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UK

Eclectic Prog


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UK UK album cover
4.06 | 440 ratings | 82 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In The Dead Of Night (5:38)
2. By The Light Of Day (4:32)
3. Presto Vivace And Reprise (2:58)
4. Thirty Years (8:05)
5. Alaska (4:45)
6. Time To Kill (4:55)
7. Nevermore (8:09)
8. Mental Medication (6:12)

Total Time: 45:14

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion
- Allan Holdsworth / guitars
- Eddie Jobson / keyboards, electric violin
- John Wetton / lead vocals, bass

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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UK UK ratings distribution


4.06
(440 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
43%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

UK UK reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A very good album by the first supergroup in the history of progressive rock. Bruford's drumming is very impressive and Jobson's parts on keyboards and electric violin are delightful. Although Bruford and Wetton were both members of King Crimson, the music here is lighter and closer to symphonic prog than to hard prog. If you like this album, you will probably like Bruford's best effort : One of a kind, one track of which was written by Jobson.

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Send comments to lucas (BETA) | Report this review (#7494) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 02, 2003

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album brought Allan Holdsworth to a wider audience, while Bill Bruford (Yess, King Crimson) , John Wetton (Family, King Crimson) and Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, Curved Air), made their fame prior to this line up. A Supergroup of epic proportions, and one to actually live up to the billing.

In The Dead of Night, broken into three sections, is a tour-de-force of battered roto-toms, tortured keyboards, slashing violin and jaw-dropping guitar solos. I've always enjoyed Wetton's "edge of his range" vocals, straining and powerful. Part II, In the Light of Day, offers some respite, softly bringing forth the eye of the storm before the finale.

Thirty Years features some of the most powerful Bruford drumming on the record. Alaska/Time to Kill has great punishing keyboard work from Eddie Jobson. The intro to "Nevermore" is one of the best moments in music. The keyboard, guitar trade offs are incendiary. Mental Medication offers up even more tasteful solos, but leaves you hanging and wanting more at the end.

This is a classic, a "Must Have" for any progger.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#7480) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 26, 2003

Review by maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Founding Moderator
4 stars An almost prophetic grouping of prog-rock veterans, U.K.'s first album is simply a must-have for any prog-rock fan. Bruford's drumming has rarely been crisper, or more playful and concise, Jobson does some of his best-ever work on both synth and violin, Holdsworth is nothing short of breath-taking, and Wetton's bass and voice are at their peak. From the opening polyrhythms of In The Dead of Night to the quasi-classical coda of Mental Medication, not a single note is misplaced, not a single sound is inappropriate, not a single rhythm is anything but flawless. Truly a wonder, in every way.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#7482) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Review by The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars An amazing last hurrah for prog rock in the 70's, it would never get this good again for some time. Great playing by everyone, great tunes (though "Mental Medication" seems a bit disjointed and patched together for my taste). Holdsworth does stuff on guitar that just sounds absolutely impossible! The tradeoffs between Allan and Eddie are priceless!

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Send comments to The Owl (BETA) | Report this review (#7483) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars This is typically the sort of supergroup of the late 70's that, as gifted as they were, did nothing to help the state of affairs of prog among the weekly press. I, for one, did not care that much about UK and other groups of that era as they did not have a very fresh approach to music and it seems that most of those musicians had fewer inspirations and only seemed interested to do more music as to keep busy and keep the bucks coming in.

Of course this incredible line-up was simply too good to make a bad album, but by the time in their career, these guys were not freshmen anymore (most of them were already professional since the start of decade minimum, so they are seasoned veterans) and this debut album lacks the enthusiasm of the debut album of a group starting out with their very first album. UK's debut album has more of a feeling: "OK, guys!! This group is now together, how can we make an album that the music industry will carry on (or promote) while the talk of the town is about three chord rock tunes?" So the best way I can describe this album is that it is a very professional album, with all the negatives this can imply regarding the artistic integrity.

What strikes right away is the start of their best-known track, In The Dead Of Night, the intro borrows heavily from Genesis' Watchers Of The Skies (and this is no coincidence, right Bill?), even though the rest of the track shifted onto something else just after. It's obvious that the level of the musicianship is enormous in this band, but with the lack of fresh ideas (every passage sounds like someone else), it becomes a bit of a show-off. The major instrument passage sounds again like a cross of Supper's Apocalyptic Watcher. If the first track was energetic, despite sounding borrowed, its alter-ego By The Light Of Day borrows on its predecessor and crosses it on a Yes-like short track where Anderson would've let out all of his testosterone to sound Wetton-like accompanying some disputable Jobson synth sound choices no doubt the CS-80 from Yamaha, that sounds like Asia and the early 80's. Holdsworth's guitar sounds are not exactly suiting my eardrums, either. Presto Vivace sounds like a third grade ELP reprising the lead-off track. Thirty Years is another Asia preview and easily the worst of this album.

The flipside doesn't fare better, starting with Alaska4s elongated intro preceding the ELP-like main-body. The instrumental track segues directly into the disastrous Time To Kill, which sounds like Pre-Asia stuff, partly due to Wetton's way over-mixed (and over-rated) vocals. A few acoustic arpeggios, sounding like everyone around at the time, are opening Nevermore, which is butchered instantly by Wetton's uninspired vocals trying to sound like Caravan (Hastings + Sinclair) this time; and quickly the track turns into a piano bar fiasco, with only Holdsworth's guitar to save it from ridicule, Jobson's synth interventions stinking up the place. Just a pure mess, one that would only prove right the punk's laughter. The closing Mental Medication should find a better a third word title in "Needed", because I have no idea why anyone let Wetton sing out soooooo wrong (let's stay polite). This track's vocals are so cringing that you can barely listen to the music itself, first a cross of Yes & ELP, than in its middle section, the two instrumental passages somewhat raises the overall level of the album, but not enough to avoid the album from sinking. When over-professionalism encounters lack of ideas.

But I am probably reading too much into this but I thought this deserved to be at least once said. Don't get me wrong: this is an awesome line-up and the musicianship is great. If you plan to belt me for only three stars given, avoid the head and crotch areas ;-)

I'll round it up to the upper star out of respect for Bruford and Holsworth.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#7484) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 1978, progressive rock declined very much. UK was a rare band to keep alive this musical genre. With Eddie Jobson on keyboards and electric violins, Allan Holdsworth on guitars, Bill bruford on drums and John Wetton on bass, the supergroup UK is a sure value and the listeners must have great expectations. Indeed, most of those musicians have a natural predisposition to create and play fusion music, so that many excellent fusion parts are present on this record. Jobson's modern keyboards for the year are often futuristic and very dramatic & expressive; his electric violin is often floating, creating spacy and floating atmospheres like on "By the light of the day" or "Thirty years": his electric violin reminds the Jean Luc Ponty's one. Wetton's lead vocals are very good; Allan Holdsworth's electric guitars are often discreet, although he has wonderful & complex electric guitar solos like on "Thirty years" and "Mental medication", on which the Jobson's keyboards sound like a floating Vangelis of the early 80's. Holdsworth's electroacoustic guitars on "Nevermore" are particularly elaborated and impressive. Wetton's bass is much more elaborated than his work with Asia, especially on "Mental medication". "Presto vivace" has a fast, complex & synchronized bit a la Frank Zappa's "Echidna's Arf". Bruford's drums are as usual: complex and professionally played. Jobson's keyboards are sometimes vintage, like the rhythmic organ on "Alaska", sounding a bit like Triumvirat. The "fusion" term takes all its sense on tracks live "Nevermore" and "Mental medication". "Mental medication" has amazing & complex rhythm changing parts with excellent electric violin parts. Eddie Jobson is a rare musician who MASTERS 2 disparate instruments: violin and keyboards: he clearly shows it here!

EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#7524) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Overhyped prog rock album. This is a prog supergroup consisting of Eddie Jobson, Bill Bruford, John Wetton, and Allan Holdsworth. To me, I find the album too modern for my liking. It sounds more like a 1982 recording than a 1978 recording. Eddie Jobson's ugly- sounding Yamaha CS-80 synth don't help matters (that's the same problem I level at JETHRO TULL's A, which he also played on). UK was definately ahead of time. The album sold quite well, but to me, it sounds like it was hype. It would work better had Eddie Jobson used some better synths, like the Mini Moog. At least I can say this is nowhere as unbearable as ASIA (Wetton's next band, which totally reeks of sellout, in my book). The music itself is listenable, but it simply failed to excite me. Just be wary of the hype.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#7503) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 07, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An album that has inspired Progressive Metal! (IMHO)

This is truly a prog rock album performed in the musical structure of heavy metal / hard rock outfit. The days when I knew this album released in 1978 I was not aware what prog was all about and I just considered that this album was a unique hard rock music - until lately in the 90s when the internet buffs started to mention about progressive rock. Yeah yeah yeah . whatever you call it, this album is remarkable! One thing that I can assure you, like it or not, this album has inspired the birth of progressive metal vein. You want some proof? OK, just grab your Dream Theater "Scenes from A Memory - II" and go straight to track 9 "The Dance of Eternity" and enjoy it. It's a wonderfully crafted tune right? And now, grab the CD of UK first album and go straight to track 3 "Presto Vivace and Reprise" (a very short yet complex passage at the beginning of the track). Now, just let your mind compares between these two tracks. You would not find any similarity of melody, of course. But that's not the point, you may agree with me that there is a common style the two tracks share especially in fast speed tempo passage. You got it man ..!!! So, correct me if I'm wrong . this UK album has in someway inspired the progmet vein. If you disagree, it's fine with me ..it's progressive world.

On the neo classical metal vein, Yngwie Malmsteen has covered the first track of this album "In the Dead of Night" in his album "Inspiration". It suffices to say the masterpiece-ness of this album. On musicians, you got the best in the market: Bill Bruford looks after drum stools and percussion, Allan Holdsworth on guitar, Eddie Jobson - who can play two instruments briliantly: violin and keyboard, and John Wetton on bass and vocal. So, what can you expect more about this album?

In The Dead of Night

It's a high energy driving track that opens this track with an adrenalin-exploding style. Hey, by the time I had rarely seen any prog tune performed in this powerful, uplifting and fast tempo fashion. It's probably King Crimson did. The Wetton's bass and vocal line are really perfect to open this track. Bill's lightning drum strike the music in a very happy mood combined with soaring keyboard work and long sustain guitar. It's been a classic track that does not need further detail review. It's a great "WOW!" experience for me man .!!!

