Utopia: Todd Rundgren (vocals, guitar); John Siegler (cello, bass); Moogy Klingman, Ralph Schuckett (keyboards); M. Frog Labat (synthesizer); John Wilcox (drums); Kevin Ellman (percussion).
After achieving commercial success with the pop masterpiece SOMETHING/ANYTHING?, Todd Rundgren moved in a willfully experimental direction, a move that alienated some of his early fans. The culmination of this exploratory period in Rundgren's career was the formation of Utopia, originally a six-person band featuring an astounding three keyboardists.
TODD RUNDGREN'S UTOPIA, the band's debut, is mid-'70s progressive rock in every sense, from the tricky, fusionesque keyboard solos to the extended compositions--"The Ikon" is a staggering 30 minutes long--to the sometimes oblique and ponderous lyrical preoccupations. Nevertheless, it's better than Emerson Lake and Palmer roughly to the extent that the Beatles are better than Herman's Hermits. Rundgren's songwriting talents are in full force, and even the longest pieces have a fully composed feeling that makes this much more satisfying than the aimless noodling of many prog groups. Not for pop fans, perhaps, but excellent.