Utah Saints


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Two, Utah Saints' second official album, is the result of a nine-year layoff that was this close to retirement by techno terms. In 1992, Utah Saints' self-titled debut was one of the year's most exciting dance releases. Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt's anthems boomed out with the exuberance of copyright liberation, but their unreleased second album was permanently bricked up by ffrr for copyright violation. Album three got a release, but even so, Utah Saints wouldn't have cobbled these 5,000 edits together just for money. They must have wanted the prestige and public presence of the Prodigy, if not Moby. What the duo lacks is Liam Howlett or Moby's vision -- and work ethic. There's something a little potheaded about Utah Saints: they have no brutality or elegy in them and they distract easily. And what they've delivered is -- a Moby album. The biggest difference between the debut and Two is that the new stuff partakes of Moby's dynamics: the pulverizer versus the piano. Admittedly, the vocals don't work well. Chuck D adds zilch to "Power to the Beats"; Michael Stipe sounds more like Andy Warhol all the time on "Rhinoceros," while Willis' putdowns of night-lifers in "Sick" aren't funny. But mindless repetition does eventually bloom into full identity, though it will take concentration. You'll enjoy discovering goofs like the flute riffs hidden within "Morning Sun" or the six-note guitar cascade of "Three Simple Words." Cut down Utah Saints' remake of Edwin Starr's 1973 hit "Funky Music" as a pale shadow of the debut's steamrolling "I Want You" if you must, but it's the comparison between the impact of an 18-wheeler and an 18-wheeler on a 90-degree grade. "Lost Vagueness" is Utah Saints' "Porcelain." Hear also the hammering bass and drums of "Love Song" -- good ole days revisited. If the buzz from Play has worn out, here's a terrific continuation. The 2000 single "Rock" isn't included, by the way.

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