By The Light of Day

It's a mellow nice track performed in ambient mood reminiscent of King Crimson. The only thing non-Crimsonisque is the keyboard work at background and violin. It's a different style. It sets a very nice ground to move the music forward to track 3.

Presto Vivace and Reprise

It starts off with unique time signatures drumming followed with a very dynamic, very dense in mood and music, fast paced style that demonstrate a perfect harmony of various instruments: keyboard, bass, drum and guitar. It's an unbelievable opening part! The music then returns back to "In The Dead of Night" nicely. Again you can hear the amazing sound of Bill's drumming.

Oh man . the first three tracks have given me enough satisfaction, really!!

Thirty Years

This track opens with an ambient / atmospheric music, excellent guitar and keyboard, that features powerful voice of Wetton. It reminds me to King Crimson style. Wetton's voice flows smoothly with the quiet music (only keyboard and some guitar fills). The music then turns into a full swing featuring lead guitar work by Holdsworth, keyboard work by Jobson, accentuated by dynamic drumming.

Alaska - Time To Kill

I like this track - which has an interesting intro with keyboard solo - more in its live version under "Night After Night" live album. But this studio track is excellent too. The drumming is wonderful - performed in high energy style. Powerful track. The violin solo in "Time To Kill" is really stunning.

Never More

It kicks off with an excellent acoustic guitar outfit by Holdsworth. The music continues with the inclusion of keyboard and cymbals followed with vocal line. It continues with full swing music when all instruments start to roll. It has a stunning guitar solo and keyboard solo during interlude. Great!

Mental Medication

A concluding track that opens with a vocal line with quiet passage. When the full music enters, all members contribute really well in each passage - great bass line, wonderful drumming, stunning keyboard solo in jazzy-classical vein and excellent guitar.

In Summary: Highly Recommended! of course ..

With the kind of words I put on track by track review, you will by now know what my final recommendation about this album. It's hard to believe that any prog lover does not have this CD in their collection. Keep on Progging!!!

Progressively yours,

GW - Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#7515) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Good solid album by these prog rock stalwarts.The songs are very good and consistent in quality throughout.Can't help but feel though that prog was stuck in a rut at the time and UK don't really drag it out as such.BUT if you like prog rock generally I can't imagine you not liking it.All the ingredients are here.It's just not especially inspired.3.5 stars.

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Posted Monday, January 31, 2005

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In 1980, I read an "old" Rock magazine (from 1978) which had a review about this album. At that time, I knew that Bill Bruford have played with YES and King Crimson. I realized later that in fact Bruford, John Wetton and Eddie Jobson appear in King Crimson`s live album called "USA" (Jobson added overdubs for that album), so I thought that this U.K. band was like "a King Crimson line-up without Robert Fripp". It was until mid 1980 that I found the second U.K. album called "Danger Money". I bought it. In late 1980, I bought their live album called "Night After Night". It wasn`t until late 1981 that I listened for the first time to this "U.K." album, their first. A cousin had it in L.P., a very used copy with a lot of scratches. I recorded it on a cassette. It wasn`t until 1997 when I bought the CD that I really appreciated this album very much. The original L.P. cover lists the 3 first songs as part of the "In the Dead of Night Suite" as I call it (not titled as that in the cover):"In the Dead of Night:1. In the Dead of Night 2. By the Light of Day. 3. Presto Vivace and Reprise". The CD cover doesn`t list these songs as part of a three part musical piece. The song "In the Dead of Night" has a very good guitar solo by Allan Holdsworth. "By the Light of Day" has not guitars, but it has a violin solo and "dark" keyboards atmospheres by Jobson. "Presto Vivace and Reprise" has interesting drums and keyboards. "Thirty Years" is a song with a lot of keyboard atmospheres, very good drums and percussion by Bruford, and a lead guitar by Holdsworth. "Alaska" is an instrumental piece by Jobson, with a melody played by Holdsworht on guitar."Time to Kill" has very good drums and a violin solo. My favourite song in this album is "Nevermore", which starts with Holdsworth`s acoustic guitars. It also has very good solos by Holdsworth and Jobson. The last song, "Mental Medication", is mostly a jazz-rock song. This band started in late 1976 when Wetton called Bruford to play in a band with Rick Wakeman. They rehearsed for 6 weeks before Wakeman left the projected band and re-joined YES for the "Going for the One" album.Bruford and Wetton wanted to carry on playing together, so Wetton invited Jobson, who was playing with Frank Zappa.He didn`t join them very soon because he had some work to do with Zappa`s band. Bruford recorded his first solo album "Feels Good to Me" in mid 1977, with Holdsworth on guitar. When Wetton, Jobson and Bruford finally were rehearsing together, Bruford invited Holdsworth to the new band called "U.K.". They recorded this first album between December 1977 and January 1978. They toured during 1978, until they started to have problems due to different ideas about the musical style for the band: Bruford and Holdsworth wanted a more jazz- rock style for the band, while Wetton and Jobson wanted a more Pop-Rock (in the case of Wetton) and Prog Rock (in the case of Jobson) style for the band. So, in late 1978, Bruford and Holdsworth left the band (Bruford says in his official website that he and Holdsworth were "fired" by Wetton, as he considers Wetton as the "real founder" of the band). I think that the most interesting thing in this album, apart of the music played by these four very good musicians, is Bruford`s drums and percussion playing, with a lot of changes in time signatures and very good technique.Holdsworth has his most interesting playing in the songs "In the Dead of Night", "Thirty Years", "Nevermore" and "Mental Medication". For the most part, Jobson is the main musician with his keyboards. Wetton plays his bass as good as usual, singing very good too. I consider this album as their best. "U.K.", like other Rock "supergroups" (like Blind Faith and Asia) couldn`t be playing together for a long time.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#7518) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, here it is, yet another review for UK's eponymous debut album, an album that has remained a crucial bone of contention in prog circles for years - some label it as the last masterpiece of 70s prog, others point out that it doesn't quite live up to its full potential, while the rest stand in the middle leaning closer to any of these two general outlines. I am one of the former, though I admit that there may be some lack of cohesion in some specific passages. But, generally speaking, I consider "UK" a monster album, where majesty and distinction rule the masterful delivery of excellent musical ideas, one after the other. The symphonic prog and jazz trends (Jobson-Wetton and Holdsworth-Bruford, respectively) converge in a solid sonic source that captures the pompous magic of the best early 70s prog, giving it a somewhat modern approach, which is in no small degree due to the featured use of state-of-the-art Yamaha synthesizers by Jobson. Eddie Jobson proves to be UK's core: since his artistic sensibility is not foreign to the influence of jazz-rock, it allows him to become the bridge between the two pairs that conform the band's ensemble. My absolute favourite moment of this album has to be 'Alaska'/'Time to Kill', since it comprises the most essential stuff that this band is made of: effective melodies, energetic interplaying, amazing performing skills... Of course, a special mention has to go for Jobson's excellent violin solo that robustly expands itself throughout the interlude right until the final chorus. The closing track 'Mental Medication' is another gem that, IMHO, should be mentioned and praised more often: taking off from a basic Holdsworth idea, the foursome bring a jazzy mini-suite, pretty much close to the Canterbury territory - Bruford's exquisite crafty drumming is precisely complements by Wetton's bass lines, while Holdsworth delivers his arguably best leads and Jobson does a wonderful job on his keyboard orchestrations and a violin solo. 'Thirty Years' serves as a sort of compromise between these two lines of work: the interaction between Holdsworth and Jobson is notable, not as notable as in the aforementioned 'Mental Medication', but, all in all, truly impressive. There is also much interplaying Holdsworth-Jobson, wonderfully conducted during the interlude jamming of the jazz-fusion oriented 'Nevermore', but in this particular case, the amalgam of the various motifs does not feel as fulfilled as in the other tracks: it's a pity that such a beautiful theme, full of genuine romantic spirit, doesn't comprise a more articulate internal cohesion. Anyway, the initial acoustic guitar flourishes and Bruford's enthusiastic drumming are simply superb - the former introduces the song's overall spirit while the latter sustains the jam and keeps it flowing naturally. And I won't conclude this review without mentioning the monster suite that opens it: 'In the Dead of Night' is pure prototypical UK. I feel that there is a slight lack of completeness in some moments of the sequence of the three sections (in fact, I feel that the suite's multiple construction works better in the live renditions I've heard from the quartet line-up's bootlegs), but apart from that, I can only qualify 'In the Dead of Night' as prog genius. Holdsworth's guitar solo is a classic (his rockiest performance in the entire album); Jobson's sensibility for textures, harmonic bases and spacey adornments on synth and organ, as well as his melancholy violin solo for the 'Light of Day' section; Bruford's spectacular swing and distinctive touch that he adapts to each varying mood; Wetton's solid bass foundation and vocal style - all these elements meet in a combined fruition that produces spectacular results. Although it doesn't achieve a "perfect perfection" (and more than once has Bill Bruford himself admitted that this album's recording process felt like four novelists trying to write one book together), the brilliance of "UK" is evidently there, and so, a 5-star rating is the most appropriate one (4.75 stars, to be more accurate).

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#7525) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 01, 2005

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Okay - forget the disappointing debacles that were the "supergroups" Asia and GTR: UK were the genuine article. In 1978, during the twilight of progressive rock's glory days, the newly-formed band released a self-titled album that was "super" in terms of lineup, musicianship and content. With the incomparable Bill Bruford on drums, the stalwart John Wetton (ex Crimson) handling the bass and vocals, Eddie Jobson (formerly of Roxy Music) ably manning the keys and violin, and fusion master/hired gun extraordinaire Allan Holdsworth (Jean Luc Ponty) on guitars, UK certainly had an impeccable pedigree. Yet, in music, good breeding accounts for little, without the requisite strong material to meet the expectations raised whenever such heavyweights come together. In UK, the expectations of excited prog fans were convincingly met with a fine recording that still stands up today.

