In 1974, a heavy tour schedule consumed Caravan. John G. Perry left in July and was replaced at producer David Hitchcock’s suggestion by ex-Curved Air bassist Mike Wedgwood. After a switch to Miles Copeland’s BTM agency, the band embarked on their first US tour in September. They entered the studio in early 1975 to record their sixth album, Cunning Stunts. The record kicks off with the proud “The Show of Our Lives” (with Wedgwood on lead vocals), before sliding into “Stuck in a Hole.” Both the latter track and “No Backstage Pass” would be the only compositions from Pye Hastings.
Though based in Germany, Down To Earth saw Nektar back to recording in the UK at Chipping Norton Studios, with producer Peter Hauke in tow. The album revolves around the concept of a circus; popular at the time, Argent would also use this theme. The band leave behind most of their psychedelic trappings and long-form jamming, and instead deliver an album of expertly-crafted songs. The lively "Astral Man" glibly sets the stage; these British expatriates may have been taking a stab at their countrymen's otherworldly opuses, or perhaps even a little at their own.