My second review. This is a band that a bass teacher of mine played in for a while, I found it today in a second hand CD shop. Maybe I can get it signed...
From an [URL=http://www.geocities.com/RCNISM/DaveWinter.html]interview[/URL] with the lead singer.
One of Australia's music finds for 1998 has been Sydney band Utopian Babies. They are signed to Roadshow Music and have been part of the new breed of cool pop rock to hit the local venues. On the basis of an appealing first single "One Of These Days", the band has forged itself strongly in scoring support slots for Australian tours by Stereophonics, Richie Sambora, and Brian May.
Track 1: Fanfare (3:20)
Starting off with some synth, then a quick watery bass riff. Breathy vocals enter and keep a fast rhythm with the drums before switching it up for a quick chorus-like section featuring the electric guitars for added density. The vocal work is very good, and complimented by retro sounding backing vocals. Overall the song has a nice upbeat feel to it and has a foot-tapping/sing-along vibe to it. Nice hooks and a catchy feel, a top quality pop rock song with vintage vibes.
Track 2: One Of These Days (3:26)
The aforementioned "appealing single", the track starts off with a softer guitar riff, light cymbal/hi-hat work and the vocals prominent, keeping the melody. The track picks up with the entry of the bass and guitar riff, which forms a long buildup into a return to the vocals of the introduction with new musical backing. This track shows off the bass grooves as well as the vocals, which move the song along. Another upbeat track, catchy and an easy listen.
Track 3: Luna Eclipse (0:20)
A quick guitar interlude, pretty much leads on to the next track, as suggested by the name ;).
Track 4: Hello The Moon (3:37)
After some quick changes in the intro, the song settles into a rhythmic, grooving melody over which the vocals are left to do their thing. The bass groove is again prominent, with reverberating, watery guitar fills providing some decoration along the way. Halfway through the song changes to a vocal solo, joined by piano, then rejoined by all the instruments for a more upbeat and active groove. Nice guitar solo towards the end.
Track 5: Mr Rain (3:39)
Softer acoustic and vocal intro, electric guitar slips in with some nice fills. Bass grooves its way into the picture, followed by guitar chords, a drum fill, and then the groove is on. The vocals serve to draw it all together. A more laid back track, but still reasonably upbeat. Another easy listen, catchy and with nice hooks.
Track 6: Naive & Green (4:36)
Starts out with some energetic riffs and drums, slowing up into sweeping guitar work and softer vocals that are nicely timed and have the distinctive Utopian Babies sound to them. Nice build up into yet another catchy chorus, with cool bass grooves and guitar riffs. Follows the pattern of the denser chorus and lighter verse. Just after two minutes they break it down for a while and everyone grooves on before heading back to the hook, then back to a groove session and very cool but quick guitar solo that leads back to chorus again, then works it way to the ending without mishap. La la... la la... la la, la la... yeah... :).
Track 7: Strawberry Wine (3:34)
More funky than groovey, guitar kicks it off before slowing it up for the verse. Some synth keyboard work helps the build up to the chorus/hook, which is less pronounced than in some of the other songs. This is a more laid back track, more emphasis on the vocals, which can handle the role well. The main chorus section comes in around the two minute mark, followed by some funky wah guitar work. Repeat and finish.
Track 8: Magazine (2:50)
Starts slow but turns into an upbeat groovey track before long. Vocals show their typical style, which doesn't change much from track to track but suits the music well regardless. Backing vocals enhance the mood nicely. Around 1:15 it slows down before picking up again for an instrumental groove session before the vocals enter over a bass semi-solo. Sweeping guitar slides enter over different sounding vocals. Bit of a weird ending on this one.
Track 9: Nothing In Moderation (2:23)
The title track, starts out with vocals over guitar chords, before jumping into an upbeat, driving rhythm. Catchy, reminds me of Manic Street Preachers a bit. Less emphasis on groove in this one, more focus on the driving rhythm and guitar riffs. Well worth checking out, this one, if you're into that kind of stuff. *Makes cymbal motions.* Yeah :cool:.
Track 10: The La La Song (3:11)
Has a retro pop feel to it, fits in with the general vibe. Catchy in that retro pop way. Not much else to say really. Feel good sort of song.
Track 11: The Best Of Times, Part 2 (3:20)
A softer acoustic pop ballad, starts out with only the acoustic guitar and the vocals, and has a nice atmosphere. Very lovey, almost emo. Very nice lyrics though. Definetly one to check out to get a bigger picture of the band. A definite change in mood and style from the other songs. :)
Track 12: Have You Heard The News Today (9:57)
Actually only goes for about 5:20. Blank after that until a phone rings or something :confused:.
Starts out soft and slow, just guitar and vocals. Mood changes about 1:30 into it, with drums making an appearance alongside a slower bassline and airy guitarwork. Gives way to a very nice extended blues guitar solo, very nice stuff, comes back to the little chorus/hook thing. The vocals get more involved towards the end, with the emphasis back on them rather than the music. Keyboard enters and the song starts to fade out, and there's your album :).
: 4 / 5 Definetly worth checking out if you're into pop rock with a retro feeling and groovey atmosphere. Not incredibly original, but it isn't meant to be. It's a good CD to kick back an chill out to, and well recommended for that purpose. Shows the bands variety with tracks such as The Best Of Times, Part 2
, which is a track that acoustic fans would do well to check out.