The album opens in attention-grabbing fashion with "In the Dead of Night," as Wetton's bass throbs with floor-shaking power, and Jobson's keys establish the main theme, before my favourite prog drummer (that's Mr. Bruford, to you!) makes his presence known with his trademark precision and unmistakable, rapid-fire snare sound. Soon after the second catchy chorus, Holdsworth steps to the fore with a soaring, singing solo, and the listener is transported, if not to prog Valhalla, then to somewhere mighty close to that heroic, heavenly hall. Turn it up, progholes!

The session then segues into the thematically-linked "By the Light of day" -- which, though slower, nonetheless retains the power of the opener. Jobson's violin is especially lovely here, and his synth work conveys an air of majesty.

"Presto Vivace and Reprise," as its title would suggest, showcases some frantic keyboard work from Jobson, then revisits the main theme to bring this three-track sequence to a unified and satisfying close.

"Thirty Years" finds Wetton singing of regrets, "missed opportunity," and half a lifetime wasted "chasing rainbows," and also serves as a superb vehicle for Jobson's electric violin, and Holdsworth's graceful lead.

Number five, "Alaska," is an instrumental "soundscape" that evocatively conveys the immense grandeur and lonely expanse of that largest of states, while "Time to Kill" ups the pace of the proceedings, and continues the motif of arctic isolation with lyrics portraying "sheets of ice," a "wolf at the door," and a prisoner who dreams of "silver sand and azure Caribbean sea." Jobson and his violin particularly shine on this fine piece of prog.

Holdsworth picks up the acoustic for the intro to "Nevermore," which, at over eight minutes, is the disc's longest selection, and gives the band ample space to "stretch out," show off their respective chops, and visit some varied musical terrain.

Finally, "Mental Medication" deals with the psyche-soothing potential of music, and fittingly provides six-plus minutes of exciting, tight and diverse prog fusion -- the bass and violin are notably good here.

Thus, if you've never had the good fortune to hear UK, I urge you to check out this excellent offering from what was arguably the most successful of prog supergroups. (Fans of Bruford and Holdsworth, in particular, should be quite pleased.) The genre may have been past its prime by the time of UK's release, but the blazing "sunset" of an era captured here is well worth experiencing!

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Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Friday, October 28, 2005

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It took quite a bit of time for me to warm up to this record by the supergroup that comprised Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson, John Wetton and Bill Bruford. This here is no obtuse experimentation a la Henry Cow ... indeed I do believe it to be a relatively accessible prog-rock album (no, it's not Asia, either!). The problem probably has its roots in my distaste for the uber-shiny guitar sound of Holdsworth and the sharp synths favoured by Jobson. As such, while I do readily affirm that is quite a crucial purchase for any progger to make, it's not a record I pull out too often. When I do, I'm always rewarded.

The opening trio of segued songs In The Dead Of Night/By The Light Of Day/Presto Vivace And Reprise contains some superb playing and shifts in mood from all participants concerned. Holdsworth lays down a patented solo during the initial attacking segments, while the moody mid section is distinctly Crimsonesque, as Jobson builds a beautiful synth solo around Wetton's fading voice. The third part of this piece commences with an excellent Keith Emerson impression from Jobson, before Wetton brings the song cycle full circle. Throughout it all, Bruford is ... Bruford.

Thirty Years is another intriguing proggy fusion track with stellar turns from Holdsworth and Jobson ... it's a lot of fun to hear them cook over the already smokin' basic grooves laid down by the monster Bruford/Wetton rhythm machine, but once again, the temptation to modify the sounds into something a tad more "organic" is strong. This trend continues through the rest of the album ... Alaska is one that takes a while to get going, but by its conclusion Holdsworth and Jobson are engaging in some sort of titanic struggle (imagine John McLaughlin competing for space with Keith Emerson on the same solo spot!), the vocal segment of Time To Kill is none too impressive ... sounding almost like a Steely Dan throwaway, but there's more solo delight from Jobson, this time on violin (surely this album contains some of his best ever moments).

It comes as a real thrill when Holdsworth commences Nevermore with some dazzling acoustic guitar runs, but it turns out to be just a tease, as another Steely Dan meets symphonic prog tune unfolds. Don't get me wrong, the playing can be quite magnificent ... it's the choice of sounds that I need to get my head around. The occasionally funky Mental Medication is full of more glorious efforts from the two soloists bringing the album to a strong conclusion, that eaves us wanting more ... unfortunately it wasn't quite to be.

I do rate UK's debut higher than the even more fusion-orientated Bruford project (the first two albums Feels Good To Me & One Of A Kind, also feature Holdsworth) that was to follow very soon after UK splintered leaving behind this unique gem. I've yet to hear the follow-up that Wetton and Jobson recorded with ex-Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio. Chew on this if you get the chance. ... 76% on the MPV scale

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Posted Saturday, March 04, 2006

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 1977 had a special meaning for me. That year had new releases from Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Yes. Some very mixed results among those efforts. I also saw all of them in concert that year. In fact on successive Thursdays in May of that year I saw Genesis, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant! 1977 was a great year!

Then I heard about this one. I knew who Bill Bruford and John Wetton were and I had heard of Eddie Jobson and Alan Holdsworth was just starting to enter my ears. To think they were putting out an album sparked my curiosity. The first play of this CD I really felt like they had hit something solid. The music seemed a cross of Genesis, ELP and King Crimson. The keyboard work was spectacular and the bass drums combo was one of the best tandem ever. Holdsworth guitar added something new. Take the song Alaska. I find the intro to this to be the same as the beginning of The Three Fates off of ELP's debut but faster and with drums. Then in comes Alan's guitar and it really made me think what ELP could have sounded like with Alan playing. This alone takes from the influence and moves it to different level. Very, very cool. I had the good fortune to see them in concert the same year and they were just as stellar.

Putting this album on just recently I found a few flaws that bothered me somewhat. The vocals are really nothing special and I have heard John Wetton do better. The lack of the Hammond leaves me a bit cold as well. (The same thing with Pirates by ELP that same year. I do believe that the Hammond was extremely important to all of the major groups listed above and when they stopped using it is when they had their biggest falloff) The production and sound of this CD is wanting too. I am hoping for a great remaster of this someday it should improve the sound quality greatly.

But those criticisms do not take away from this great record. Coming at the time of the final glory of the 1970's prog and taken into context of what I already mentioned came out that year this is 5 stars for me. I would have really liked to have known what this lineup could have done with one more stab at it. This band came out huge were playing major arenas from the start then just as quickly died.

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Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars You would think that putting together a group of super talented prog artists would make an album of pure oneupsmanship. Wrong! This is a total group effort and one of, if not the best prog album to come out in the waning moments of the 70's. Right from the start, "In The Dead Of The Night" blasts with Jobson's excellent keys and Bruford's amazing drumwork. This album is as well drummed by Mr Bruford as any he has done before and since, just flat out phenomenal, (check out "Presto Vivace and Reprise" and you'll know what I mean). I'm not too familiar with Alan Holdsworth's work, but on this album he shreads the heck out of his guitar, yet at the beginning of "Nevermore" he picks acoustically so fast I can't even imagine how quickly his fingers must have moved, UNREAL! The only member for me who doesn't stick out is Wetton. I'm not a big fan of his vocals. He tends to strain quite a bit at times, about to either crack or croak. He needs the multiple layering he received on the ASIA albums. But the star of this album is Jobson. He's not mentioned much in the pantheon of keyboardists, yet here he's the king with his great use of his multiple keyboards and his mastering of the electric violin. Listen to his keys on "Alaska", it brings chills literally. One of the great things about this album is how catchy the choruses are mixed with the incredible instrumentation. There's not many bands that can pull off that type of mixture well; YES, GENESIS and KANSAS just to name a few could, yet with all the ego's in this band it's amazing they were able to pull it off so well. Is this the last classic symphonic prog album of the 70's? For arguments sake I'll open up the floor to you all....is it?.. or is there another? Just a tad under 5 stars...make it 4.75!

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Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The last of the prog īsupergroupsī (at least during the 70īs) had everything to work. Could anyone imagine John Wetton (King Crimson, Family, Uriah Heep), Eddie Jobson (Curved Air), Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson) and guitar virtuoso Allan Holdswoth (Soft Machine) together? Four terrific, outstanding and seasoned musicians. UK however does not really gel. It was clear their differences: Wetton and Jobson wanted a more laid back, melodic prog direction, while Bruford and Holdsworth wanted to jazz. It couldnīt really last long. Nobody was surprised when both of the latter left the group.

While the band was not the dream team we may had imagined, the music itself was not bad. Actually, if you like symphonic prog with some strong jazzy parts youīll probably like it very much, as long as you donīt expect anything special. After all, the playing is superb and Allan Holsdworth fans may find it a must have. For prog lovers this is a good CD, but hardly essential.

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Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I remember that I was extremely thrilled when I read about the founding of this 'new progrock supergroup' (first named Alaska) and when I had bought it, I rushed to my room to listen to UK their eponymous debuut LP. After my first listening session I had a bit mixed feelings: I was delighted about songs like In The Dead Of Night, Preso Vivace And Reprise, Alaska and Time To Kill but tracks like By The Light Of Day, Nevermore and especially the final track Mental Medication were not really my cup of tea and I had a bit disappointed feeling about the final two songs of this album. Perhaps I am not up to the jazzy undertones and Alland Holdsworth his distinctive guitar sound, it's such a contrast to the mindlbowing symphonic prog songs, fueled by Eddie Jobson his Yamaha CS80 synthesizer wizardy (Presto Vivace and Alaska) and his spectacular work on the electric violin (Time To Kill). Looking at the ratings of fellow collabarators, I notice that there are almost as much 5 star ratings (a masterpiece) as 3 star ratings (just good), this illustrates my mixed feelings I still have when I listen to this album. I prefer their second effort because they sounded better as a trio and I still feel very lucky that I attented a concert during their Danger Money tour, what an unique band and what a pity that Jobson and Wetton clashed about the musical direction!

