, to a large degree because Turner’s sax just wails throughout. I really like this tune a lot. It might be my favorite of the whole set.
Can't Find My Way Home
Steve Howe’s guitar work is quite recognizable on this classic Blind Faith tune. I really love the vibe of this thing. In addition to the rest of Nektar and Mr. Howe, we also get Derek Sherinian and Mel Collins (blowing some tasty saxophone and also playing flute) on this piece. It’s one of my favorites here.
2000 Light Years from Home
Hitting the psychedelic side of the Rolling Stones, Simon House guests on this, bringing his violin to the party. As one might guess, it brings a bit of a Hawkwind vibe to it, and overall this is a killer space rock tune that’s very much Nektar meets the Stones and Hawkwind.
Riders on the Storm
With Billy Sheehan on bass and Rod Argent on keyboards, I love what Nektar has done with this classic Doors song. Argent’s keyboard solo is trademark.
Blinded By the Light
And, here we get Bruce Springsteen by way of Manfred Mann. The cut features Ginger Baker on drums and Joakim Svalberg on keyboards. I really like this version a lot. I think I prefer Mann’s rendition, but this one is quite tasty, too.
Out of the Blue
Simon House returns on this song. It’s a Roxy Music tune that feels a lot like Hawkwind meets Nektar. It’s quite dramatic and intriguing.
Old Man
David Cross plays violin on this dramatic progressive rock reworking of the Neil Young classic.
Dream Weaver
Jerry Goodman’s violin opens this up, and it’s quite a cool cover of the classic Gary Wright song. Hearing it done this way really makes one wonder if Wright was influenced by Nektar because the original had some Nektar sound to it. This just seems like a natural.
I'm Not in Love
Rick Wakeman plays keyboards on this cover of the 10CC song. I’ve always loved this tune and they put in a great rendition.
Africa
Bobby Kimball is the voice of Toto and he is featured on this rendition of their song. Patrick Moraz handles the keyboards and Joel Vandroogenbroek returns with his flute. This time he also contributes some sitar.
 
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