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United Progressive Fraternity - Planetary Overload: Loss

United Progressive Fraternity
Planetary Overload: Loss
by Gary Hernandez at 09 July 2019, 6:59 PM

UNITED PROGRESSIVE FRATERNITY (UPF) is not a band. They are an artistic collective working on a musical project as a means to promote an environmental and humanitarian agenda. Their recent release, “Planetary Overload: Loss,” is 12-track album which is to be followed-up at a later date with another release entitled, “Planetary Overload: Hope.” “Planetary Overload: Loss” brings together a smorgasbord of musicians tromping out a plethora of instruments (flutes, saxophones, violins, mandolins, sitar guitars, congas, kalimbas, drumkits, etc.) accompanied by a variety of lecture clips all to preach to one message—save our planet. You bundle this up with heavy doses of pedantic lyrics, and you have one tiresome album.

To be clear, saving the planet is a great goal. I’m all for it. Also, the musicians on this album are highly talented. There is no arguing the artistic pedigrees of any of the folks showcased on this album. They are flat out musical geniuses. I would not, however, ever want to see them perform any of these songs. In fact, I could barely make it through the album in my own living room. Once I am done with this review, I am calling in an exorcist to cleanse my laptop, and I’m going to play SLAYER for 666 minutes on my headphones at full volume.

The only reason for giving this album a try is if you are certain the proceeds will go to the cause the album endorses—although there may be more straight-forward ways to contribute. The other reason is if you really dig eclectic prog with an overlay of condescending lectures.

Redeeming factors? The album artwork is pretty cool. I would definitely buy a poster-sized version of it, put it in a frame, and proudly display it in my home. The production values of the album are also really good. Musically, “Loss Anthem” is probably the most tolerable track on the album. Thematically, there is a cogent storyline beginning with awareness of the issue, expanding to exploration of the consequences of those issues, and finally a promise of overcoming those issues. This “overcoming” part will be the theme of the next album which presumably offers hope in the face of the aforementioned problems, e.g. environmental and humanitarian degradation.

I wish I could offer a more positive perspective. I am sure someone out there will like this album. Your best bet is to go to the UPF website, listen to a few tracks, and judge for yourself. Good luck.

Songwriting: 1
Originality: 1
Memorability: 1
Production:  7


 

1 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Phase I: Dawning On Us
1. Loss Anthem
2. What Happens Now
3. Cruel Times
4. What Are We Doing to Ourselves

Phase II: Destraction and Destruction
5. Stop-Time
6. One More
7. Mercenaries
8. What If
9. Forgive Me My Son

Phase III: Growing
10. Dying To Be Reborn
11. Seeds For Life
12. Loss To Lost
Lineup:
Mark Trueack - Vocals
Steve Unruh - Vocals, violin, guitars, flute, slide guitar, sitar guitar, percussion, kalimba, congas, tabla, floor tom, nylon-string guitar, mandolin
Christophe Lebled - Keyboards, piano, synthesizer, soundscapes, sequences
Cornel Wilczek - Orchestration, conductor: fraternity symphonic orchestra
Daniel Mash - Bass
Matthew Atherton - Vocals, synthesizer, soundscapes
Marek Arnold - Sax
Joe Toscano - Drumkit, vocals
Mark Franco - Fretted and fretless bass, vocals
Record Label: Giant Electric Pea
     


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