Album Title: Kids In A Ghost Town
Label: Nestor Prestor Music Group
Date of Release: 22 October 2021
I have tried to get hold of a promo of this record for quite some time, even contacting the band personally in an attempt to succeed. Unfortunately, I drew a blank and were it not for a friend of mine who convinced me to suck up my hatred of Spotify, I’d still be unable to offer a review of the record. The record in question is ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’, the debut full length from Swedish melodic hard rockers, Nestor. They’ve been on my radar ever since, quite by accident, I heard the song ‘On The Run’ several months ago.
‘On The Run’ is the epitome of everything that I love about 80s hard rock, and from the first time I heard it several months ago, I’ve been unable to shake my absolute adoration for it. The verses are dominated by the incredibly powerful yet silky voice of Tobias Gustavsson, on top of some classic sounding riffs, rumbling bass, and strong drumbeats. Despite the galloping pace and hedonistic air, there’s a slightly melancholic, nostalgic vibe too that I latch on to, making the song more than just a simple 80s homage in my opinion. And then the chorus kicks in and the love is instantaneous. It’s a short-lived affair but it packs a punch, with a hook to die for, a strong AOR vibe, and infectious lyrics; I’ve been thoroughly smitten since my first listen, and I’m no less impressed several months down the line. The lead guitar solo is melodic, and the ensuing dual harmonies are spot on, nailing a perfect 80s-inspired melodic rock song.
Taking a step back for a moment, Nestor have been accused of being a novelty act, a spoof band akin to the likes of Steel Panther. That may be true, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate; in my opinion, the videos that accompany a couple of the songs do verge on spoof territory, but I’m firmly of the opinion that this is only to demonstrate the band’s sense of humour, adding another layer to their personalities. Musically, I have no doubt that Nestor are 100% serious; after all, music this good is not the result of taking things as a joke. ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’ is chock full of excellent music. Yes, it has been shamelessly influenced by the 1980s, and maybe they are a parody band. But who cares, when the end result is this strong? I sure as hell don’t. And you shouldn’t either.
As it turns out, Nestor was formed back in 1989 by a group of friends from a small Swedish town called Falkoping. Life and reality got in the way, but three decades later, they have returned to give their love of music one last try. I adore this story and I’m delighted to be able to offer such a positive review of ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’. It proves that dreams should never, ever be extinguished; whilst we all have breath left in our bodies, we should hold out hope that our dreams will come true.
‘Kids In A Ghost Town’ is littered with brilliant tracks, superb musicianship, and hooks that bury themselves so deep that it’s almost impossible to dislodge them. Don’t believe me? Then take ‘1989’ as another forceful example of how good this record really is. I heard the song once and was singing the chorus for weeks on end; it’s another hook-laden 80s tour-de-force with slow-burning choruses juxtaposed by nothing short of a killer chorus. And the song, just when you think it can’t get stronger, delivers that most cliched of ingredients – the key change. Yes, the song carries with it the stench of the 80s but this really isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Did I mention just how strong the chorus is? I did? Well, read it again: the chorus on this song is one of the most goddamn infectious things I’ve heard in 2021 or for a number of years for that matter. Alongside ‘On The Run’, Nestor have two stone cold classics on their hands.
But that’s not where the magic ends, because as I’ve said already, there is quality oozing from almost every pore on this record. It shouldn’t work in 2021, but ‘Tomorrow’, featuring none other than Samantha Fox, is another winner. It’s a ballad at heart, kicking off with a delicate piano melody alongside expressive male vocals courtesy of Gustavsson. The guitar embellishments are really cool, but when Fox enters, I’m actually impressed, rather than repulsed. I didn’t realise that she could sing this well, but apparently she can and, when coupled with strong songwriting, the song is really rather brilliant.
The title track kicks off with an effervescent lead guitar lick and ensuing riff, before settling down into a fantastic up-tempo heavy rock number. Without sounding like a parrot, the chorus is a thing of beauty, with strong hooks and melodies. The poignancy is something that really hits home for me. Born in 1980, I do understand the sentiment that comes through within this track, whilst I can also appreciate some excellent performances from all corners of the band; it’s abundantly clear that the Nestor guys are all pulling together to create the strongest album possible.
Even the potentially corny and cliched ‘Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore)’ somehow works thanks to full commitment from each of the musicians, coupled with utterly irresistible song writing. You simply cannot find fault with music that makes you smile this broadly and gets you moving wherever it is you find yourself listening to it. In my case, the dad dancing has been unleashed whilst walking the dog and frankly, I simply don’t care.
I could go on…and I will. ‘Stone Cold Eyes’ features one of the best choruses on the entire album, full of energy and a sense of fun that simply can’t be ignored. It reminds me a little of the likes of Def Leppard at their swaggering best. By contrast, ‘We Are Not Ok’ is a darker track, drenched in atmospheric synths, with yet another sublime chorus that has fought hard to win the accolade of the best on the album. And if it wasn’t for ‘On The Run’, it might well have won. Put it this way – on just about every other melodic hard rock album of the past eighteen months, this would have been the best song on any of those records. I’m not kidding.
I think you can tell how much I love this record. Every song brings with it something strong and worthy of mention. Every member of the band delivers a powerful performance. Every hook, every melody, every riff, every beat – they all land a punch that impresses me so very much and begs a repeated listen as soon as humanly possible. I don’t care whether or not Nestor are a parody band; in fact, the thought never really crossed my mind. All I care about is the way in which the music affects me. And on that score, Nestor deserve the highest of accolades because it has been quite a while since a melodic hard rock band has had such an impact upon me. If this is the kind of music that you enjoy, then prepare for Nestor to be your new favourite band. I just hope ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’ isn’t a one-off because I want to hear more music from Nestor. A lot more music, please guys.
The Score of Much Metal: 95%
Further reviews from 2021:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: