Nektar: Remember The Future

40th anniversary edition of Nektar’s under-appreciated zenith.

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Nektar’s 1973 release isn’t widely regarded as their masterpiece, but it should be. Predecessors like Journey To The Centre Of The Eye and A Tab In The Ocean were more experimental and out-there as progressive space-rock visions, but this concept work is where they fused such daring with delicious melodies and deft rhythmic shifts into a glowingly charming whole.

It went Top 20 in the US, which is surprising given most hit albums weren’t about aliens called Bluebird discussing war and environmental issues with a blind Earth boy before divining infinite wisdom.

The music retains invention and diversity, there’s a friction-free flow to this, where every switch in style or tempo seems inevitable, every choice the perfectly right one. With Taff Freeman harmonising, Roye Albrighton has never sung better, and once the penny drops it’s so accessible you can sing along with every melancholy refrain.

Nektar have a new time-obsessed album, but you can mess with the elastic fabric of linearity by making this one of your must-listens for 2013. It’s every bit as engaging, elevated and genre-transcending as it did the day it was born.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.