Nestor’s ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’ is a pleasant debut featuring good vocals/sound/production throughout and certain quality songs, though it’s not the masterpiece of the genre that many were anticipating.
Written by: Dave T
ALBUM: Kids In A Ghost Town
LABEL: Nestor Prestor Music Group
SERIAL: Nestor 3.0
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Tobias Gustavsson – vocals * Jonny Wemmenstedt – guitars * Martin Frejinger – keyboards * Marcus Ãƒâ€¦blad – bass * Mattias Carlsson – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 A Fanfare For The Reliable Rebel (Intro) * 02 On The Run * 03 Kids In A Ghost Town * 04 Stone Cold Eyes * 05 Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore) * 06 These Days * 07 Tomorrow (with Samantha Fox) * 08 We Are Not OK * 09 Firesign * 10 1989 * 11 It Ain’t Me
WEBLINKS: FB Page
The story of Nestor goes back to 1989 when a bunch of kids in their mid-teens started a band in their hometown Falkoping, geographically in the middle of Sweden at about 77 miles from Gothenburg and around 180 miles from Stockholm.
Singer and bandleader Tobias Gustavsson cites Kiss‘s ‘Animalize’ album as the one that most influenced him in pursuing his rock’n’roll dreams, plus other bands the likes of Van Halen, Motley Crue and Twisted Sister.
The band was named after the fictional character of Captain Haddock’s butler from ‘The Adventures Of Tintin’s comic book (rather than after the wise King of Pylos in Greek mythology) and released two EPs, 1993’s self-titled and 1996’s ‘Insane’, before splitting up in the mid 1990s.
Gustavsson became a well-known songwriter and producer who won a Swedish Grammy in 2009 for the ‘2008 Song Of The Year’ category. He was also part of the Roxette-like Swedish pop duo Itchycoo and the alternative rock band Straight Frank, while he co-wrote songs with Martin Stenmarck as well. Recently, he’s been composing music for the gaming industry.
Three of Nestor’s members also took part in the acoustic cover band Carved In Trees between 2016 and 2018.
After 22 years of silence, Nestor reunited in 2017 and released a third EP under the ‘Nestor Fkp’ (Nestor from Falkoping) moniker, which surprisingly sounded more alternative or post-Grunge than the melodic rock the band currently composes and plays. Moreover, the looks were natural when compared to their flamboyant image of 2021.
The main songwriters here are Gustavsson and guitarist Wemmenstedt. The singer has a noticeable deeper voice than your average mel rock vocalist does. The sound and production are strong and natural. The drum sound, in particular during the uptempo songs, reminds me of Eric Carr in the way the drumheads are tuned, while the guitar sound often times resembles Europe circa their ‘Out Of The World’ album. The overall vibe of the recording is a nostalgic throwback to the 1987-1992 era of melodic rock.
After the 911 emergency-themed intro ‘A Fanfare For The Reliable Rebel’, ‘On The Run’ opens with a strong flavor of Kiss‘s Animalize first song ‘I’ve Had Enough’ to the guitar riffs and ending run, although the vocals are on the melodic rock side rather than metal, plus the keyboards parps add another melodic element.
The title track ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’, with a nod to Van Halen on the main riff, increases the melodic factor featuring a catchy chorus and flanger-soaked guitars. ‘Stone Cold Eyes’ is a strong AOR song with a triumphant a cappella chorus backed solely by loud drums and a modulation after the guitar solo, spoiled by the fact that it clearly recalls Giant‘s ‘Hold Back The Night’.
‘Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore)’ stands out as my preferred song, one for which hooks, stabby keys plus subtle spot on catchy parps, and nostalgic lyrical content that perfectly matches the vibe stand out. I suspect Bo Derek is secretly more than happy for this implicit homage, for she will always be ’10’ in my book.
Now, I won’t beat around the bushes, ‘These Days’ is basically a slightly more uptempo rewriting of Van Halen‘s ‘Right Now’, despite the wistful lyrics lacking the strong message of the original.
From here on, following a fairly strong first half, the album goes downhill to these ears, save for one worthy exception. The ballad ‘Tomorrow’, featuring Samantha Fox, is acceptable even though Gustavsson’s performance overshadows the British sex symbol’s more restrained vocal work. Second ballad in a row ‘We Are Not OK’ works slightly better for its Hi-Tech overtones and emotional delivery.
‘Firesign’ is the long awaited hard rocker this far into the album, and while powerful and heavy, it relies heavily on the Motley Crue sound around ‘Dr. Feelgood’, especially with regard ‘Kickstart My Heart’, plus a certain lack of melody doesn’t help either.
‘1989’ is indeed a great melodic rock song with all the right features, certainly the stand out of the album’s second part, even though some detective ears raised on a steady diet of Kiss might identify traces of ‘Magic Touch’ guitar chords, the ‘Sword And Stone’ verses and ‘I’ll Fight Hell To Hold You’ pre-choruses.
‘It Ain’t Me’ promisingly starts with a bang after the spoken intro, however it is yet another ballad on a broken relationship. My perception is that an uptempo song would have worked better to round off the album. My issue with the three ballads here is that they are one-dimensional with regard the same drama element they all share, and my ears would have asked for more variation.
In all honesty, this is not the case where I consciously tried to compare Nestor’s music to past glories, but the other way round, the songs here took me effortlessly back to several others from the glory days that are stuck in my head, which is telling something on the originality and staying power factors, or about a certain desired effect.
A pleasant debut from Nestor featuring good vocals/sound/production throughout and certain quality songs. Credit is open, this is not the masterpiece of the genre that many were anticipating, expecting or simply wishing for (fueled by an intense PR campaign); but a good starting point nonetheless. I do expect a stronger personal identity for their next releases.
To conclude, I’m borrowing a sentence I’ve heard from my good friend, our own Explorer: ‘Neither Boston nor other seminal AOR/Melodic rock giants were aware of the fact that they were planting the seeds of the genre. They were only playing Rock the way they felt it’. Genres and labels are for music lovers and critics, while a musicians’ home is music itself.
On The Run
Tomorrow (with Samantha Fox
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That video for ‘On The Run’ is an awesome run through of pop culture down through the decades.