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Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Believe me or not UK was my first Prog band. Leave alone PINK FLOYD and their “Dark Side of the Moon” which I heard a few months before, they are almost mainstream! I read about UK in rock encyclopedia issued in USSR in 1990; they were said to be as good as classy bands like GENESIS, ELP and KING CRIMSON. I never listened to any of them in that time, but I was caught by it at once. By some wonderful coincidence (caused by faith’ circumstances probably) I chanced to pick UK 2-CD set (two studio albums and a live one) from my father’s friend. I fell in love with it immediately. It was the most challenging, unique, strange, captivating yet melodic and enjoyable music I ever heard!!! Some songs became my earworms; I tried to learn more about the band members; I even made a cover on “In the Dead of Night”! Now I see some obvious flaws in it: lack of strong songwriting talents, show-up in musicianship, complexity for its own sake…fortunately, they are not so frequent and far from being annoying. Unique fusion of Symphonic Prog with Jazz-Rock provided with strong vocals, stunning guitar solos, excellent keyboards layers and violin shots and based on the best rhythm-section Prog ever known. After all, with persons like John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson and Alan Holdsworth it simply couldn’t went wrong! Probably, the best example of Prog supergroup for me and many others. Highly recommended!

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Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The best of British

UK were a short lived "supergroup" with connections to and similarities with bands such as Asia, GTR, and Quango. The principal difference between those bands and UK is that UK did not see chart position as the barometer for success, instead making the sort of music which their collective backgrounds might suggest. It should be recognised that the decision to do so was particularly brave, given the perilous nature of prog's relationship with the music scene as a whole at the time of the band's formation in 1978. Incidentally, the band name is an abbreviation of United Kingdom, the real name of the country many mistakenly call England.

The principal common denominator for the band members is King Crimson, with Bill Bruford and John Wetton constituting half of UK. Journeyman violinist Eddie Jobson had also crossed paths with KC along with Curved Air and a number of other bands listed on this site. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who had cut his teeth with Jon Heisman in Tempest (UK) completes the quartet.

The album starts with a 13 minute track in three sections "In the dead of night". The piece is a curious amalgam of Yes, King Crimson Uriah Heep and ELP. The ELP style is especially apparent in Wetton's delivery of the lyrics which sound similar to those on "Karn Evil 9, part 1". Wetton also brings with him some of the harder rock influences he had picked up during his more recent time with Uriah Heep. Jobson's keyboards backed by Bruford's drumming are very Yes orientated, the overall flavour of the track being uplifting and positive. The second part, subtitled "By the light of day" slows things down with Jobson adding some fine swirling synthesisers to Wetton's softer vocals.

The only other track on the first side is "Thirty years". This starts out with some soft reflective lyrics: "Sometimes we need time to spare, Feeling of missed opportunity, Spare a tear and douse your bridge... burning 30 years and on the ledge.... learning". This gives way to an improvised solo section featuring mainly Eddie Jobson on keyboards and violin.

While the majority of the songs are composed by Wetton and Jobson with occasional contributions by Bruford and Holdsworth, the instrumental "Alaska" is written by Jobson alone. The track starts with a "Fanfare for the common man" like synth fanfare leading into an organ driven workout. "Time to kill", which segues from "Alaska" appears to continue the Alaskan theme, although the location is not actually revealed. Lyrics such as "Sick of solitary holidays, 'cause I never get away from here" and "Holding up this cold caboose, captivity even takes my lucid thoughts away from me" tell a tale of depressive isolation.

The final two tracks see the underemployed Holdsworth finally contributing to the songwriting. "Nevermore" continues the theme of "Time to kill", a trip to Soho ("Oh to go Down to Soho, black tie night out or hobo outright") now even seeming attractive to the lyricist! Holdsworth's guitar finally makes a notable appearance towards the end of the track, but it is Jobson who continues to dominate the solo opportunities. The album closes with "Mental medication", probably the least inspired track on the album. While it has all the right ingredients, the instrumentation is muddled and ininspired.

In all, a fine one off album by a respected group of prog heavyweights. It is good to see that they decided to stick to the knitting, and do what they had done best in their various former bands. Unfortunately, 50% of the line up would be gone before the band's second and final album, with only Jobson and Wetton hanging around to record it.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#135434) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Iīve been told time and again that this album is a prog rock classic. I lent it one time and listened to the album for a couple of times before I decided it wasnīt for me. I found it too eighties sounding and not classic material at all. I bought the album this time and I am far more intrigued this time around. The keyboard sounds that Eddie Jobson use on the album is very eighties sounding, but Iīm not bothered anymore. Instead I really enjoy those sounds, so I guess it was a question of maturity for my part. My references are simply more developed these days.

Jobson, Holdsworth, Bruford and Wetton. Four outstanding musicians in a project together. This could have been all noodling but itīs the exact opposite. Beautiful melody lines and exciting arrangements is what I think about when listening to this album. For 1978 this must have been pretty futuristic sounding. I havenīt heard any other album from that time with keyboard sounds like this. The drum sound is also very eighties like. In fact the whole production reeks with eighties vibes. But itīs in a good way. What I can tell you is that albums like Jethro Tullīs A and Broadsword and the Beast and most of Rush eighties albums owe a lot to this one. UK is no stranger to Dream Theater either.

The music is very keyboard driven and itīs not very often you notice Allan Holdsworth. When we do though his work is brilliant. Listen to his solo in In the dead of night and his soloes in the song Nevermore, just brilliant stuff. He is not the most visible though, that price should go to Eddie Jobson who does everything perfect on this album. What a master he is on the keyboard and occasionally on the electric violin. His harmony vocals are also astonishing and helps me to swallow the weaker lead vocals from Wetton. If you have heard his contributions on keyboard on the Frank Zappa song Lemme Take You to the Beach from the album Studio Tan, you wouldnīt be so surprised about the futuristic sounds he creates on his keyboards but I only noticed his presence on that song recently. Bill Bruford delievers one of his best performances and a very different one from what we are used to from him. Wetton plays flawlessly of course and I must say that his vocal performance here is the best I have heard from him ( Iīm not a big Wetton fan. In fact I dislike many of his past perfomances). He isnīt a big singer, but I think it works ok here.

So this should be a 5 star album right ? Well not exactly. I hate to come down on an album that I really like, but as perfect as the music might be, I donīt care much for Wettonīs vocals. He does an ok job but nothing more. I canīt give the fifth star when I think the vocal performance could have been better. This is a big 4 star album and highly recommendable allthough not completely flawless.

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Posted Monday, January 14, 2008

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
5 stars Talking about the end of the 70's,things were going really wrong for art rock bands,as progressive rock was completely out of fashion.However,two members of (disbanded by that time) KING CRIMSON, vocalist/bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford decided to form an all-star prog rock band.Failing to recruit Rick Wakeman,they approached keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson (ex-''Roxy Music''),while Allan Holdsworth,noteably known for his work with Canterbury bands ''Gong'' and ''Soft Machine'',was the guitarist of the group.1978 sees UK releasing their simply eponymous debut on EG Records/Polydor.

...and with such a line-up you can not expect more than a thrilling work.Split between radio-friendly vocal-parts and keyboard-dominated complex instrumental pieces,''UK'' was definitely a great product of its time.Eddie Jobson,mayby the less famous member of UK,meant to be their driving force.The album is totally based on his awesome electric violin and the use of Yamaha CS 80,an analog synthesizer of pure power.Especially his keyboard work is absolutely fantastic,ranging from creating superb electronic landscapes to constantly battling with his violin and the rhythm section.Holdsworth guitars are carefully used focusing on nice solos and distinctive melodies,while Bruford is simply the familiar power behind the drum kit.Wetton bass can be dynamic and ethereal at the same time and exactly the same characteristics we meet in his voice.Propably you'll find some parts of the album close to easy-going rock with all those multi-vocal harmonies,but then is when you'll be blown away by the great interplays between violin/keys/synths/bass/guitars and your familiar time signatures....

I find this work to be so extremely well-crafted and carefully arranged,that I almost consider it a crime not to owing it.Exactly the same thing I consider for every progressive rock follower out there.A masterpiece of art rock,despite being created in prog rock's worst period!

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Posted Saturday, February 02, 2008

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Mental medication... need your inspiration...'

U.K.'s debut album was one of the strangest surprises of 1978. It was too good to be 'corporate rock', although it threatened, sometimes, to topple over the edge. It sounded less poetic, and less gripping, than King Crimson's best ballads with John Wetton on vocals, although Wetton (and Bill Bruford) were probably trying to recreate some of traditional King Crimson's more lyrical moments. Finally, it was far less jazzy than Bill Bruford's solo album FEELS GOOD TO ME, which had appeared in 1977, even though it featured that album's main soloist (Allan Holdsworth) in a starring role. A mixed bag, that's what it was.

U.K. may have its moments of tedium, but the astonishing thing is that, on the whole, it works extremely well. It is no great masterpiece, it's not going to change anyone's life, but it's full of catchy tunes, energetic playing and inspired solos, be it on electric guitar, electric violin or on Eddie Jobson's wonderfully old-fashioned keyboards, with their very 'fat' sound. It even contains moments of unexpected, near-melancholic beauty.

I'm not surprised this incarnation of the band didn't last. Record companies must have longed for U.K. to develop ever more commercial material (Wetton took the hint when he helped found the hair-raising Asia), but there was no way a restless explorer like Holdsworth was going to travel the seven seas churning out the same old tunes each night. Holdsworth and Bruford soon left the fold, with the latter trying desperately to turn his highly adventurous band 'Bruford' (also featuring Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin) into a viable proposition. When Bruford and Holdsworth finally parted ways, the latter reverted to playing colleges and medium-sized clubs, allowing other old-timers to turn themselves into shameless stadium-rockers.

Anyhow, this album should definitely be in the record collection of everyone who's interested in the careers of the four musicians involved. Recommended; three and a half stars.

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Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I wasn't listening to Prog back in the late seventies but those who were must crapped their pants when they heard Bruford, Wetton, Holdsworth and Jobson were making an album together. This sort of reminds me of the let down I had with ASIA's debut when you consider the lineup. Certainly this is a lot better than that, but still this just doesn't click with me. I'm not a fan of the synth sounds and this music just doesn't grab me. I guess i'm expecting too much from this lineup, although put these guys together in 1973 and I bet they'd kick ass !

