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Utopia - Ra CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.67 | 100 ratings

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2 stars Todd Rundgren had in fact been an important pioneer in stateside progressive rock at a time when such a thing didn't really exist outside of Zappa and a few scattered bands, and his musical collective Utopia provided a platform for a wider prog palette. Unfortunately their third, 'RA', tends to disappoint save a few good moments here and there. Indulgent, over-produced and somewhat clumsy, the album is filled with layers of operatic vocals, mid-70s pomp-rock and American absurdities and sounds like an ill-prepared meeting of Queen, BOC and the Beatles jamming at Frank Zappa's birthday party, waddling along with college hijinks and enthusiasm. Rundgren's stable of Roger Powell (synths), Kasim Sulton (bass), and John Wilcox (drums) is a decent bunch and the first four tracks are strung together with big vocals and good energy, closing the first half with some old-fashioned riff rock in 'Sunburst Finish'. The eyebrow-raising 'Hiroshima' attempts politics but only embarrasses with naivite and ethnic slurs. Finishing is the 18-minute fable 'Singring and the Glass Guitar-An Electrified Fairy Tale', a failed attempt at epic theater and though vain and unimportant, this release may have some mild interest for prog enthusiasts.

Atavachron | 2/5 |


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