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Unitopia - Artificial CD (album) cover

ARTIFICIAL

Unitopia

 

Crossover Prog

3.78 | 230 ratings

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Lozlan
4 stars Unitopia are not a band to be reviewed lightly. This is not due to an overabundance of substance in their work; rather, the listener needs to become firmly acclimated with their particular style of positive-thinking lyricism, which can drown out the fantastic music in a tide of idealistic cheese. This is particularly evident in the first half of Artificial (specifically on the track Artificial World), which is the lyrical equivalent of an old man grumbling and waving his cane at those pesky youngsters. Apparently the internet is destroying our real-time relationships, we have lost the sense of community that made us human, blah blah blah. There is nothing redeeming here, save for the solid fact that the music is gorgeous and occasionally extraordinary. Unitopia are clearly talented, geriatric songwriting tendencies aside. The album picks up a fair amount of steam when it departs from its extended meditation on how technology makes us emotionless, inhuman pawns: the extended track Tesla marks a somewhat puzzling but welcome departure from preachiness. The ensuing suite of tracks are much more dynamic, musically as well as lyrically, and redeem an album that ultimately falls short of The Garden's more majestic and intense moments.

That said, the band have chosen to restrain their instrumentation, steering clear from discernible organ lines in favor of synthesizers and using the saxophone as a means of connecting intense musical moments via generic jazzy interludes. The guitar is crunchy as always, but the instrumental frenzy the band is clearly capable of creating (again, moments of The Garden astonish with their power) is eschewed in favor of the atmospheric. This works, and doesn't work, depending on the track.

I give the album four stars with some slight reservation, mostly stemming from the first four tracks (although Nothing Lasts Forever is a loving tribute to the Beatles, and has been growing on me steadily). Mark Trueak is a vocalist to watch; it's a terrible shame that he isn't given more meaningful lyrics to acompany his unique voice.

Lozlan | 4/5 |

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