Rock Review

D.D Dumbo: now you’ll believe that an Aussie can fly (artistically, at any rate)

Title: Utopia Defeated

Label: 4AD

There’s a distinct atmosphere of the 80s about this one. A slight new wave pop feel, maybe? Quite edgy, angular and playful but upbeat and, at times, relying on a meaty bass line (there are Level 42-esque beat and rhythm constructions here too) to add drive and movement. Fronted by and early version of Sting, perhaps? The similarity in the delivery is quite uncanny.

Behind all of this is one Oliver Hugh Perry who can handle a mean 12-string guitar with a range of effects pedals added to expand his sonic palette. Perry himself stems from Victoria in Australia and produces some beautifully melodic songs. Satan (already a single release and worth the price of the LP all on its own) is a real highlight here, you tend to move your body in sympathy to the music whether you really want to or not.

Apparently recorded in a shed, this music throws in a bit of art pop the reaches out to Talking Heads while sprinkling exotica like the Mellotron into the mix.

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Reading the above, you might think that this album is nothing but a sad pastiche of 80s pop and should be avoided at all costs. The outlook is in that direction, yes, but Perry infuses a series of rhythmic combinations that brings in World music influences that add a new and interesting dimension to his music. As if he’s been listening to early Peter Gabriel solo albums.

A rather unexpected release for 4AD and one that is well mastered being open and neutral. I would never have guessed that this music would stem from this label – this airy and well produced LP takes you on a lyrical adventure that adds an element of irreverence but also mystery and wonder.

‘I saw a UFO, on a horse in Mexico/In the lonely night time, where my dog died.’

You can’t see Sting verbalising that one can you, eh?

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