From the ashes of Australian prog outfit Unitopia emerges the United Progressive Fraternity. While the name communicates the purpose of the band, it’s a bit too political-sounding for me. It also sounds like a bit like Billy Sherwood’s project, The Prog Collective. I half expected Sherwood to show up on “Fall in Love with the World,” but he is nowhere to be found.
Still, UPF have many things going for them. The core is former members of Unitopia, including lead vocalist Mark Trueack who has one of the richest voices in prog. There’s nothing Mark can’t sing and make sound amazing. “Fall in Love with the World” has all the elements of an Unitopia album, along with special guests like Jon Anderson on “The Water” and Steve Hackett on the 21-plus-minute epic “Travelling Man.”
The key to this album is the strength of the songs themselves. Though this is a Prog album, it is NOT about showing how well they can play. Instead, the band pays closer attention to melody and catchy choruses. Anderson sings the refrain on “The Water” and you will remember it after one listen. Equally earworm-worthy is the chorus on “Intersection.”
It would not been out of line for “Fall in Love with the World” to be labeled a Unitopia album. There are four key members from that band and the album itself sounds like an edgier version of that band. Adding Guy Manning to the mix does help out with the songs, but overall this is very much about Mark’s voice and the band backing him with solid playing. Does the album redefine progressive music? No. But it does make for repeated enjoyable listens.