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Old 02-04-2009, 03:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post The Garden - Unitopia Album Review



Unitopia - The Garden - Review

UNITOPIA - (yu-nih-to-pi-E): meaning living together as one in a place of ideal perfection especially in law, government and social conditions.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one..."

How many bands these days make double albums? Only the Maestro, Arjen Luccasen does it consistently!

How many make one in their sophomore effort? I can't remember one... Until now.

Why take out all of the best china...unless you know that you have even more epics in the works. Why shoot for the top of one of prog's highest peaks (Supper's Ready)...when you are just getting started?

Lots of questions...and here are the answers...

One Day - One day everyone will hear this CD set! "I hope that all those that are dear to me, know of all that wasn't clear to me...one day." Very nice start to the journey.

The Garden - I have been waiting a very long time for someone to find the most important part of Supper's Ready. It's the ending, not Willow Farm or the other bits. It's the new beginning, written in the ending of the song. This band has captured the essence here, "Free... Never alone..., turn my face to the rising sun. Joyful tears, no more fears, and my mind is finally clear. Ooh, it's good to be back home." A whopping, over 22 minute quantum leap!

Angeliqua - This band's Kaleigh! The one that got away! Great guitar work, drums, rhythm, maracas, and a repeating theme throughout this CD set...the lyrics, just brilliant!

Here I Am - Some of us have been looking and waiting a long time for someone to carry on the traditional theme of Mr. Gabriel. Welcome Mr. Trueack, the stage is yours! "Hoping, this precious gift will last!"
Amelia's Dream/I Wish I Could Fly - I am not a big fan of sampled voice clips interlaced with the music. But this band does it effectively here, choosing a female hero to capture the historic nature of flight. The song captures the feeling more effectively IMHO than many of the Pink Floyd versions. "Over the mountain tops. Over the ocean, spray on your wings. You flew like the eagle so wild and free."

Inside the Power - Yes, there is so much power on this album. The drums, really bring out that power. Having someone like Mr. Ruggiero, who has recorded in the rare air of Abbey Road, cannot hurt! Then there are those incredible lyrics: "Inside the power, inside of me. Rushing deeper than the deep blue sea. I can know what it truly means to be taken higher than the sky. Higher than the sky."

Wow! That's CD 1 and you are wondering if you will ever have enough time to enjoy all of it. But wait, there is more...

Journey's Friend - This masterpiece clocks in at 16:30. One epic is usually all you get, even with the best bands. This one is still giving the title track a run for its money for me. Part IV, The Main Attraction and Part V, the Path are especially powerful to me. I see some similarities to some of my favorite prog songs of all time, here. Maybe the goal was to conquer allot of ground in a hurry. If so, mission accomplished!

Give and Take - This song is ready for prime time! The beautiful orchestrated opening of this song took me away, immediately. One of the best on the set, besides the epics of course. Lyrics are great, but the music makes this one special. "Our world was being torn apart, I was in two minds. Everything was going wrong, time to believe. And could we find a way out of this mess we're in?"

When I'm Down - I know the first song I will run for when things are not going my way in the future. This song has one purpose and thank you for it. "When I'm down, down can I call on you? When I'm down, down can you help me through?" Oh yeah, and then there is the Tony Banks- like keyboards....wow!

This Life - Lyrics, lyrics, lyrics...the mantra of good music! "This Life. Our Life. Make it what you desire! This Life, Our Life. It's a gateway to the other side." Wow!

Love Never Ends - Those strings and that acoustic guitar. Your favorite lady will love this one. Wonderful duet. "Eyes shining like the sunlight with that smile she sends to me. She is my future, and my friend, we are ever meant to be."

So Far Away - Beautiful instrumental track to follow up the love song. That piano and orchestra...yeah Days of Future Passed revisited.

Don't Give Up Love - The instrumental blends into this powerful ELO, One Summer Dream - sounding homage to the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. The title says it all!

321 - A wonderful tribute to the miners in Australia trapped for 321 hours. The band's involvement with that incident and its survivors is worth a listen and a read.

Vocals, lyrics, very powerful percussion, keys, orchestras and more. Hard to find anything missing here. When you put this much into an album, the future is very, very bright! But what a mountain to try to surpass! I have a good feeling they already have that planned out....

Grabbing for the brass ring in your sophomore attempt! Now that takes guts! It should be rewarded!

Australia is definitely on the map of prog with this CD set!

Wonderful to be at the start of something new! Waiting and listening to watch the story unfold!


10/10 rating. Must have CD set!

To listen to clips:

Unitopia on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
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Unitopia - More Than A Dream

Last edited by ProgProfessor; 02-05-2009 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I did some searching and it seems to have got some good reviews elsewhere too. Wouldn't mind hearing this myself.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Probably the same guy reviewing it
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Probably the same guy reviewing it

Nope, not the same. Good group and album.
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well he put it up at least three times on this forum alone, so...
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well he put it up at least three times on this forum alone, so...

