Unitopia - More Than A Dream - The Dream Complete

Unitopia – More Than a Dream: The Dream Complete

Unitopia are one of the finest bands to come out of Australia, formed by Mark Trueack and Sean Timms in the late Nineties, they surrounded themselves with like minded musicians, releasing their debut More Than a Dream in 2005. This was self released in Australia and later appeared on Canadian label Unicorn Digital in 2007. This was followed by The Garden in 2008 and the highly acclaimed Artificial in 2010. They also released an album of covers of songs which had inspired them, called Covered Mirror Vol.1, before the band broke up.

This release is a remaster of their debut album with bonus tracks, accompanied by two further discs, one containing remixes and reworkings of the album and the other a collection of extras. Over all it’s a nice package in a fold out cardboard case which includes a 24 page booklet full of track notes, instrument lists and a selection of photographs. This album demonstrates clearly the foundations of the band’s sound, upon which they built for their next two albums.

I have been a follower of Unitopia since their successful appearance at the Summer’s End festival in 2010, with their brand of symphonic styling coupled with great melody and catchy rhythms, the band often use thought provoking topics for their songs: environmental issues, political and social upheaval. So it came as a surprise to me that there was a further album out there released before the two I was familiar with. I am unable to compare this remaster with the original version as I don’t have that, but suffice to say the sound quality is excellent; the balance between all of the instruments and Mark’s voice is very good, everything sounds sharp and precise.

The album itself is supported by two bonus tracks. With more of a pop feel to it, Unitopia was recorded for the album but did not make the final cut. There is a Place has a Gabriel/Bush feel to the delivery, written by Sean in 1999 as a commission by Flinders University Research Centre it also failed to make the album, but is an interesting inclusion here. The album starts on the bright and positive notes of Common Goal, the stall set out with lush arrangements, Mark’s voice clear and on good form. The longest track, at twelve minutes, is Justify, with a great catchy guitar riff there’s an excellent ebb and flow, and towards the end some lovely cello with Mark’s daughter Holly providing a beautifully haunting child soprano. On Take Good Care the band used the Adelaide Art Orchestra to perform the opening prelude, things then shift to an almost tribal feel before Mark’s vocals join in; a beautiful and well presented song. This was the first song that Mark and Sean wrote together, originally with a different chorus in a version which is presented on disc 2. Personally I prefer this version but it is interesting to see how it developed.

Disc Two contains the remixes and reworkings of the original album, Sean and guitarist Matt Weaver providing these takes. The most noticeable thing is that the first three tracks have a harder edge, but again I do prefer the originals. This is an interesting collection of songs, offering a different perspective on the album, there is much to like but personally I think it is hard to improve on the originals and I would probably return to the album versions before this disc nearly every time.

Now Disc Three offers a more interesting selection of extras, the dance mixes of There’s a Place, Common Goal and Fate aside, which for me offer nothing of interest. The first two tracks are taken from Collosus Project albums which Unitopia contributed tracks to. The Outsider was originally released on The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft in 2013 while Decameron, Day 6, Tale 9, from Decameron: Ten Days in 100 Novellas, Pt 2 is an epic at twenty minute. It start with an early Genesis feel before settling down into what we recognise as the Unitopia sound. The previously unreleased track Haunted Storm is my favourite here, a track that deserved to be on an album somewhere so I am glad it has finally appeared. Also included are two unreleased demos from 1996 of This Life and Time For Change. To complete the set, Unitopia have written a new song, The Dream Complete which is a fitting swan song for the band to close this part of their musical journey.

This is a well put together package, including a mix of extra stuff which should provide interest to the fans. The main album is an excellent debut, and is probably going to be an essential purchase for those familiar with the band. For those new to Unitopia, you start here and are in for a treat as the following two albums keep getting better.

Disc One – More Than A Dream

01. Common Goal (4:37)
02. Fate (4:57)
03. Justify (12:53)
04. Take Good Care (8:36)
05. Ride (3:44)
06. More Than a Dream (5:43)
07. Slow Down (8:10)
08. Lives Go ‘Round (6:31)
09. Still Here (6:36)
10. Unitopia (bonus track) (4:22)
11. There’s a Place (bonus track) (5:01)

Time – 71:10

Disc two – Remixes and Re-workings
01. Common Goal (Matt re-work) (3:40)
02. Fate (Matt’s re-work) (5:10)
03. Justify (Matt’s re-work) (11:15)
04. Take Good Care (original demo with Alternate chorus) (6:20)
05. Ride (Sean’s re-work) (7:30)
06. Ride (extended 321 mix) (4:58)
07. More Than a Dream (Sean’s re-work) (4:55)
08. Slow Down (Sean’s remix) (8:10)
09. Lives Go ‘Round (Sean’s remix) (6:30)
10. Still Here (Matt’s re-work) (5:34)
11. Still Here (Sean’s re-work) (9:38)

Time – 73:40

Disc three – Extras
01. The Outsider (originally released on The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft) (11:50)
02. Decameron Day 6 Tale 9 (originally released on Decameron: Ten Days in 100 Novellas, Pt.2) (20:08)
03. Haunted Storm (previously unreleased) (6:40)
04. Ride (Dance mix) (5:52)
05. There’s a Place (Dance mix) (5:38)
06. Common Goal (Dance mix) (3:54)
07. Fate (Dance mix) (6:30)
08. This Life (1996 unreleased demo) (4:00)
09. Time For a Change (1996 unreleased demo) (4:27)
10. The Dream Complete (New song written especially for this release) (5:13)

Time – 74:12

Total Time – 3:39:02

Sean Timms – Keyboards, Programming, Prophet 5, Hammond, Piano, Minimoog, Mandolin, Banjo, Percussion
Mark Trueack – Lead & Backing Vocals
Matt Weaver – Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals (track 2)
~ With:
Paul Fisher – Guitar (track 1)
Steve Portolesi – Bass (tracks 1 & 10)
Kevin Sugars – Drums (track 1)
Robbie Chenoweth – Trumpet (tracks 1 & 10)
Mike Stewart – Soprano & Tenor Saxophone (tracks 9,10 & 11)
Nick Mulder – Trombone (tracks 1 & 10)
Pat Schirripa – Guitar (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 & 10)
Con Delo – Bass (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 & 9)
Brad Polain – Drums (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 & 10)
Ian “Polly” Politis – Backing vocals
Neusa Georgiou – Backing Vocals
Paul Fisher – Guitar (track 10)
Craig James – Guitar (track 4)
Rod Enis – Trumpet, French Horn (tracks 6,7,9 & 10)
Kris Guglielmucci – Acoustic & Electric Guitar (tracks 8 & 10)
Steve Todd – Percussion (track 9)
Jacqui Walkden – Cello (track 3)
Holly Trueack – Child Soprano (track 3)
Adelaide Art Orchestra conducted by Timothy Sexton (track 4)

Record Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalogue#: GEPCD1057
Country of Origin: Australia
Date of Release: 23rd October 2017

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