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UK

UK

 

Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 537 ratings

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Walkscore
3 stars For the Money or Music?

One of the first supergroups, and a precursor to Asia, UK should have been spectacular. One of the best drummers (Bruford), guitarists (Holdsworth), ex-Crim on bass (Wetton), and still-uncommon virtuoso electric violinist (Jobson). However, it seems the band was held back by the egos and ambitions of some of the members. While Brufod and Holdsworth wanted to expand their talents through improvisation, Wetton and Jobson were more interested in becoming famous rock stars. You can hear it in these songs too. This is not to say there is no good music here - in fact there is some great music, particularly on side 1. The suite "In the Dead of Night" is actually quite good, even if a bit long, while "Thirty Years" (closing side 1) is excellent. However, even here you can tell that these were written explicitly so as to be both appealing to fans of Crimson and other progressive rock as well as to the more commercial fan-base of arena-rock tours. But I would give the first side low four stars, although this material is even better played live. Side 2 of the album, however, is weaker. "Alaska/Time to Kill" is OK, although clearly meant to open their arena-rock shows, and Wetton's vocals are not up the singing. The last two tunes, "Nevermore" and "Mental Medication" are fairly poor. This second side is not that much better than the weak follow-up album Danger Money. I give this second side low 3 stars. Taken together, this album can't get to 4 stars. While containing some good music, the writing (and singing) seems forced, even on the better tracks, and some of the music comes across as both pretentious and at the same not indulgent enough, as there are few opportunities for either Bruford or Holdsworth to shine. The style in places makes one think this band was trying to fill the space vacated by ELP, who were no longer touring or releasing decent records, and I can't help think when I listen to this that the band's motivations for making it were not primarily musical (a suspicion verified once I heard Bruford's account!). But still, side 1 is worth multiple listenings. I give this 7.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |

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