The highlight for me is the opening track "In The Dead Of The Night". This song is a favourite of Alex Lifeson as well. I'll quote what Alex had to say recently in the "Guitar Legends" magazine I have. "Alan Holdsworth has an amazing, not-of-this-world liquidity. What a genius ! His fingers are constantly moving. Pulls make up the bulk of his playing. I don't think he does much picking. I was listening to Holdsworth around the time of "Moving Pictures" (1981), and you can indirectly hear his influence on my playing on "YYZ"". Nice. Bruford is outstanding in the intro, what a drummer this guy is ! Some nice bass from Wetton as well. Pulsating synths throughout. Vocals before a minute. I like the chorus. Holdsworth after 3 minutes takes the lead with some mournful melodies. "By The Light Of Day" opens with vocals and spacey synths.The synths are beautiful after 3 1/2 minutes as they seem to create waves of sound.

"Presto Vivace And Reprise" opens with Bruford doing his thing as keys come in. This is all so incredibly intricate. Very impressive. They then reprise the first song as those pulsating synths are back. Nice. "Thirty Years" is so atmospheric and spacey early on. Jobson plays violin on this one. Drums are so crisp and Holdsworth offers up some excellent guitar work especially 5 1/2 minutes in. Wetton vocals are great a minute later. "Alaska" has lots of synths for almost 3 minutes then it kicks in with an uptempo melody. Love the outbursts of guitar. This song blends into "Time To Kill" with vocals right away in an uptempo melody. Not a fan of this one. "Nevermore" opens with complex and intricate guitar. Vocals after a minute. Some prominant bass for a change is nice. I like the spacey section late. "Mental Medication" is mellow for 1 1/2 minutes when it kicks into gear. Prominant drums and synths. Piano comes and goes. The violin 5 1/2 minutes in is really good.

A good debut from an all star cast but I prefer the followup "Danger Money" .

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Posted Friday, June 06, 2008

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars An absolutely stunning debut.

UK represents the last gasp of the Golden Age of Prog, and does so in a most competent and professional manner. One could be deceived into thinking that this is a concept album, as the quality and the sound (esp. Jobson's keyboard work) is maintained throughout the album. Also, this album features some of Holdsworth's best guitar work. I swear that his solos here match Fripps when Fripp was at the very top of his game. Add in Wetton's comfort zone in the grey area between prog and pop, and Bruford's talents on the drum kit and you have a truly exceptional prog album at a time when prog was rapidly devolving.

The first three tracks are really a suite. The first contains one of the best guitar solos ever. Bruford's work on the second track shines. The third gives Jobson a chance to show off on his violin.

Thirty Years sums up this album. Atmospheric keyboards and guitar work followed by a fast section worthy of the most talented prog bands. Switching tempos and atmospheric settings is a motif that defines UK and they pull it off well here.

Alaska/Time to Kill: I'm reviewing these two together because Alaska is really a really great intro to the next song. Alaska is the better part of this. It's another track where Jobson gets a chance to stretch his legs. Time to Kill benefits from such a beautiful introduction.

Nevermore/Mental Medication: These get combined because they are both Holdsworth tracks, but both enjoy the benefits of Jobson's atmospheric keyboards and the trademark tempo changes of UK. On my first listen I would have tagged them as weaker tracks (along the lines of Time to Kill) but repeated listenings have forced me to re-evaluate Holdsworth's compositional and playing skills. These are gems, even if they are gems in the rough.

Anyhow, this is a masterpiece. It's not quite Going for the One, but it is one of the best examples of the late Golden Age ever recorded on vinyl. Highly recommended. If you haven't heard it yet, get it.

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Posted Saturday, August 23, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars What can I say about this album that has not already been said at least ten times? Not much, really, so I will be brief. Despite long careers in other bands, this album is possibly the finest hour of John Wetton, Eddie Jobson, Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth, respectively. UK's self titled debut album is, in my opinion, much better than anything John and Bill did with King Crimson, and also better than anything by Asia, Roxy Music, Tempest etc. or these people's solo efforts. This is the ultimate starting point for someone who wants to discover these four unique individuals' musical careers.

This music is completely loaded with these people's musical identities; the very distinctive voice and bass guitar of Wetton, the equally distinctive and totally unique guitar sound Holdsworth, the amazing keyboard and violin skills of Jobson, and the intense and complex drumming of Bruford. All is here, often competing for attention, but never allowed to overpower the very good compositions.

The lyrics are also good. None of that dumb "I never meant to be so bad to you." or "Don't cry now that I found you." or "Voice of America Oh, Oh, Oh America" here. The only criticism I want to offer is that, while there are several softer and quieter moments here, there are no real ballads or softer songs like Rendezvous 6:02 from the next UK album, for example. This would have brought a bit more needed diversity to this album.

Excellent addition to any Prog collection!

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Posted Sunday, January 04, 2009

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Thatcher's Children Spit the Dummy

Like the Real Madrid that David Beckham signed for, UK was a collection of hand picked galacticos that their respective employers hoped would trample the opposition underfoot and lift all the silverware on offer. Sadly for Becks, he won precisely squat in Spain but UK confounded the theory that a team is more than the sum of its parts on this stunning eponymous release. Whereas Los Merengues resembled a Frankenstein in shorts, their musical equivalents played with a verve, restraint and panache that flies in the face of both holistic wisdom and the prevailing Zeitgeist of 1978.

Progressive music is littered with supergroup pileups along its arterial highways, to wit Blind Faith, Paice Ashton Lord, The Firm, 801, Beck Bogert Appice, Badger, Tin Machine, and perhaps most pertinent to this review: Asia. The latter always struck me as a family saloon production model UK, with the addition of some nice comfy upholstery, a drinks holder (Wetton), a GPS that couldn't be overridden by its drivers, furry dice, depersonalised plates and some dangerously balding tyre fitters prone to pumping in too much air. I mean come on, actually stooping to the name Asia just to ingratiate themselves to a target audience - Is there a supermarket chain called Treats For Fatboy R'US?

That said, this album is miraculous on at least two fronts: at the time of its release prog was treated with all the restraint extended to a bouquet at a greenfly convention while the music contained herein is perhaps the finest realised by any proggers at the 'spiky' end of the 70's. While Yes were being pelted for Tormato, ELP were having sand kicked in their faces on Love Beach, Genesis were shrinking in inverse proportion to the Collins ego and Floyd's inflated boars were negotiating a very low wall, UK appear to have sneaked out this magnificent offering to very little fanfare. Messrs Wetton, Jobson, Holdsworth and Bruford require little endorsement from this reviewer given that their talents have been illuminated from within King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Yes, Roxy Music, Family, Curved Air and Soft Machine. I do have to confess alas that Holdsworth's playing has always left me completely unmoved on anything he contributed to prior or since, as I find his tone, articulation and phrasing utterly predictable and one dimensional.(I guess it's my loss but his legato guitar style is indistinguishable from a synthesizer with a single patch memory to my ears)

The technique of splicing radio-friendly choruses between longer sections of challenging and chromatic instrumental writing is used to great effect throughout this album. For those of a cynical inclination (and let's face it, I am) this could come across as crassly calculating but such are the effortlessly seamless thrills on offer here, I am delighted to throw these charges out of court. Case dismissed m'lud.The listener's short term memory is filled with nagging pop hooks that are very hard to dislodge, while at a deeper level, the subconscious idles patiently in assimilating the instrumental wizardry until such time as it re-emerges on your way home from work on the train as erm... musical Tourettes (much to the consternation of your fellow commuters)

Dng nat gump da goolie bizzy kup

Are you feeling all-right son?

Oh yes, sorry. I have a rare medical condition....and I think I've missed my stop.

I have often bemoaned the borderline gauche aspect of many prog lyrics but here, the lads do at least display some genuine and mature secular concerns. There is a particularly British melancholy at work, which shares with that of Porcupine Tree and Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, the articulation of a quiet despair at the futility of a shrinking youthful idealism in the face of both impervious reality and the ageing process. These are transparently not rugger drinking songs as they deal with a confrontation that prog just kept putting off until it was too late: The Yes men were yesterday's men exiled forever to a penal institution perched on the forbidden rock of the island of BOF. Kudos to UK for recognising this was real and it was happening now.

Claustrophobic British paranoia, self loathing, caustic bile, alienation, the insidiousness of the class system? Step right up and climb aboard the sceptic isle:

Are you one of mine who can sleep with one eye open wide? Agonizing psychotic solitary hours to decide Reaching for the light at the slightest noise from the floor Palms of hands perspire heart goes leaping at a knock from the door

Rich and powerful ascend complicated bends to be free To indulge in what they will and jaded thrill or fantasy Shuttered windows that belie all stifled cries from within and prying eyes are blind to proceedings of the kind that begin in the dead of night

This is Selling England by the Pound 5 years hence written by people who actually have credible material concerns (unlike Genesis, but at least Peter G bailed much earlier than most as he guessed correctly Prog was dead in the water) James Callaghan's tenure as British Prime Minister had been marked by crippling industrial action instigated by a trade union movement he dared not alienate for fear of losing their buttressing support. Considering 'Sunny Jim' was followed by the post-modern witch of Thatcher and her 'greed for all' manifesto, the hopelessness imbued in Wetton's delivery is remarkably prescient.

The instrumental writing cleverly imitates the neurosis that the lyrics describe with punning use of compound meters, unresolved or tense harmonic denouements plus shed-loads of fiery spleen from Wetton, who has rarely sounded this grumpy. Therein lies the paradox of much great art: it often exists in spite of, or is the reaction to controls designed to stifle such sedition and dissent. What would rock music sound like from a utopian paradise whose citizens are free from every conceivable material want? Like a neutered Dream Theater probably (You mean they covered material from this album? Whoops... but how haplessly and laughably ironic, being tantamount to a housebreaking of intellectual property)

Robert Fripp was correct. Progressive Rock at the outset fulfilled a need of its audience. Thereafter the music industry's vampiric nature had to create a need amongst that same demographic to sustain the emergent monster's cash and blood flows. By 1978 the tanned balding prog beast was but one more Dirty White Mother from the bloated corpse in the swimming pool. It seems a great shame that UK are portrayed by Thatcher's children as typical of the reviled genre as this album represents one of the very few avenues that the proggers could have steered into to escape the bloodthirsty mob of punks on their trail. Instead, they cut their hair, trimmed their track lengths, shrank their ambition and targeted an audience credulous enough to believe that the Kalahari Kaisers are an ice hockey team (The Far East - Selling England by the Yen)

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Posted Friday, November 13, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Excellent debut album. Great musicians - half of fresh ( for the moment) King Crimson team (Bruford-Wetton) plus great gutarist from Gong Allan Holdsworth and Eddie Jobson ( Roxy Music).

