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Unitopia - More Than A Dream - The Dream Complete CD (album) cover

MORE THAN A DREAM - THE DREAM COMPLETE

Unitopia

 

Crossover Prog

3.27 | 7 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars - The first review for this release - UNITOPIA have undoubtedly been the most recognized act of contemporary Australian prog. Their music combines the continuation of symphonic tradition la The Flower Kings into modern sounds and catchy pop approach. The band called it a day after four studio albums (two of them being familiar to me before receiving this set to be reviewed). It's an extended 3-disc set of the debut album More Than a Dream (2005), with over two and a half hours of extra material. Generally I have very mild interest towards such releases, in which the same tracks are served in many forms and the quantity takes over quality. My first quick taste of the remastered album itself wasn't very positive either, and my expectations for the whole set were indeed strongly coloured by prejudices, but after listening to all the three discs my reception got whole lot warmer. A special mention goes to the cover artist Ed Unitsky, whose prefectionism has graced e.g. the albums of The Samurai Of Prog.

More Than a Dream starts with a slightly attacking song 'Common Goal' that features programming and horns in its dense soundscape. A cool soprano sax solo opens the next song 'Fate' which unfortunately starts repeating the sticky chorus way too much. 'Justify' is a near 13-minute prog piece. Its colourful arrangement is finished with a lovely child soprano voice of vocalist Mark Trueack's daughter Holly. The passionate composition 'Take Good Care' features a gorgeous orchestration. 'Ride' is based on a drum machine pattern that Sean Timms's liner notes call Genesis-esque for a good reason (compare 'Duchess' or 'Man on the Corner'). A pity that it's more or less buried under the wall of sound. All in all, one really hears that the album was worked upon for several years from the late 90's onwards, and occasionally that brings a sense of pushing things a bit too hard. The first disc ends with two pop songs that were excluded from the original album. According to Timms 'Unitopia' was influenced by Prefab Sprout, and 'There's a Place' was a commisional piece in the spirtit of 'Don't Give Up' by Peter Gabriel. His then wife Neusa Georgiou sang the ballad beautifully.

The second disc contains re-mixes and re-workings of the album tracks. Normally I'd consider this kind of disc rather pointless, but many songs actually sound better here. For example, 'Ride' has been freed of the most disturbing chorus repetition. There are enough differences to justify various versions. -- Disc No. 3 begins with epic tracks done for multi- national [Colossus] projects on the literary concepts of H. P. Lovecraft and Giovanni Boccaccio. After the previously unreleased 'Haunted Storm' comes four Dance Mixes of More Than a Dream songs. "I guess these songs could fall into the category of 'what were we thinking???'", Timms writes, but what the heck, it's funny to have at least this much of pure EDM on my record shelves! Finally there are two previously unreleased 1996 demos and a brand new song 'The Dream Complete', with which Trueack and Timms offer a parting gift to their loyal fans.

Yes, this set is pretty pompous, but if the price isn't too high it can be recommended to a wider audience than just to the most dedicated fans of the band.

Matti | 3/5 |

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