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For Oblivion, their first album for the fledgling independent Passport, Utopia merged the new wave inclinations of Utopia with their previous hard rock sensibilities. In other words, it was a bid for chart success, as the quartet attempted to revamp themselves as mainstream rockers for the mid-'90s. Even if they were sharp enough to realize that synths, arena-sized hooks and big beats were all equally popular in 1984, they didn't assemble the components in a way that sounded contemporary. Oblivion, perhaps appropriately for an album with such a title, is a record out of time, one that sounds lost in a netherworld between the '70s and '80s. The sound of the record is disconcerting, but it would have been excusable if more than two songs -- the opener "Itch In My Brain" and the excellent "Crybaby," which tries to ape Def Leppard and sounds like classic Todd -- were memorable. Following the tight, focused Utopia, the lack of strong material is troubling and, in retrospect, it's clear that this was the beginning of the end for Utopia.

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