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CD Reviews

United Progressive Fraternity - 'Fall In Love With The World' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 17, 2015    
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A fine debut full of musical treats.

The United Progressive Fraternity (UPF) was borne from the ashes of Australian Prog band Unitopia who released three studio albums of original material but bowed out in 2012 with a fairly pointless covers album. Core members of the fraternity are ex-Unitopia members Matt Williams (guitars), Dave Hopgood (drums), Tim Irrgang (percussion) and driving force Mark Trueack (vocals) with the idea that other players can come and go, contributing as required or available.

On this album Trueack has marshalled the talents of Jon Anderson (ex-Yes), Guy Manning (Manning, The Tangent), Dan Mash (Maschine, The Tangent) and the ubiquitous Steve Hackett, with Anderson's vocal contribution on 'The Water' being one of the album's highlights.

Unitopia were firmly rooted in the Classic Prog genre and while UPF inhabit the same arena, there are certain more contemporary inflections that separates them neatly from that previous entity; mind you with Trueack's distinctive, sonorous vocals they will always be redolent of Unitopia.

The album's title may be a clue to the underlying theme which is Ecology and taking care of our planet; the lyrics certainly leave you in no doubt but fortunately these are wrapped up with beautifully constructed and melodic music with wonderful themes, refrains and choruses.

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In true Prog style the album opens with 'Overture (We Only Have One World)'; it has a Middle Eastern feel (a feature of the album) and a hint of some of Hackett's solo work and sets things up rather nicely. I could imagine it being used at an Olympic Opening Ceremony.

'Choices' carries on the Middle Eastern vibe until the infectious chorus arrives and the tempo and power increases. The track ebbs and flows and moves through several phases including a quiet mid-section where saxophones come to the fore. The sax introduces 'Intersection' on which Trueack excels with his impassioned vocals and another terrific chorus. The contemporary feel I mentioned appears half way through with a frenzied burst of activity before it gets contemplative once again, a pre-cursor to the big finish.

The aforementioned '...Water' puts me in mind of younger Prog bands at the outset while the chorus is superb; 'Don't Look Back – Turn Left' has an initial Steely Dan feel with a pleasing shuffle going on.

The album's epic (its Prog so there has to be one) is the twenty-two minute 'Travelling Man' which ticks most of the Prog boxes including heavier sections that bring the likes of Threshold or Ayreon to mind. The title track's a lovely acoustic ballad (if a tad repetitive) while 'Religion of War' rounds things out in a modern Prog style.

A fine debut full of musical treats.

Gary Marshall

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