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Utopia - POV CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.94 | 28 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars An unfitting epitaph

Following Utopia's painful departure from their long term label Bearsville, the band recorded one self titled album for the fledgling Network records. Unfortunately, that label folded a year later, and they were once again left homeless. The band negotiated a deal with the small PVC label, "POV" being their second album for that label ("Oblivion" was the first).

"POV" consists of the ubiquitous 10 tracks, five on each side of the LP. As might be guessed both from the format, and from the immediately preceding albums, the songs are short, with melodic pop rock structures. Unfortunately, the band have clearly run out of inspiration, indeed, they were to disband after making "POV". The songs are decidedly ordinary right from the start, the opening "Play this game" being little more than a half hearted attempt to find a hit single.

There is an inherent laziness to the song writing especially apparent on tracks such as "Style" and "Secret society", which make criminal overuse of use repetition. "Zen Machine" is reminiscent of Devo ("Are we not men"), reflecting the new wave influences on Utopia around the time of this album. Even the token ballad "Mated", which Rundgren apparently dedicated to his fans, is wet to the point of being embarrassing. Apparently it has been used on regular occasions at weddings!.

Only "Mystified" rises slightly above the mediocrity, mainly due to a nice guitar break, but even this track would flounder on a half decent Utopia album.

Interestingly, the LP version I have (which is actually on the "Food for thought" label, catalogue number GRUBB 5 sic), credits all the songs to Todd Rundgren. I believe though, they are as usual actually band compositions. As if the songs were not indifferent enough, the production is flat and lifeless, only serving to accentuate the blandness of the music.

Utopia made some excellent music in their time. It is unfitting that "POV" should serve as their epitaph.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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