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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
UK - UK CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 554 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I hesitate to give this album 5 stars, so I'll go for 4 - though my rating is at least a 4.5, given the sterling quality of the playing here. UK were the (unfortunately) short-lived supergroup which tried to revive symphonic prog in the late '70s, producing two excellent studio albums (although with different line-ups) and an equally valid live recording before splitting up at the very end of the decade. It is a pity that Wetton - who plays and sings brilliantly on this album - went on to form the awful Asia, an utter waste of talent and electricity (as the late John Peel said of ELP).

This record did not impress me too much when I first bought it, but then it grew on me. It is still something I have to listen to carefully in order to fully appreciate it, which means I can't put it in the background when I'm doing something else around the house - but the experience gets better and better with each listen. Here, Jobson takes the lion's share, playing both keyboards and electric violin. The latter gives the album a distinctive quality it shares with Crimson's 73-74 records - though Jobson's playing is more atmospheric, evocative and somewhat romantic as well. Surprisingly, though, one of my favourite elements of "U.K." is Wetton's singing: his performance in the record's highlight, the opening, three-part suite "In the Dead of Night/By the Light of Day/Presto Vivace- Reprise", is nothing short of amazing. As many people on this website already know, I've never been a fan of Wetton's singing with Crimso (with the notable exception of "Red"), but here he's at his most emotional. His bass playing is also quite superb and complements Bruford magnificent drumming perfectly - just listen to the closing track, "Mental Medication", in order to fully appreciate his thick, powerful yet skillful bass lines. Then, Allan Holdsworth needs no introduction: he's a musician's musician rather than a shredder, and this is enough to gain my approval.

By way of a conclusion, I cannot help wondering why some people describe this album as "poppy" or even "easy". To me there's nothing even remotely easy about this record, which, as I already said, needs more than one cursory listen to be appreciated as the near- masterpiece it is.

Raff | 4/5 |


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