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




Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 258 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 1974, this American group released what would be an astonishing amount of music crammed onto a single LP, an entire hour. The first side is comprised of three tracks, two exceed the ten minute mark, and the finale is a whopping 30 minutes. Overall, this is enough to entice a listener. But there is so much depth and sophistication to the music, one can easily get lost in the panoramic landscapes of sound.

Todd Rundgren leads the pack with searing guitar solos and crunchy riffs that are complex and catchy. And yet, he also has some quiet lead swells and has a memorable voice. Add three keyboard players to the mix, Moogy Klingman, M. Frog Labat, and Ralph Schuckett, and you get a wide variety of sounds and some incredibly fascinating synth soars. And finally, when you add the tight and cohesive rhythm unit of Kevin Ellman and John Siegler, and you get the incredible ensemble of Utopia.

The album opens with the Utopia Theme, a 14 minute musical adventure that takes 7 minutes of alternating solos and muddy riffs until Rundgren sings of a "Utopia/City in my head". Add memorable riffs and some great lead play, this semi-live song is a highlight of the album. The second song, Freak Parade, has some Jazz overtones and has a slight Zappa feel to it with alternating solos and tight interplay between the musicians. The moods and tempos of the track shift sublimely, and there's enough invention there to keep one interested for a long time. Freedom Fighters is the "single" of the album, and is the only track to not exceed 10 minutes. With a memorable chorus, and some tight interplay, it certainly drips "Progressive Pop". The finale, the whopper, an anamoly to the length a side of vinyl could hold, the Ikon. With tight solos, superb shifts in tempo and feeling, and some great lyrics/vocals to back up. Superb work from the keyboard unit makes this the highlight of the album.

Overall, there is nothing to fault this album with. It is superb in every facet and should be in everyone's collection. 5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 5/5 |


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