Magic Is a Child

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Magic Is a Child was released in 1977, the debut for new Nektar guitarist Dave Nelson. Carrying on, though, from where their last set left off, Nektar's fascination with shorter, punchier songs continued unabated, even while the keyboards continued to swell and the guitars shifted ever more toward the symphonic. Nektar's brightening vistas were new, however, and a fatal flaw as far as their fans were concerned. They didn't want breezy pop, and breezy pop fans didn't want Nektar, while the band's new label, Polydor, apparently didn't care either way. The art department did spring for the 13-year-old Brooke Shields to appear on the front cover, but that was it in terms of promotion. Thematically, too, little about Magic Is a Child recalls Nektar's days as prog darlings. The opening "Away from Asgard" is a fine slab of Norse storytelling, tied into the vast dark forests of northern Germany (where the band was still based), while "Midnight Light" also has a romantic Germanic tinge, as it eulogizes the village of Seeheimut. "Love to Share," in contrast, is an unabashed Beatles tribute, riddled with affectionate borrowings and an oddly effective backward drum, while "On the Run (The Trucker)" still sounds like a slice of AOR radio filler.

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