From very first sounds you feel how great this music is. Highest level of musicianship, melted experience from explosively nervous King Crimson and Canterbury/fusion of Gong. All the best in one place and very tastefully prepared.

It's even difficult to speak about this album as about debut, all musicians were wellknown professionals yet. So, let say - fantastic beginning of great project.

Music by itself IMO is no way symphonic prog. Main space is filled by Crimsonian heavy prog and heavy fusion of middle period Gong. All other styles are more additives,spices, but all the dish is deliciously spiced!

Almost unpossible to find weak moment on all the record! Yes,it was a bad time for that kind of music, but this album is absolut swansong of progressive seventies.

Must have for any person,interested in progressive rock!

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Posted Monday, November 23, 2009

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Bruford, Holdsowrth, Jobson & Wetton: UK's One Album Prog Supergroup

The debut album by this incredibly talented and unique band is indeed a very impressive debut from the musicianship point of view with John's agressive bass lines and particular voice, Eddie's raving violin and future-esque keyboards, Allan's unique guitar tone and Bill's complicated rhythms, a Prog fan really can't ask for more, can he?

No, not really. The album has it all from odd time signatures, which are not that odd really for the Prog fan, to plenty of delightful and inventive solos, plus loads of variation within one song. Clear example of this is the 13 minute suite called In The Dead of Night which compromises the first three tracks; you got the very modern keyboards by Eddie shining in rapid paced passages and some very soft and futuristic ones, then there's Allan's always singular jazzy guitar expressed with extreme delicacy and finally the unmatchable King Crimson rhythm section of Wetton and Bruford.

The other highlight would be Thirty Years which is pretty much more of the same, and the last track, Mental Medication which evolves from John's calm and emotional vocals to a talent fest featuring a very Ponty-esque violin solo, a splendid guitar solo, a extremely catchy but at the same time complicated rhythm and a wonderful sparkling keyboard solo, all in all showing what U.K. could offer.

While I wouldn't consider it a classic Prog, UK's debut stands as a very strong and unique Prog album released in a time where most Prog bands were loosing their steam, for that UK deserves no less than 4 stars and it being listened by all Prog fans at least once.

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Posted Monday, December 14, 2009

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Symphonic prog fusion with slight hints of disco(?)

What do four veterans of the prog rock and jazz fusion circuits do at the end of the 70's, a time when both genres were looking ''un-cool'' in the eyes of the popular domain? Logically, they make an album that merges prog rock and jazz fusion. For the average prog or fusion lackey, this crossover is splendid. But, there are quite a bit of cheesy vocal spots.

I feel that the lounge singer feel of Wetton's vocals is making me picture disco in the musical fabric. Yes, I'm saying that there's a possibility that one of prog's carcinogens is integrated into the sound, yet the overall fusion sound covers up any obvious traces of disco.

This album is Eddie Jobson's baby as he has a hand in writing every last possible track, and the sound that makes UK slightly disctinct (other than Holdsworth's guitar work) is that CS80 Polyphonic that purges to the forefront of the sound here. It's the main keyboard being used, and I like it's sound because it's ''futuristic'' and it's a break from the Hammonds and mellotrons and Moogs (oh my!). Wetton's bass occasionally is of notice, but it doesn't serve much more than the role of rhythm which is fine by me since it's done well. And I need not comment on Bruford's drumming.

The opening suite takes most of the credit for me liking this album as it's got a poppy, jumpy feel in the beginning and ending with a serene middle. ''Alaska/Time to Kill'' is also of notice for the ELP-esque explosion halfway through the first part and the fusion breakdown on ''Time to Kill''. There's also an amusing fusion dance-fest in the middle of ''Mental Medication''. The two 8-minute numbers are slightly weaker due to length issues, but both feature impressive guitar mechanics with a brilliant acoustic guitar performance at the beginning of ''Nevermore''.

Recommended if you enjoy sleazy jazz fusion, ''futuristic'' sounding keyboards, and/or fans of any of the bands that Jobson/Bruford/Holdsworth/Wetton were a part of before this (possibly excluding mid 70's Crimson).

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Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars From the Chicapah "how the hell did I manage to miss out on this one?" school of feeble and diminishing thought I humbly and with vigor slap my forehead whilst uttering a loud Homer Simpson "Doh!" prior to the commencement of writing this essay. Like many things in my sordid history I've approached this heralded but short-lived supergroup's work bass- ackwards by digesting their second LP a full year ahead of procuring this, their initial foray into the competitive world of prog rock. While I liked a lot of what I heard on "Danger Money," I still gave it a rating only a few notches above fairly average and moved on, thinking that I'd come across their debut disc in no time. However, the rule that says whatever album you're looking for will be readily available until you want to find it kicked in and it suddenly became as scarce in the used record bins as "Live Yardbirds." Lucky for me I discovered a copy sitting pretty in the stacks recently with relatively low scratch mileage on the odometer and I grabbed it up greedily. I'm pleased to report that I'm blown away by it.

Of course, when I consider the royal pedigree of this prog animal I shouldn't be too surprised. Quality DNA strands inherited from the ancestry of Yes, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Frank Zappa, Gong and Soft Machine all can be detected in the rich genetic makeup of this band yet they avoid sounding all that much like any of them in particular. Runaway egos and stubborn stances usually keep these mixed marriages from ever producing anything memorable but this album is special. Indeed, in a rare instance of the prog planets aligning perfectly, it achieves a utopian symmetry of immense talents that dreams are made of. In '78, as disco and punk were preparing to puncture the prog dirigible full of holes, these four hardy survivors of the golden years of the progressive decade came together to mold a classy, creative tribute to all that makes our revered genre so appealing and aurally addictive. UK touches all the bases during its lead-off grand slam home run trot while retaining a unique personality all its own.

What better way to introduce yourselves to the prog planet than with a stupendous, side- long epic titled "In the Dead of Night"? I can't think of a more impressive ballroom entrance. The opening tune that bears the same moniker features a dynamic intro in 7/8 time that sweeps you off your feet like a prairie tornado. Bassist John Wetton's passionately strained vocal is very persuasive in getting you to buy into their desirable product, keyboard wiz Eddie Jobson's deeply layered synths paint a stunning backdrop, icon Bill Bruford's drumming is nothing short of incredible in its supernatural precision and Alan Holdsworth's liquid guitar runs place a stamp of inimitable originality on the track, making it irresistible to mortals. In a word (two, really), it's a thrill ride. The second act, "By the Light of Day," appears just as the previous song dissolves into an ethereal mist courtesy of Eddie's mastery of the electronic realm. John's voice becomes silky in texture to match the mood as the group slides effortlessly into a soothingly smooth 5/4 movement that ends in drenching tidal waves streaming inland from a synthetic sea.

Part 3 is "Presto Vivace and Reprise" and it's here that the fruits of Jobson's apprenticeship in Mr. Zappa's magic shop surface and the band pulls off the energized, complex staccato flourishes with nary a hiccup before they revisit the riveting, powerful original theme. (Man, do Bill's toms sound great or what?) The last and longest number is "Thirty Years" and it begins with several minutes of serene glory akin to witnessing a desert sunrise and the piece displays the composers' wise respect for contrast. It then abruptly explodes into a driving, colorful rock section that allows all four to fully express their individuality without losing their unified direction. They then retard the pace slightly to dramatize the effect of the towering finale and the peaceful fadeout. Magnificent!

An ominous drone slowly pulls back the curtain on Eddie's "Alaska" as a trumpet-like synthesizer line streaks across the frozen sky, leading you to a soundscape that artfully captures the essence of being alone in an untamed expanse of nature. The second half is as electrifying as a dancing aurora borealis display in the stratosphere overhead and, to these ears, an endearingly sincere homage to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The tune segues without a crease into "Time to Kill," an intriguing, highly involved song in which Jobson shows off his prowess on the violin as the rest of the band hums steadily like a well-oiled machine behind him.

"Nevermore" is both exquisite and utterly transcendent. Beautiful guitar work from the hands of Alan is followed by jazzy, unorthodox chord patterns that hold the listener in rapt attention. The solo sparring that takes place between him and Eddie is breathtaking and must be heard to truly appreciate. The mystical interlude that evolves out of that ferocious exchange is also unexpected and the cut's majestic ending is awe-inspiring. "Mental Medication" is the closer and its eclectic modern jazz beginning keeps you from getting too comfortable on the sofa. The group then slips into a squeaky-tight groove that they take playful liberties with before leaping into a fiery jazz rock/fusion segment that makes your head swim as you try to keep up with their enthusiastic attack. Hot stuff.

Alas, this masterpiece would be the only studio offering we'd get from this lineup as Bruford and Holdsworth developed cold feet when they came face to face with a long-term commitment and bolted from the altar as soon as the band's profitable tour came to a close. Just as well. Lightning doesn't usually strike twice and they may've come to the conclusion that they'd never manufacture anything this fantastic and cohesive again as a foursome and it was best to get out of UK town while the getting was good. Mission accomplished. Adios, muchachos, vaya con Dios. No matter what happened post partum, the album they collectively gave birth to is a darn near immaculate example of prog rock at its most excellent and it has stood the test of time in exemplary fashion. I may have arrived at the UK coming out debutante party way over three decades in arrears but it still sounds as fresh and vital as it did in '78 and that's a cause for a belated celebration and many more spins on my turntable. If you don't have it already, add it to your wish list. Now, if not sooner.

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Posted Thursday, September 09, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars A supergroup that needs no introduction so let's get straight to the strange mish-mash of songs here.

In The Dead of Night - Light of Day - Presto. A trio of songs that opens the album with a blast. It reminds me a lot of Yes's Drama album. The sound is similar and the style is similar, with muscular bass & drums that compete with the dazzling guitar work from Holdsworth and the rather dreadful 80s sounding keyboards. The three parts form a unity but it's obvious that short and tight compositions have replaced the epics of old. The music remains dynamic and musically interesting and Wetton is great on the vocals here.

