The Dream Complete is a gold plated deluxe reissue of the now defunct Australian outfit Unitopia's first album, Scenes From A Dream, originally issued in 2005. It seems thatkeyboard player Sean Timms and lead singer Mark Trueack have reconciled enough to put this package of unfinished business in place, and even write an original song together, although any further collaboration as Unitopia seems unlikely at present. This edition, remastered by Timms and Matt Williams, who provided guitars to the band's subsequent albums consists of the original album, plus a host of remixes, bonus tracks, dance versions and some new material. And if that sounds like a lot, wait until you hear it.
In truth there is so much going on in these three discs worth of material, that it is an amazing achievement to maintain so much quality from start to finish. Musical ideas flow so thick and fast that it is unlikely that anyone could sit through the lot and not find something to like. I'm not normally much of a fan of the bonus track syndrome, having sat through far too many filler tracks that should never have seen light outside the studio, or a music historian's library. It would be easy to dismiss this as a desk clearing effort, but that is not the case, much more a parting gift to those who admired the work, from one of Australia's finest musical products the first time around.
There is indeed much to admire, from the sweeping orchestral arrangements, through stunning keyboard work and in the end the sheer diversity of the enterprise. At its core is an eco-warrior's awakening and a warning. Time is running out for this flying ashtray, people are too self-absorbed or sedated by the media to see what's going on, we have to act before it's too late. The scope is cinematic and frequently drifts into Broadway, complete with a chorus of South Sea Islanders and a female lead solo ballad thrown in for good measure. The talent is exuberant and undeniable, the message is irrefutable. The questions are rhetorical. Yes, there are a lot of rhetorical questions and a lot of sermonising. Sometimes it's better to leave the odd bit on the cutting room floor, and Unitopia, for all their talent can be guilty of a certain degree of incontinence when it comes to underlining the message. Time is running out for Planet Earth,' they sing and cue the ticking clock effect. Ironically we are told that The Music won't last,' and yet it is hard to believe in this weighty offering. This being the case and the message already thickly laid on, a cynic might question why spend resources repeating the message three times in multiple formats, and a fan might reply that since no-one seems to be listening, it's worth repeating in as many formats as it takes.
Fans again will be delighted to see the inclusion of rarities on CD3, notably the epic, if clunkily titled Decameron Date 6 Tale 9, taken from yet another mammoth project. This track alone might persuade the discerning listener to pay a visit to the retailer of their choice and also provides a diversion from the core Dream project which, for all it's musical fecundity and brightness, never really develops into much of interest thematically, beyond its worthy message. The Dream is 'Complete' not just in the sense of 'The Full Work', but also 'Finished', a point underlined by placing the one new song The Dream Complete right at the very end. This is a fitting sign off, and marks the end of Utopia with some style, but also brings home that it was probably right to seek new directions.
*** Andrew Cottrell
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