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Nektar - Journey To The Centre Of The Eye CD (album) cover

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EYE

Nektar

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.70 | 287 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A British band operating out of Hamburg, Germany in their early days, Nektar are one of the most popular and well known psychedelic and melodic spacerock bands from the Seventies in progressive rock related circles. Despite being released in 1971, `Journey To The Centre of the Eye' hangs on to definite late 60's acid rock and psychedelic sounds, very much along the lines of the early Pink Floyd albums, as well as sophisticated Moody Blues- like vocal harmonies backed by walls of Mellotron, and perhaps even just a touch of the Beatles psych-pop here and there as well. An early take on developing spacerock atmospheres, ambient hallucinogenic passages and even some slight droning repetitive Krautrock flavours are all wrapped up in gutsy symphonic prog ambitions, and with all the individual pieces running together, the album works up a seamless drifting flow.

Opening with splintering electric guitar bubbles over droning organ in the manner of `Piper/Saucerful' era Floyd, the band quickly move back and forth in tempo between dreamy and mellow passages with vocals wrapped in other-worldly eerie treated effects and chugging hard-rock guitar grunt, with blaring upfront delirious Hammond organ soloing. Mellotron and Hammond float and quickly rise in `Countenance', not unlike the final section of Floyd's `A Saucerful of Secrets', and while the urgent drumming gives it a more powerful and frantic quality, the sighing wordless harmonies are even more victorious and confident. Deep-space keyboards, feedback wailing guitars and punishing drumming swirl together in a tornado of mind-shattering noise, and random ear-splitting psychedelic shimmerings slice through the dark.

The second side fades in on the remainder of `The Dream Nebula' with chiming guitar ripples, leading into the Moody Blues-inspired `It's All In the Mind', pleasing vocals over scratchy regal Mellotron with muscular and rapid-fire electric guitar strains bringing a storming heaviness. `Burn Out My Eyes' is the classic part of the album, a warm rocking ballad section with echoing fragile vocals and wasted toasty harmonies that float around. There's humming droning Hammond organ and snarling delirious acid-rock guitar shreds in the lengthy instrumental break in the middle, bringing even a bit of plodding Hawkwind- style menace. The harpsichord driven `Void of Vision' moves through playful and almost comical psych-pop in the style of the Beatles, then a twisting piano and bluesy harder guitar passage before closing on a soaring reprise of the opening track to bring a sense of complete closure.

Nektar would go on to make more mature and sophisticated albums within the years after this one, but in some ways they never made a better record than this debut. There's no doubt that it's a little dated, very much a product of its time and a little rough around the edges with a somewhat uninspired production, but there's that youthful spark and creative hunger throughout the album that showcased a band searching in all sorts of directions. The next few albums would see them honing their song-writing skills and sharpening up their sound, but the fragile, lost-in-space quality throughout `Journey to the Centre of the Eye' makes it an exhilarating and thrilling debut that followers of vintage psych and spacerock will love.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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