I think the main issue here may be that it is a trifle too "subjective" and it comes across as more "selling" the album rather than describing the tracks in a more Wiki-Friendly objective manner.

Wow! That's CD 1 and you are wondering if you will ever have enough time to enjoy all of it. But wait, there is more... This sounds like an infomercial...

Nice energy and description and A for effort...I guess I want to write a review one day too here and I am therefore reading these intentively as literary contributions and lessons on style.

If this person is truly submitting multiple reviews your CMS can flag multiple content if needed I am sure. I am sure you know that; I am new so I am simply outsider looking in at this point still. I will have to check out The Garden now. :-)
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Get your points ToeAndo and ninaNirvana. The review is a bit too subjective, and therefore, not as helpful as it could be. ProgProfessor is new to the site (as am I), so maybe this was just the result of being unfamiliar but excited about emerging artists. Your points are well-taken about multiple posts and using reviews to market. Still, Unitopia is a good listen and worth giving it a try.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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321 - A wonderful tribute to the miners in Australia trapped for 321 hours. The band's involvement with that incident and its survivors is worth a listen and a read.
I do like that song the best. Very cinematique. I am on their my space now.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Smile Unitopia friend

So here I am in Adelaide, Australia, reading reviews and comments about some wonderful people that I'm lucky enough to know, and they are all wonderful people. To meet any of them you wouldn't know what amazing, accomplished, brilliant musicians they are. None of them are prone to bragging. In fact I'd known my friend Monty for some time before he even mentioned Unitopia after a gig he was playing with another band. Sitting out in the car park New Year's night 2005 with the band he was with that night, he just quietly asked if he could get my opinion on some music. So I sat in the passenger seat of his car and he put a CD on, that was the not quite completed More Than A Dream. That was also the night I fell in love with a prog rock band. Prog rock isn't exactly big here in Australia and doesn't get a huge following, and although I'd enjoyed to listening to some prog rock over the years, I wasn't as much a fan as "not adverse" to it. That all changed that night. About four songs in he asked if I liked it, somehow I got the words out that I not only liked it but was totally enthralled by it, that's when he told me that it was his band, and asked again if I really liked it.

Well of course when it became available I bought my own copy, which has been played over and over, I snapped up the 321 single, and bugged them for months prior to the release of The Garden wanting to know when it'd be available!

Well I'm still getting to know the band, but I can tell you that what you hear is who they are. I've read some reviews of The Garden that say certain songs could be shortened, or that they'd have been better off making one long CD and leaving some songs for later release and what I say to that is BOLLOCKS!! That'd be like suggesting they play minus one or two members. Most reviews I read, and there's so very many of them now, tell of magnificence, and use other such wonderful adjectives as: brilliant, stunning, fantastic, top class, triumphant, flawless, uplifting, glorious, extraordinary, sublime, beautiful, inspiring... and the list goes on. And I think it's all these things and more because they put so very much of themselves into every facet of every song. Oh I'm sure most musicians put their hearts into their songs, but there are hearts and there are hearts and all the members of Unitopia are incredible, sensitive, amazing, beautiful, complex people, as well as being overwhelmingly talented musicians and song/music-crafters. I say crafters rather than writers just because it just seems more apt. Yet while putting so much of themselves into their music, none of it is "about them", just the opposite it's about peace, love, hope for everyone, it's about seeing how you can make the world around you better and be better for it. The realization of the hopes and dreams we all share for a perfect peaceful world.

I don't have a standing favourite song on either album, some days I might favour one or two over others, but each song is a favourite of mine. The closest I could get to favourite is discovering that I have favourite parts of songs, sometimes the lyrics, sometimes the music and I find my heart quicken as the songs approach them. As an example, and it's only one of very, very many favourite parts, I like the sexy jazzy, bouncy feel with the combination of vocals and music in the beginning of the second chorus of Don't Give Up Love. There, how specific is that? Tongue

I'm more in love with Unitopia than ever and know that I'm very fortunate to not only have their music and to have met them, but to be allowed to call them my friends. For those of you who don't live here and may not get to meet Unitopia face to face, you can get to know them all in their music and be enriched by the meeting.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quick note to ToeAndno, I'm pretty sure ProgProfessor is just excited about how well Unitopia is doing in so many countries. Their album reached number 1 in Germany and 7 in Poland for prog rock in 2008 and their vocalist and my friend, Mark Trueack has just been awarded "Best Progressive Rock Indie Vocalist" by the 2009 Progressive Rock Hall of Fame.

So like me, ProgProfessor might just be a teensy bit excited!!
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