NEKTAR A Spoonful of Time (CD on Purple Pyramid)
This release from 2012 features 71 minutes of progrock covers of commercial pop tunes.
Nektar is: Roye Albrighton (on vocals and guitar), Ron Howden (on drums), and Klaus Henatsch (on keyboards), with Billy Shrewood (on bass, backing vocals, synthesizer, and guitar). They are joined on this release by: Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Nik Turner, Ginger Baker, Derek Sherinian, Mel Collins, Simon House, Bily Sheehan, Rod Argent, Mark Kelly, Geoff Downes, Edgar Froese, Joakim Svalberg, Ian Paice, David Cross, Jerry Goodman, Michael Pinnella, Joel Vandroogenbroeck, Bobby Kimball, and Patrick Moraz.
This release features cover versions of classic tunes by other bands, including Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," Steve Miller's "Fly like an Eagle," Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home," the Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years from Home," the Doors' "Riders on the Storm," Bruce Springstein's "Blinded by the Light," Roxy Music's "Out of the Blue," Neil Young's "Old Man," and Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver," among others.
This release is an oddity, in that we have a notable progressive band doing cover versions of tracks that are known for their commercial popularity.
The guitar is crisp and agile.
The drums are nimble, producing rhythms suitable to each track.
The bass provides an adequate foundation for the rest of the instruments.
The keyboards generate slippery and fluid riffs.
The vocals are restrained to fit the material's lyrical mannerisms.
All of the guests contribute solid performances designed to fit the songs' accessible nature.
To accommodate each song's stylistic character, the instrumentation is versatile but often somewhat mediocre. Everybody is too obsessed with maintaining the purity of these compositions; nobody dares to let their own creativity flourish. It might've been more interesting if the musicians embellished the material instead of remaining so loyal to the original songs.
Nektar are an amazing band, and the guests are all talented in their own right, but there's just nothing special about this project.
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