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Utopia - Swing To The Right CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.11 | 27 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Apparently Healing wasn't, and UTOPIA came out swinging on "Swing To The Right". This is their nastiest, most cynical record since "Oops! Wrong Planet", taking aim at REAGAN-era America with all the smartass satisfaction you'd expect from the new wave of know-it-alls. Twisting their pop songs into brutal, discordant pieces like "Last Dollar On Earth", "The Up" and "Junk Rock" illuminates the melodies in blacklight. Far from the overly cute approach of "Deface The Music", Swing is the scariest album in the UTOPIA collection. But underneath all the standoffish screaming and cutting-edge cacophony are some remarkably catchy tunes, which is the record's real appeal. Who else could turn totalitarianism into an infectious dance parody like "Fahrenheit 451" or paint mankind as a bunch of monkeys and still make it a barrelful of fun? If you said FRANK ZAPPA, give yourself a star. UTOPIA has often slipped into Zappa's camp at night, stealing some of the avant jazz noisiness and overcaffeinated arrangements found on FRANK's mid '70s work. "Swing To The Right" will attract the same sort of listeners who don't mind climbing up sometimes inscrutable passages for the vein of musical gold concealed therein. And the melodies wrapped in "Shinola", "The Up" and a radical rework of "For The Love of Money" are worth the effort. Of course, it wouldn't be a TODD RUNDGREN affair without some lump-in-the-throat love songs, and the anti- war "Lysistrata" is worth the album price alone ("Only Human" is also very good, but out of place on this album). The record closes on the upbeat (and optimistic) "One World", which tones down the electronic onslaught for an acoustic TOM PETTY/JOHN COUGAR vibe. It's not enough to dispel the negative energy that accumulates over the course of the album, but the song's minty simplicity removes some of the bad taste. Me,

I'll ride along with energy (negative or otherwise) where I find it, and "Swing To The Right" has provided plenty of good rides over the years.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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