Wow, a band formed in the 1989 who fell asleep only to wake in 2022, well that’s effectively what happened with Nestor. According to the bio the band “...decided to reunite, reinvent the iconography of rock and restore its glory in 2021 with their debut album – yes, their debut album – Kids in a ghost town. With friendship as the fundament of this unique, seemingly unbreakable bond, Nestor are back for good and better than ever!” There may just be a little hyperbole in there I guess but the test is always in the end product and judging by first listens – we have a winner here!
What you get is a very Melodic take on the Hard Rock of the 80’s, though to be honest I almost didn’t even review this one – getting it days after release and at that stage only finding a dozen sites where it had already been put up for download or streaming! Add to that the fact that the album is already almost a year old and this is just a re-release with three bonus tracks. Indeed as I review this ‘stream’ you can listen to it yourself on the band’s own website which offers a Spotify stream link. It all makes me wonder why really bother? But then again this is The Rockpit and this is good music, and that’s just what we do.
‘On the Run’ is a great Melodic opener that is smooth and melodic enough but just lacks the killer hook that ‘Kids in a Ghost Town’ that follows it has. There’s little sign of grit and not a scent of Blues here in the mix so it’s definitely one for the fans of bands like Journet, Survivor and Foreigner rather than say Skid Row or Aerosmith. The test is in the third song usually and ‘Stone Cold Eyes’ passes with even more Melodic flying colors and the synths and riffs that open ‘These Days’ fall into a smooth as silk refrain that really does mark this high class AOR.
‘Tomorrow’ that features the 80’s Icon Samantha Fox is a nice emotional piano-led ballad and shows that Sam still has the pipes. There’s a light Celtic vibe about it that won’t break your heart or lead you to tears but might raise a lump in the throat. Oddly the three bonus tracks here are strung through the album rather than added at the end, I have no idea of the pedigree because the press release is great on name-checking and spin but light on interesting facts. We get back to rocking out with 80’s lyrical themes with ‘Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore)’ that makes you wonder about the echoes of Steel Panther without the dirty lyrics. Saying that it’s probably my favourite here. Remember that in the 80’s you were allowed to have fun and keep that tongue firmly in the cheek.
A brace of bonus tracks follow – first the ominously titled ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ that almost made me skip immediately, sadly I played it and can confirm it stinks just a little less than the fetid original Whitney Houston version did. One thing I don’t get no matter how old I get is Rock’s obsession with Pop. Pop and the mainstream never gave a shit out us and still don’t. And to paraphrase the great Steve Marriott ‘A shit song is still shit no matter how much you dress it up’. Houston was a cynical label creation designed to make money who wrote nothing and over-sang everything. The only nice thing I can think to say is you can still at least hunt the original version of the album that doesn’t feature this bonus track. As the album goes it’s like dropping a steaming one on a tray of diamonds.
There’s a phrase in Rock and Roll that was used in The Spinal Tap movie that says something like “They were still booing the opening act when we came on” and that bad taste in my mouth after hearing a Whitney Houston song really spoiled my enjoyment of the rest of the record and ‘A Losing Game’ that in truth offers some nice thrust and drive just sounded limp after that.
‘We Are Not OK’ that follows is slow and moody and has a nice shot of emotion, whilst ‘Firesign’ really ticks all the boxes – it’s a wonderful soaring rocker and another highlight, and penultimate track ‘1989’ with its faux vintage Radio intro is another Melodic homerun. The final track ‘It Ain’t Me’ sadly just fails to connect, it’s a ballad, heavy on keys but just failed to hook me in. It’s a shame because almost everything else here is spot on.
One of the things I really liked about this re-release is the formats – it comes on CD, as a Black Vinyl LP and cassette tape, as well as a limited edition wooden boxset (+ exclusive 7″ sun yellow transparent vinyl, 3 guitar picks, CD – Digisleeve & wristband) and Die Hard red transparent vinyl (+ exclusive 7″ vinyl & patch). Did they say wooden box set with a wristband?! I’m in!
I can imagine a lot of those tracks being heavier ‘live’ too and I guess that’s the only comment I’d make – there’s some great guitar work her and the band are more than competent but there are so many AOR bands out there at the moment it’s hard to stand out. Nestor has the songs to do that an despite the song I will never mention again this is a great set of songs.
7.5/10 maybe more without the first bonus track
Kids in a ghost town track list:
1 A Fanfare for the Reliable Rebel (Intro)
2 On the Run
3 Kids in a Ghost Town
4 Stone Cold Eyes
5 These Days
6 Tomorrow Feat. Samantha Fox
7 Signed in Blood (Bonustrack)
8 Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore)
9 I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Bonustrack)
10 A Losing Game (Bonustrack)
11 We are not Ok
14 It Ain’t Me