Esoteric Antenna [Release date 13.04.15]
I think it’s fair to say that with the release of a new Todd Rundgren album no-one – not even his hardcore fans – quite know what to expect.
In the case of ‘Global’ Rundgren essentially continues the work he started with ‘State’ although some may bemoan the complete lack of an electric guitar. Others might simply think this synth-driven confection is just a bit too retro.
If you, like me, can tap into Rundgren’s muse and accept him for what he is – a damn creative talent who ploughs his own furrow regardless – there is much to like here. And as ever, the lyrical content is predominately, and perhaps predictably, eco- and politically aware as on ‘Fate’ and ‘This Island Earth’.
‘Soothe’ and ‘Blind’ are typical Todd vocal tour-de-force and on the latter he even allows himself the luxury of a sax-solo (Bobby Strickland) whilst ‘Earth Mother’ features a posse of lady backing vocalists including his wife Michele and Jill Sobule. The “title track” – ‘Global Nation’ – only lacks the pumping bass of ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’ or we could be back in 1984.
It’s no good fretting that this lacks some of the killer punches of an album like ‘Liars’ or ‘Arena’. It’s easy to see why an album such as this will dumbfound some listeners (and reviewers) but there is no denying the attraction of songs like ‘Flesh & Blood’, ‘Terra Firma’ and ‘Skyscraper’ (with long-time henchman Kasim Sulton) which in their execution do echo former glories and at very least maintain the undoubted quality continuum. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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