THE UTOPIA STRONG
International Treasure (Rocket)
To this child of the 80s, the mind still boggles at the notion that Steve Davis – a six-time world champion snooker player who earned a reputation for being boring – is an enormous prog fan who, at the age of 64, is now composing his own out-there music – International Treasure being the latest release. Of course, it probably helps that his bandmates in The Utopia Strong are Kavus Torabi, former Cardiac and now de facto leader of Gong, and Michael J York, a member of Coil and professional bagpipe player.
International Treasure, their second LP for Rocket, is an immersive, ambient experience best enjoyed through good-quality headphones in the dark. Trident Of Fire sets an ominous tone, while the bucolic serenity of Shepherdess is shattered by machine percussion, drones and clanging bells. As the International Treasure reaches its climax, the title track, heavy with portent, conveys a gathering gloom that is then unexpectedly dispelled by Castalia’s bright, trippy rave-up.
words BEN WOOLHEAD
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