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U Totem - U Totem CD (album) cover


U Totem



4.24 | 93 ratings

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5 stars Fine symphonic avant-prog, and maybe my even most favourite album.

I usually don't care so much about the sound, but in this record it's truly satisfying (well, not so much in some parts), especially warm woodwind and the vocals. This band is also innovative and progressive and. much! Bright but doomy! Compact but sporadic!

One Nail Draws Another (1. / 14:58) starts quite dramatically and soon is HENRY COW coming into my mind. Songs like "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" and "Beautiful As The Moon - Terrible As An Army With Banners" (by HC) and "House Of Ash" (by THE RED MASQUE). This is epic dark avant-prog. Add some sudden noises, PRESENT (and other chamber rock) and orchestral classical music and polyphonic choir. And the melodies are very nice, carrying through those irrational parts.

Two Looks at One End (2. / 7:03) starts more upbeaten - cheerful psychedelic avant-pop. Even some circus elements, like it's common in avant-garde music - but not irritating or obvious in this case. Well, this is also like KING CRIMSON and RUNAWAY TOTEM's darker songs and the happier parts come suddenly between more ambient noise parts. Actually I don't like so much moment when there's pre-referring to Vagabonds Home (7.).

Dance of the Awkward (3. / 2:24) is playfully clumsy little instrumental, quite typical avant-prog, but I don't actually like it.

Both Your Houses (4. / 7:52) has quite mysterious and weird melody (and quite long - I've noticed it while humming it) that starts nicely powerfully. This kind of weird music I am and have been longing for. Later, there's powerful instrumentation and screaming, also softer parts. First the melody was like introducing me into a secret world, but now the world happened to be family hell (actually I don't listen the lyrics - this is what comes into my mind), and the starter melody turns to very emotional played after that.

Yellow Umbrella Gallery (5. / 5:10) has much some speaking voices and crowds, and a bit psychedelic and making me numb (also the length of the song), but I don't mind. This is not bad music and doesn't spoil the overall experience.

The Judas Goat (6. / 10:07). I'm not so keen on the sound (or some things in it) in those more rocking (but don't you dare to think it's rock) parts in the quite beginning and in the end. Anyway, the female vocals are great and dramatic and there's mellow dark song building here, reminding me of "Possessed" by THINKING PLAGUE. PS The song ends some psychedelia a bit similar to OZRIC TENTACLES.

Vagabonds Home (7. / 14:46). Like the first song, this is very good. Dynamic and catchy. Very great structures and this is just lovely. Sometimes reminds me of KENSO's songs that are also suitable for children's movies (maybe these are not so much background music but more like theme music). The ending is quite repetitive and long (but I like it and it fades away nicely) and actually these song structures are a bit weird, so there's no so much diversity in some scales.

All but third and fifth songs are very great. And you MUST get this if you're into avant-prog, but I recommend this very warmly for everyone who wants to see what prog can do.

It is a pity that there is very little music like this, if there even is.

progressive | 5/5 |


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