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!