United Progressive Fraternity - Planetary Overload Part I - Loss

Led by great singer Mark Trueack (Unitopia), who's voice is in my opinion a cross between Chris Thompson and Guy Garvey, the band further consist of Steve Unruth (violin, guitars, flute, vocals), Mark Franco (bass), Joe Toscano (drums), Marek Arnold (sax), Matthew Atherton (synths), Dan Mash (bass),Christophe Lebled (keys), Cornel Wilczek (orchestration). Again loads of guest appearances on the album by the likes of Michel St-Père (Mystery), Jon Davison (Glass Hammer/Yes), Nick Magnus (Steve Hackett), Michelle Young (Glass Hammer), Hasse Fröberg (Flower Kings), Steve Hackett, Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and many, many others. 

The album comes with a bonus CD, with different mixes and remixes from their previous album "Fall In Love With The World". Total playing time for both album is nearly 2 hours. We stick to the basic album for this review however.

The first part Phase One 'Dawning on Us' consist of 4 individual songs with spoken words on the first song, "Loss Anthem", from a.o. Sir David Attenborough, warning us of the imminent Climate Change, with flute by Steve Unruth and the angelic voice of Jon Davidson and is a nice opener for what is to come. After that introduction the band asked themselves "What Happens Now". Strong words: "Look at Nothing We Have Done", in other words "look in the mirror and what have you done?". A strong and heavy song with Mark Trueack at his best. "Cruel Times" is the 3rd song from the first chapter taking on rising water levels in our oceans and seas, stating "We are the ones who can make this right", again beautifully sung by Mark Trueack, backed by Lisa Wetton and Hasse Froberg, with some nice jazzy and folk intervals. Quite an Anthem clocking over 8 minutes. The last song of part one is called "What Are Doing To Ourselves", strong lyrics again "While the first World will find solutions where the third World would have to pay". All set in a marimba setting. "Is there anyway to getting through?", again some words from Sir David Attenborough at the end about public enemy number one: "PLASTIC".

"Stop Time" marks the beginning of the second phase of this album called "Destraction and Destruction" about Global Warming, plastic waste, in general. It has a bit of King Crimson feeling to it. Message clear and understood. "One More" is a ballad with nice guitar and violin and the strong voice of Mark Trueack asking the question "What Happens Now?" (The Economy is more important than the air that we breathe). "Mercanaries" is the most heavy song on the album. Goes to show that we are led to believe that everything is gonna be alright. Is it? Anothe ballad follows "What If" only guitar and sax and vocals, asking the question "If we could live in peace following" when a child asks his father "What are we doing to ourselves". "Forgive Me My Son" starts with guns blazing (literaly). A war song. One cross, one flag, one goal, once choise. Strong lyrics again, reading throught the lines, "what's the point of it all?".

Phase III “Growing”  starts with "Dying to be Reborn", which is probably the most "radio friendly" track on the album. Again strong lyrics "Die just in this world, until the mind is reborn". Can we do and will we be able to do it all over and do a better job, is my interpretation. What follows is the Opus on this album, clocking just under 20 minutes, and UPF is on its finest on this one. "Seeds For Life" includes the full staff on this album (Steve Hackett does a nice acoustic guitar solo) and leads us to the polution of the earth by large scale farming objects leading to agricultural problems. If the other tracks on this album did not get you wondering, this one certainly will. (We will bury our own World, stands out in the lyrics) Some nice brass sections, in this song, layered with synths, guitars and violin. The final song" of Phase III is "Loss To Lost" bears a message "Time to change the way we think, and it's staring us in the face" 

Wonderful artwork by Ed Unitsky by the way!  

Final conclusion: a truly formidable album by these Aussies. Looking forward to Part II.

Rating 4,8 out of 5  

Review: Jens Bertjens © 2019