One of the albums I ran into through the great community around House of Prog is Fall In Love With the World, by United Progressive Fraternity (UPF).
Fall In Love With The World
A line up consisting of former members of Unitopia and The Tangent, give this band has a solid musical base, and it shows on this album. An album that carries a message that was also brought forward by Unitopia earlier - we should take better care of our planet. A broad subject that affects us all and is high the agenda of UPF. This shows in the lyrics, all centered around this theme, each track in its own way.
Opening track is the film music like We only get one world. The album contains a lot of heavy progressive rock, driven by guitars and keyboards. Still, the band has left a lot of room for quieter parts and other instruments as well.
Best proof of this, because it fills about 25% of the album by itself, is the 22 minute epic in 7 movements, Travelling Man (The story of Eshu). This track contains well executed saxophone and (sax-)flute solo's, but also driving guitars and wailing keyboards. To me, the best part of this track, and maybe even the album is the combination of the 3rd and 4th movement here. The former contains an almost marching beat, on top of which the vocals, keyboards and guitar interleave with each other like on early 70s Genesis tracks. It transfers almost seemlessly into the second, which moves from a heavy guitar driven part into a middle eastern feel and then suddenly introduces a violin that shows how well violins and guitars can rock together.
The Water is also an 'ear-catcher', that contains backing vocals and vocal effects recorded by Jon Anderson - making UPF singer and producer Mark Trueack a very happy man, according to the liner notes. The driving beat of this track makes it really work. The acoustic guitar based alternative mix that is included as a bonus is also not bad, but lacks a bit of that drive.
In Choices, Don't look back - turn left and Religion of war, the band manages to mix slightly pop rock choruses with just the musical complexity to make rock into progressive rock. The interplay between the instruments, including that aforementioned saxophone makes this into modern symphonic rock, with a catchy edge.
Surprisingly, the least appealing track to me on this album is the title track, Falling in love with the world. The track is based around an acoustic guitar, with other instruments playing around it in the same way as on the rest of the album. However, the track lacks a bit of power, not in the least due to the very low tempo of the vocals. Not a bad track, but nowhere near for example Travelling man.
Overall, I am pleasantly happy with this album, and the way it UPF combines old school symphonic rock with modern sounds and instrumentation. Some tracks, like Don't look back and Religion of war and certainly The Water are actually good material for getting the band air play on rock radio stations around the world and the internet.
More than worth buying for sure!