Thirty Years is a weird song, starting in a jazzy lounge mood with new-age synth effects. Halfway in we get treated to a fantastic snappy riff dancing in sync with the reckless time signatures that Bruford lays down. Unfortunately, around minute 6, Wetton deemed it necessary to spoil the fun by switching to an awkwardly fitting and ugly anthemic vocal part that is totally disconnected from the rest. Could have been a classic this one.

Alaska. Hear those synths! Neo-prog is arriving in a big way. As on the first track UK reminds me of Saga. The synth intro takes a while but when they get into the groove, it's fantastic, citing ELP in a very adequate way. One of my favorite tracks here. Unfortunately it's also the end of the album as far as I'm concerned

Wetton stretches the limits of his vocal chords and the extremities of far-fetched and strained vocal delivery on Time To Kill:. The verses are dreadfully contrived and the chorus must be one of the worst AOR has to offer. Oh yes, Asia is not far away anymore when hearing this. Another attempt at jazzy singing follows on Nevermore. It's quickly given up in favor of some cheap jazz-pop. Simply unlistenable. Fast-forward to minute 3 where the band indulges in a synth heavy jam. Not bad, not necessary.

Mental Medication could have saved the album but this hybrid of jazz-pop, AOR and keyboard pyroclastics is simply too much to take. I sure can see where Dream Theater got some of the cheese and the senseless soloing from.

This albums contains the type of mindless prog solos and AOR-leanings that made me stop loving prog a few ages ago. I can see now there is still some good stuff as well, and Holdsworth is a marvel. But I'm not sure if it's enough for 3 stars. There's too much that drags it down.

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Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars While writing my reviews of the '70s King Crimson albums I recalled that I had a copy of this album lying around, so let's give it another spin and see if my opinion of it will change this time.

The self-titled debut album from the supergroup called U.K. was released during a very turbulent time in prog rock history which makes it all the more unique, but is this uniqueness enough to uphold this record as one of the masterpieces of progressive music? The album opening suit consisting of In The Dead Of Night/By The Light Of Day/Presto Vivace And Reprise definitely starts the album on a high note of virtuosity from all the four members, but this is unfortunately as good as this release will ever get.

What follows the three first opening tracks can only be described as a fusion, or the lack of there-of, between Holdsworth's jazz-guitar soloing, Jobson's very '80s sounding keyboard sound while mixed with John Wetton, who sounds almost the same as he did during his years in King Crimson. Bruford rounds up the lineup, but I don't see his contribution as stand-alone such since he functions mainly as the glue that holds this collective together. Just listen to Thirty Years and you'll see what I mean!

Alaska is where the sound becomes atmospheric but without any real significant meaning to it, making me think that the first half of this track is deliberately wasting my time. The second part is a real blast and brings out all the best qualities of this collaboration, which in the end becomes a very awkward experience since I tend to skip the first 2 minutes out of this 5 minute song just to get to the good stuff. Time To Kill continues the groove that was achieved towards the end of Alaska and everything works nicely up until the very cheesy chorus section which ruins some of the momentum for me.

The final two tracks are dominated by Allan Holdsworth's jazz guitar style that has been absent from the music up to this point, but once it kicks in I get reminded exactly why I consider him to be one of the most overrated guitarists I know. He basically wails around in his soundscapes without ever trying to deviate from his tedious style which gives me shivers as soon as I think of it. Don't even get me started on the actual songs, since they aren't really even worth discussing here!

This is one of those popular albums that I guess is just beyond my comprehension. There are a few nice moments in the beginning of the release but there's really very little connection between how this album begins and ends, making me believe that the band weren't certain on which direction they wanted to take their music. In the end it's just a mixed bag that I only listen to whenever I want to show to my friends where Dream Theater got their soloing ambitions from.

***** star songs: In The Dead Of Night (5:39) Presto Vivace And Reprise (3:01)

**** star songs: By The Light Of Day (4:30) Thirty Years (8:08) Time To Kill (4:52)

*** star songs: Alaska (4:45) Nevermore (8:13) Mental Medication (7:22)

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Posted Monday, September 27, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A revered prog-rock supergroup whose sound is closer in spirit to the likes of 'Duke'-era Genesis, 1980's pop-proggers Asia and soft-rock leviathans Foreigner than it is to the classic, early-1970's albums such as 'Close To The Edge', 'Nursery Cryme' or 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', UK may feature a genuine treasure-trove of first rate talent but, in truth, they probably arrived too late in the day to make any real, lasting impact on the progressive music genre. Released in 1978, this self-titled debut album featured a line-up consisting of former Family and King Crimson bassist-and-vocalist John Wetton, ex-Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford, Roxy Music's synth-and-violin wizard Eddie Jobson, and former Soft Machine guitarist Allen Holdsworth. Wetton provided the vocals, in his usual excellent style, but it would be the youngest member, Jobson, who would dictate the group's musical machinations. Indeed, 'UK' is a very technologically-enhanced and effects-filled release, with Jobson utilising a plethora of hi-tech tricks to gain a slick, jazzy sound that truly belies it's 1978 release date. However, despite Jobson's box of tricks and the excellent line-up, 'UK' remains a rather flashy but rather empty spectacle that starts strongly - the polished, anthemic 'In The Dead Of Night' is the album's stand-out track - but quickly fades. It's reputation as the last prog hurrah before the vanguard of punk is well-intentioned but fails to, as some have claimed, give respectful closure to the 1970's progressive rock phenomenon. 'UK' has more in common with Asia than it does Yes, and, despite the quality musicianship, must be put down as an elegant failure. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Posted Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars UK's masterful album is a powerhouse of superb musicianship, not to be missed

"UK" is the debut album of super group UK who only released 2 studio albums but both are solid examples of the last great golden era of prog that ended in 1979. King Crimson stalwarts, drummer, Bruford and Bassist, vocalist, Wetton took up the frontline. They were joined by keyboardist extraordinaire, Roxy Music's Jobson, and the talented versatile genius of Gong guitarist Holdsworth.

It begins with the big single for the group, In the Dead of Night; "Are you one of mine who can sleep with one eye open wide? Agonizing psychotic solitary hours to decide, Reaching for the light at the slightest noise from the floor, Palms of hands perspire heart goes leaping at a knock from the door, In The Dead of Night." There is a great time sig on this track and an inspired keyboard motif. The lead solo is terrific too. A memorable track and quintessential UK.

By the Light of Day has the same feel as the previous track except that Jobson shines on sparkling keyboards. Spacey sounds are generated and this is quite a tranquil song overall. Jobson is a keyboard wizard on the bombastic delightful Presto Vivace and it reprises both opening tracks wonderfully, creating a type of suite of songs. There is no denying the innovation behind this approach.

Thirty Years moves in a different direction with lighter textures in the sound, Wetton sings with reflective lyrics. It moves along on a current of gentler waters, and builds slowly to a faster pace with Bruford's unusual percussion rhythms and soaring keyboard solos.

Alaska has icy cold atmospherics, almost like the cry of a blue whale, as the keyboard dominates. The low drones are ethereal and create a foreboding environment in the soundscape. It develops into a staccato powerful organ stab riff, reminiscent of Emerson or Wakeman.

Time to Kill is a rather strange track dominated by Wetton's vocals and a peculiar complex instrumental. The violin solo is virtuoso musicianship, very powerful and unlike anything I have heard on violin.

Nevermore features folky acoustic flourishes and a very peaceful keyboard passage. Wetton sings well and the harmonies are great. The instrumental is master class from all concerned. The swirls of Jobson's keyboards are mesmirising.

Final track is Mental Medication featuring a pulsating bassline and massive keyboard solos. Holdsworth's guitar is a force to be reckoned with. Once the band go into full flight they are unbeatable.

So the album is therefore a masterpiece of prog at its best in 1978. There is not a bad track on the album, and the band try a variety of styles and pull it off with accomplished musical expertise. Believe everything you have read: UK's debut is quintessential prog that deserves full recognition from a super group who's members defined the genre.

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Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Here you find some classics from this "ephemeral" superband (e.g. think of "Presto Vivace" or "Alaska), which represent the peek both in Wetton's career and the top level for Jobson as well (even though I prefer his keyboards in "Danger Money" and of course in their live "Night After Night")..."In the Dead of Night" represents the best tune in this album, an ever-green, thanks to the guitars effects and solos by A. Holdworth, who is able to enrich the music (in spite of being able to disturb just a little bit the keyboards performance by Jobson, if I think of their already mentioned live above, without Allan): well I prefer the keyboard oriented Trio of the second album (where Bozzio replaces Bruford-this latter being more fitted into a sophisticated jazz style and where moreover the keyboards by Jobson perform the job by Holdworth); but here this jazz/progressive rock style, in a strange mix, is so original and unique!! Think of "Nevermore", with the remarkable execution by A.Holdsworth in the intro and the following swing-jazz mood, suddenly interrupted by means of their most inspiring breaks-through of progressive rock...well actually the analogic keyboards by Jobson are important here, even though a bit cold here, and I don't like the sound of the keyboards (unlike in "Night After Night", where "Presto Vivace"/Alaska" are perfect); while regarding the melodic lines, also the good vocal interpretation by John, in spite of being not always at his top, is important: otherwise this tune seems to be perfect to be fitted into the particular style by Bruford on drums, thanks also to the unforgettable parts of electric guitar!! "Thirty years" is elegant, but it doesn't add anything new, in comparison to the other sophisticated tunes; instead "Time to Kill" is better in the live version! The problem was the the coexistence between Allan (who liked to change often his execution) and Eddie (whose solos at the keyboards were always the same): perhaps this is the reason of a certain discontinuity (think of the tepid "By the Light of Day") and besides the sophisticated last track ("Mental Medication", well sung by John) is not the most powerful way to conclude a quite memorable album (probably "Carrying no Cross" from the second album "Danger Money" should have been the perfect conclusion, but nevermind, that's another story and a different line-up too...).

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Posted Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars In 1978, most of the big names in progressive rock were either gone from the scene, or had diluted their sound into sometrhing barely palatable to their fans. And the recording industry and the journalists who fed off them loved this.

Then something strange happened. A quartet of prog veterans, Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton came together in this band, UK, and suddenly, for a short time, it was cool to play interesting music again. The music press, still wallowing in the depths of punk and disco, actually praised this band, and for the last time for the next few decades, gave accolades to a prog band.

