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Utopia - Adventures In Utopia CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.22 | 51 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars No sense of adventure

One of two Utopia releases in 1980, "Adventures in Utopia" continued the trend established on the previous "Oops wrong planet" where the band moved inexorably in a pop direction. The vast majority of the ten tracks here are short pop based songs. Fortunately, the Rundgren stamp of quality remains, but both he and the other band members are writing and performing so far inside themselves they are coming out the other side.

The album contains a rare hit single for the band in "Set me free" sung by Kasim Sultan, a song very much in the mould of Todd's "I saw the light". The other songs are a predictable mix of upbeat pop rock and ballads. Tracks such as "Second nature" and "Love alone" fall neatly into the latter category, such songs would have been equally at home on the prolific Todd's concurrent solo output.

There are occasionally forays into something a little more interesting. The opening title track for example attempts to deceive us into thinking that Utopia have decided to revert to their prog roots, the striking intro and slightly more complex arrangement offering hope to those of us who craved for another album to match the bands first release. Such digressions are all too rare though. "Caravan" may run for nearly 7 minutes, but it never strays from the new wave pop pleaser it starts out as. The quality of the pop here is undeniable, but pop it is.

"The last of the new wave riders" has echoes of Todd's "Sons of 1984", clearly being designed to be used as a crowd anthem in a live setting. The track is worth hearing though for the fine Todd guitar solo it contains. "The very last time" is more of the same with Todd in good voice up front and the band providing the massed chorus backing.

With Rungren running a parallel solo career, the boundaries between that and his work with Utopia were becoming very blurred. Instead of taking the opportunity to use the band environment as an opportunity to explore other styles, he simply used both vehicles to attack on the same front. As a result, Utopia albums such as this can only be described as frustratingly wasted opportunities.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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