Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Utopia - Deface The Music CD (album) cover

DEFACE THE MUSIC

Utopia

 

Eclectic Prog

2.88 | 36 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars This album is yet another departure by Todd Rundgren – heck, everything he’s ever done has been a departure from something. In the case of Deface the Music, Rundgren and crew take on the early Beatles sound with a vengeance, or at least as much of a vengeance as is possible with this kind of pre-rock sound. The songs would have been very popular back in 1963, but as usual Utopia is reacting to a musical trend after it has already run its course, instead of being on the progressive forefront of a new sound. In this case they missed the boat by at least a dozen years.

“I Just Want to Touch You” is a pure pop song in the vein of the earliest Beatles – it’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” with a little bit (but not much) better production quality than those early Parlophone recordings. Same goes for “Crystal Ball” and “Where Does the World Go to Hide?”, the latter of which is some sort of self-absorbed lament from a guy who I guess just lost his girlfriend.

On “Silly Boy” the recording quality sounds like Rundgren intentionally tried to inflect the tinny sound of those mid-60’s albums that were converted from mono to stereo. This is another ‘girl done me wrong’ song, as is the next one, “Alone”, which has a little bit of a Spanish flair with someone playing a fat acoustic guitar.

“That’s Not Right” is another pre-1965 clone, and “Take it Home” is a conscious rip-off of (er, tribute to) “Drive My Car”. By the time “Hoi Poloi” rolls around the band has worked its way up to the later 60’s hits like “Penny Lane” and “Happiness is a Warm Gun”. There’s also some horns on this one which is a bit of a change from the front side of the album.

“Life Goes On” is a story-song with strings ala Revolver or maybe even the white album, but the boy-band harmonizing vocals are just plain kitschy.

I’m not sure what “Feel Too Good” is supposed to be a clone of, but it sort of sounds like the Sgt. Peppers/Magical Mystery Tour era with a little bit of psychedelic keyboarding and throbbing, repetitive guitar.

“Always Late” is the filler tune, and “All Smiles” is Abbey Road era but without the ethereal mood that the Beatles brought to the original. This one also has harmonizing backing vocals, but these sound more like an Irish drinking song.

The album comes to a close with “Everybody Else is Wrong” is just kind of a generic tribute to that era of music, with no particular influence standing out. I will say that I particularly like the piano on this song, which is somewhat slower than the rest of the album, but the vocals are just plain grating.

I have no idea why Rundgren felt the need to release a tribute (or parody) in the form of an irreverent retrospective, particularly in 1980 when even progressive bands were struggling to figure out what came next, not reflecting back on what was more than a decade before. I suppose he may have felt this was a daring gamble to be different, but I’d have to say it falls kind of flat, and definitely has not stood the test of time in the quarter-century since its release.

If you’re looking for some really good mid-60’s music that is bright, upbeat, and reflects the times in which is was written, well – buy some old Beatles records. If you’re looking for a really good Utopia album, this isn’t it – maybe try Ra or their debut album instead. Otherwise, this one is for collectors only. Two stars, and barely that.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this UTOPIA review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives