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…And out of the ashes of Unitopia arises the phoenix named United Progressive Fraternity (UPF), a Mark Trueack led band. Surrounding Mark are some familiar faces from Unitopia as well as two well-known special guests – Steve Hackett and Jon Anderson. The menagerie does not stop there as Ian Richie, Guy Manning, Steve Unrah, Claire Vezina, Guillermo Cides, Brittany and Holly Trueack, Jonathan Barrett and Steve Layton all are involved with UPF’s debut album, Fall in Love With the World – an album that takes listeners on a musical journey that brings forth questions of the current state of the world’s environment.
We Only Get One World works as the overture to Fall in Love With the World as the first few measures bring to mind an opening sequence to a science-fiction series – my ears hear Earth: Final Conflict. The introduction is as lush as you might expect from this well-crafted team of musicians. Backing vocals add to the sumptuous tones. A vocal “one world,” becomes more and more audible as though our lead is emerging from an other-worldly portal.
Choices We Made, an 8-minute track, illustrates what a great ride musically and emotionally we are on listening to this album. The soulful voice of Mark and the brass accompaniment from Marek Arnold set the tone for the environmentalist slant that takes shape as the album progresses. The song Water is foreshadowed here. The apex of this song occurs at the 5:10 mark where the sense of spinning has only been captured as well for me in the past by Genesis’s The Cage.
Intersection begins an implied trilogy of songs questioning listeners as they ask the question of “How Long?”
The Water, a song that has taken on many incarnations, has been refined for this album and features Jon Anderson on backing vocals. Mark’s native Australia has been suffering from more and more droughts and this is a song that resonates with many – not just Australians.
Don’t Look Back, Turn Left has taken a small amount of inspiration from the Doctor Who episode of a similar name (season 4 episode 11). This song is the second track on the album that infers an intersection and a choice must be made in order to save the planet.
Travelling Man (The Story of Eshu) is a 22-minute neo-prog epic full of interesting changes. Eshu is the morally ambiguous sprit of Chaos and Trickery on the roads and crossroads. This incarnation of Eshu seems to be full of trickery as the lyrics reference, “deceptive points of view lead to disarray… fool us time and time again…, another wrong direction” The crossroad is the third reference to the intersection of choices that must be made if we are, “going to take care of the planet”. Eshu then taunts the listener with the words “What if it never happened?” The tension builds at the 10:30 mark. Steve Unrah plays a spiccato passage with his violin to underscore the tension ultimately leading to the song’s resolution.
Fall in Love with the World is a just that – a love song to our planet. It is a pop song with wonderful melodies. Guy Manning’s mandolin harkens to Venice and Styx’s Boat on the River.
Overall, UPF puts forth a thought-provoking musically-rich album that shines as the band’s debut offering. The album’s themes tie together well both musically and lyrically and grow more compelling upon each listen.
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