11 Sep 2019
Soundblab reviews The Utopia Strong
Much will be made of the fact that snooker legend Steve Davis is in The Utopia Strong. But it will come as no surprise to snooker fans or music fans (I’m both). The Nugget has long been known as a huge music fan in snooker circles and famously brought Magma over to London to play some gigs in the 80s. Music fans would have seen him pop up with increasing frequency as a DJ on the radio and at festivals and gigs. Indeed the band first met when Davis and Kavus Torabi (Gong/Cardiacs/Knifeworld/Guapo) DJed at Glastonbury in 2017 and hung out with Korabi’s Guapo band-mate, Michael York. That this is not a vanity project or novelty item for any of band is immediately apparent from playing their self-titled debut.
Emerald Tablet starts out pleasantly with bright electronic sounds. A nice guitar figure joins and it is like a lighter Tangerine Dream, but it is over too soon. There is more of a groove to Konta Chorus as the band combine sounds to build up a rhythm in much the same way as Stereolab used to. Over the electronic rhythm, Torabi layers some more guitar ideas. Again it is very light for this kind of synth-heavy music and all the better for it. It gives it a kind of hippie/pastoral feel and would fit in on The Wicker Man soundtrack. There is a bit more scene-setting on Swimmer as the synth chords build and a rhythm is added. Keyboards arpeggiate against each other and the rhythm drops out to let the synths hold sway for a minute of pretty ambience before the rhythm joins back in. Unquiet Boundary is a brief interlude of BBC Radiophonic Workshop sounds and ambient chords...
Read the rest here: Soundblab