And it was well deserved. The album is spectacular, and still one of the finest prog albums ever released. The music is a combination of symphonic prog and the energized fusion that Bruford and Holdsworth would continue in the drummer's band that followed. Every track on this album is exciting and complex, and wonderful.

And for a brief moment all was well in the world.

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Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It took me a while to really come to appreciate this album, but I'm glad I made the effort. The analogy I'd make is that UK are a really tight fusion group with art rock sensibilities and a synthesiser player (in the form of Eddie Jobson) who has a tendency to go all Rick Wakeman from time to time. With the rhythm section of Larks-to-Red era King Crimson onboard, you expect a loud, raucous and experimental trip and that's exactly what the band offer. The emphasis on newer synthesisers over classic keyboards gives the album a unique sound that further sets it apart from the group members' previous work.

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Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Self titled album by this excellent band from late '70s issued in 1978 is a fairly solid jazz fusion album with plenty of memorable parts and stunning musicianship, but I do prefere their second one Danger money little more being more colorfull and more unique then UK. The line up of this let's say supergroup was consisted by 4 of the best musicians jazz fusion/progressive rock ever had and still has, on guitar the master behind six strings Allan Holdsworth coming from Soft Machine and Gong later on on Bruford and aswell a has prolific solo career, Bill Bruford on drums from already giants Yes and King Crimson, John Wetton on bass and vocals from Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, etc and last but not least the crafty Eddie Jobson on keyboards and electric violin from Curved Air, Roxy Music and after the broke of UK in 1979 he will join Jethro Tull on A album. So, top of the iceberg here, each musician were masters on their instruments creating some spectacular moments. But, what about the music, well, is great, with blistering keyboards and awesome guitar parts, not to mention some very fine drum chops and bass lines. The opening track In The Dead Of Night is killer, I love it , is punchy and has solid musicianship and inventiv progressive/jazz fusion passages, Presto Vivace And Reprise is another highlight that must be heared by anyone involved in this kind of music and Alaska, the rest are also pretty good. So, a great debute but somehow fail to atract me so much as their next one Danger money, still worthy for sure and 4 stars.

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Posted Friday, February 15, 2013

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In retrospect the first album by the short-lived Progressive supergroup resembled an attempt by John Wetton and Bill Bruford to resuscitate the recently deceased KING CRIMSON, with another violinist in lieu of David Cross and a more sympathetic guitarist replacing the often intractable Robert Fripp. On paper it looked good, and the debut album sounded thrilling when first heard in 1978. But the passage of time has been less than kind to it, revealing not only the fatal stresses within the quartet but the larger cracks in the ideology of Progressive Rock at the end of the 1970s.

Blame the lopsided pool of all-star talent: an attempt to balance a pair of dedicated Jazz-Rockers (Bruford and guitarist Allan Holdsworth) against two aspiring pop stars (Wetton and Eddie Jobson), without any blueprint for a workable fusion. It all came together brilliantly in the opening "In the Dead of Night" suite: one of the more exciting highlights of late-Golden Age Prog. If only the rest of the album had as many memorable hooks (incredibly catchy, despite the odd time signatures), or the same lush symphonic climax, in years to come providing a sonic blueprint for embryonic Neo- Proggers.

But I don't know many fans who ventured far beyond it, into the often empty virtuosity of Side Two. The balance of the album leaned more toward the polite Bruford/Holdsworth style of English Jazz Rock, implausibly grafted onto Jobson's clinical synth patches and Wetton's typically beefy bass guitar lines. And the singer's smoky baritone sounds distinctly uneasy when forced into the jazzier cadences of "Time to Kill", "Nevermore", and "Mental Medication".

At the start of the 1970s bands were encouraged to cross-pollinate opposing forms of music, just to hear what might happen. But as the decade advanced and the adolescent music business matured into an industry, the final goal became more commercial than creative, spelling an end to Prog Rock's original idealism. Seven years earlier the same friction that split UK in two might have produced something really special. You can still hear the occasional spark, but the expected detonation never happens.

Give the effort three stars at best, in recognition of the talent, not the results.

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Posted Thursday, March 06, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars Looking at the front cover, I was expecting something sounding like 'Ultravox' or some punk band - particularly as they had the name U.K. It wasn't until I found out Bruford and Wetton were present that I bought this. Listening to this album makes me realise that the two guys here were unde ... (read more)

Report this review (#398226) | Posted by Dobermensch | Friday, February 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the high points of music in the second half of the 1970s. Jobson, Holdsworth, Bruford and Wetton gelled to create some incredibly haunting music--as well as some very fresh sounds. All of the soft parts are masterful and emotion-filled but are best because they forebode the imminent attack of ... (read more)

Report this review (#387678) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The late seventies are often seen as the end of days for the great prog bands. Genesis, and soon after Yes, were releasing pop albums, King Crimson was on the shelf, Pink Floyd had been consumed by Roger Waters' ego... It seems as if the genre could not continue. However, nobody told John Wetton. ... (read more)

Report this review (#359826) | Posted by Wied | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3,5 stars Considered as one (if not the) last classic prog rock albums of the '70s, UK's debut in 1978 includes all the ingredients of prog in that time with an '80s sound. John Wetton's distinctive voice and bass lines, Bill Bruford's drumming and Eddie Jobson's keyboard playing are in reall ... (read more)

Report this review (#300847) | Posted by DeKay | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I ordered this 8-track from Columbia House, I had no idea what it was. I have always loved taking risks because I have found that I discover a lot of great bands that way. The description of this album in the Columbia House catelog said it was "jazz-rock" and that of course is what sold ... (read more)

Report this review (#284394) | Posted by TCat | Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MILESTONE ALBUM!PURE MASTERPIECE!MONUMENT IN MUSIC!I don't know,honestly what else could be sayed about this monumental piece of true artistical genius?!?!!In fact,my humble review is a modest tribute of respect and endless admiration to something FABULOUS!This album had a major impact in mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#260119) | Posted by Ovidiu | Saturday, January 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If ever there was prog, this is it. This was extremely innovative. I purchased the disc when it first came out in '78. We had never heard anything like it before. Listening to this today, it is less innovative to be sure, but it has aged extremely well. Strange how their second disc, Dang ... (read more)

Report this review (#256337) | Posted by ProgFusion | Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This, UK's first and most significant recording, was somewhat of a beacon in the progressive music wasteland that was 1978. Born from the scraps of King Crimson's RED with the fluid Charlie Parkeresque guitar of Alan Holdsworth filling in for Fripp's more angular voice, and coupled with the yout ... (read more)

Report this review (#210619) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Monday, April 06, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The debut album from this prog rock supergroup. It contains well known members like John Wetton and Bill Bruford. Compared to that other supergroup from that era, ASIA, U.K did symphonic prog rock. This album is a blend of very technical Canterbury Scene, fusion and symphonic prog. The musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#188718) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What is considered to be the last hurrah of prog in the 70's. In the late 70's, Bill Bruford, John Wetton, Eddie Jobson and Allen Holdsworth formed UK, a seasoned group of prog veterans that each brought a unique perspective to the band. UK's first album, UK, is a very good debut, but unfort ... (read more)

Report this review (#139492) | Posted by Tarkus31 | Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars We have here the alumni of Yes, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Roxy Music, Gong, and Soft Machine. How could this possibly go wrong? Sure, Jobson's keyboards sound way too cheesy on here (as they would two years later on Jethro Tull's album that must not be named), but there are some really tight com ... (read more)

Report this review (#128174) | Posted by Salviaal | Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A monolithic classic of late 70s jazz-prog. Fresh off the success of the first two Bruford albums, Bill Bruford and fusion guitar master Allen Holdsworth hooked up with John Wetton, who at this time was still playing like he was trying to murder you with his bass, and Zappa/Roxy Music alumn Eddi ... (read more)

Report this review (#120908) | Posted by BobShort | Sunday, May 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very enjoyable album featuring an all-star cast of prog-rock legends. Does it reach its full potential? Sadly, no. Is it worth a listen? Yes. Not an essential prog work HOWEVER if you are a disciple of Holdsworth's guitar playing - then this becomes a must-have. It is a critical entry ... (read more)

Report this review (#118269) | Posted by Disconnect | Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Something seems to be missing. This is a very solid release from UK (especially as a debut) but it seems to be lacking something, some pizazz maybe. Maybe as a fan of the Bill Bruford/John Wetton era of King Crimson I was expecting too much or something similar at least. But this is a pleasant ... (read more)

Report this review (#117505) | Posted by progismylife | Friday, April 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you lived in a cave during the late 60s and early 70s and were not aware of the jazz fusion movement stemming from the US, and your first "prog" record was this UK release, then surely you would've been mesmerized by this recording. On the other hand, if you had, or have, any clue to the histo ... (read more)

Report this review (#90749) | Posted by jrfernan | Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars UK was formed at a point in time when it was decidedly "uncool" to be seen listening to progressive rock music. At that time, the band was touted (somewhat derogatorily) as a "Supergroup", comprising, as it did, of two ex members of King Crimson, one ex member of Soft Machine and one ex member ... (read more)

Report this review (#89001) | Posted by The Mentalist | Tuesday, September 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Interesting to read some of the previous reviews, especially how some feel that Holdsworth must have the makings of a good guitarist. Hello!! I'm not even a guitarist. I'm a drummer, and even I know that at one-time Holdsworth was voted the "guitarists' guitarist." Meaning to say, that top ... (read more)

Report this review (#79064) | Posted by prog4evr | Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The debut album from the shortlived UK flows effortlessly from start to finish, Excellent musicianship from all who take part, Great sound (Though maybe a bit too electronic) and strong songs all shaped with a commercial edge. Immediately hailed as a 'supergroup' It's easy to see why most of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#74483) | Posted by Winter Wine | Sunday, April 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you were alive in 1978, you saw the slow decay of British progressive rock into oblivion. If you needed something to hold on to you had this exquisite album buy UK. I enjoy the work that Bruford did with Holdsworth more so then the 70s stuff with Fripp. This album showed the way that pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#69638) | Posted by | Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Possibly the most overlooked album of the 70's. Each member of the band brought their own style to the compositions. By doing this they created a cohesive feel to the entire album. Rarely this amount of diverse talent can prouduce an album which sounds like they have been together for many y ... (read more)

Report this review (#69450) | Posted by titfortat03 | Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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