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Utopia - Oblivion CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

2.50 | 38 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Maybe we should change

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 the band were once again left homeless. They negotiated a deal with the small PVC label, "Oblivion" being the first of three Utopia albums for that label (the third "Trivia" was a compilation of unreleased material).

Once again, although Rundgren was clearly the leader the songwriting credits are democratically shown as "Utopia" throughout. Interestingly though, the production and engineering credit states "Todd Rundgren and Utopia".

As had been the case on more recent Utopia albums, any vestiges of prog had long since been eradicated from the band, so here we have ten short, pop based songs. The lack of effort though is apparent throughout the album, from the bland black sleeve to the endlessly repeated one line choruses.

The overall sound is that of the 80's, with thin electronic synth backings, and jaunty pop melodies. At times, the band sound like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, but without the melodies. Indeed, it is the song-writing which is the weakest link here. The first three tracks are among the worst Rundrgren has ever put his name to. The title "Itch in my brain" offers fair warning of the upbeat rubbish which is to follow, this being mirrored on the equally poor "Bring me my longbow". Even the vocal harmonies sound unrehearsed and lacking in effort.

Switching to side two brings some slight relief, with "Maybe I could change" being a passable ballad, and the following "Crybaby" at least finding Rundgren in decent vocal form. It's all too short on real quality though, and the album closes in equally bland fashion.

It is hard to find anything positive to say about this album. Quite why the band persisted when there was no fuel left in the tank is an enigma. Avoid.

Easy Livin | 1/5 |


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