[Esoteric Antenna/Cherry Red]

Following a recent release that delved into hard rock, fearsome blues and radically redefined versions of seminal songs he produced for others, State finds Rundgren testing his parameters yet again. Chameleon-like by nature, Rundgren revisits the synthesized setups and exotic experimentation that once marked his work with Utopia and later colored solo albums like The Individualist and Nearly Human. “I am high / That’s what I tell myself,” Rundgren intones on ominous opener “Imagination,” and given the percussive frenzy and ethereal effects that dominate the album, that psychedelic feeling can be easily explained. Nearly every song boasts electronic elements, nodding more to Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Berlin-era Bowie than to the relentless rockers and sublime ballads of his early work. Only “Ping Me” finds him practicing his trademark wail, singing in his upper register with melodic instincts intact. Somewhat erratic, occasionally out of sync, State is one of Rundgren’s more unusual offerings yet. –Lee Zimmerman


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