|United Progressive Fraternity - ‘Fall In Love With The World’ (InsideOut Music)|
|Written by Michael Anthony|
|Monday, 05 January 2015 03:20|
The United Progressive Fraternity, or UPF, is the brainchild of vocalist Mark ‘Truey’ Treuack, who, from the ashes of Aussie proggers Unitopia, wished to create a “band for the people”, a kind of prog rock “collective” which allows anyone with something to share and contribute to step forward and join the merry throng.
Nice idea, yes? In practice, I’m not sure he’s got too much of a Fraternity thing going on yet. The very earnest ‘The Water’ is a collaboration with Jon Anderson, and the standing band are also joined by Guy Manning (Manning, The Tangent), Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, Seven Steps To The Green Door) and Dan Mash (The Tangent, Maschine), but that aside, UPF very much appears to be a developing concept and something of a work in progress.
That said, the consistency of the core line-up – which also features former Unitopians Matt Williams (guitar), Dave Hopgood (drums) and Tim Irrgang (percussion) – is reflected in the consistent sound and ‘familiar’ feel of the music.
Opener ‘Overture’ is compelling and hints at a musical ambition that in truth is only occasionally fully realised in what follows. When the band do push the boat out, it’s impressive. Check out the rousing instrumental section of ‘Choices’, for example, or the aggressive tempo change at around the five minute mark in ‘Intersection’. Most of all check out the epic ‘Travelling Man’, which at just shy of 22 minutes is undoubtedly the album’s centre piece, blending as it does ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Stargazer’ stylings with IQ and 10cc-esque sounds and melodies, and some monster riffing. Listen out too for the recurrence of melodies from ‘Choices’.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the rest of the album. ‘Fall In Love With The World’ is choc-full of mellow, easy listening prog, with strong melodies, pop sensibilities and well-intentioned lyrical themes to the fore. ‘Don’t Look Back – Turn Left’ has a cool jazz groove. The title track almost sounds like a Christmas single (I kid you not). ‘Religion of War’ is a touch darker, lyrically and musically, though remains eminently accessible.
Like a lot of classic prog albums, much attention has also been given to the artwork – here provided by Ed Unitsky, whose work has also featured on albums by The Tangent, Manning, The Flower Kings, and Unitopia.
All in all, ‘Fall in Love with the World’ is an enjoyable debut. It would be nice to think that the ranks of the UPF collective will swell over the coming year, allowing Trueack’s original concept to be pushed in new and interesting directions.
Power to the people!