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Utopia - Todd Rundgren's Utopia CD (album) cover

TODD RUNDGREN'S UTOPIA

Utopia

 

Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 258 ratings

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Evolver
Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Utopia's first album remains their best.

Todd Rundgren originally formed this group to take advantage of the popularity of progressive rock in the mid-seventies. With three keyboardists, guitar, bass and drums the band certainly had a big sound. But the music press was accustomed to Rundgren playing ballads and love songs, and really couldn't understand this fine, complex album.

Three of the four tracks rival most of the top symphonic prog and fusion works from it's time. And the music itself is a spectacular blend of both of those styles. I hear echoes of Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra throughout (one keyboard break in The Ikon sounds like it could have been written by Rick Wakeman.

The opener. Utopia's Theme is grandiose and bombastic, everything I love in a prog epic. It makes a much better theme song than the comparitively lame Road To Utopia from the "Adventures" album.

The only time the album lets up is on the one short track, Freedom Fighters, which sounds more like the middle years of the later incarnation of the band. And the production sometimes gets overwhelmed by the dense instrumentation.

It's a shame Utopia moved so quickly away from this style into a more mundane power pop band.

Evolver | 5/5 |

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