Todd Rundgren – Space Force: Album Review

Todd Rundgren and a star studded line up of collaborators blast off into the stratosphere.

Released: 14th October 2022

Label: Cleopatra Records

Format: CD / Vinyl / Coloured Vinyl / Digital / Cassette

When you boast the credentials that Todd Rundgren does, you can pretty much do what you want when it comes to putting music out. Anyone can put what they want out really…but few can do it like Todd can.

Space Force sees a range of tracks from a wild range of genres featuring a wild range of special guests. There are contributions from The Roots on the supremely funky and slick Godiva Girl. Questlove and co. deliver a lounge jam that is like aural silk. Rundgren sings to show off his wide vocal range with lines oozing emotion and passion. Thomas Dolby adds to the sinister sounding I’m Not Your Dog; a hypnotic bass synth line meshes the song together which builds to a catchy and cacophonous vocal from the pair.

Noise is something that Todd Rundgren has happily dealt with before on his records (see 2008’s Arena) . STFU features Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick on the gloriously profanity strewn rocker. STFU has a brilliant and simple guitar line that again is incredibly catchy. It is hard not to sing along and feel a sense of rebellion in the words.

In contrast, there is the softer Artist In Residence which features Crowded House man, Neil Finn. The slower tempo and more tender tone gainfully shows that there truly is an artist in residence on Space Force. Todd shifts effortlessly between genre and style. Another example of this lays with Espionage which features Iraqi rapper Narcy. Rap verses prevail but the shadow of previous collaborators like Lindstrøm loom heavy over the song in the electronic element. Electronics sizzle on Puzzle as well; which features King Crimson man Adrian Belew. This track opens the album and has more than a hint of David Bowie in the delivery.

Just over 50 years ago, Todd Rundgren produced Sparks’ debut album. On Space Force, the legendary LA rockers lend their hand to Your Fandango; a song that has actually been in the world for a while. The song is typically eccentric and adds to an ever growing canvas of an album. Eccentricity abounds with Todd Rundgren getting the mighty Steve Vai onboard for the final cut on the album; Eco Warrior Girl. Aesthetically, the song evokes a cinematic feel and the title could certainly add to that feeling. There are the typical guitar gymnastics you would expect and the track gives a superbly bouncy end to a brilliant record from a true master at work.

Listen to Godiva Girl with The Roots, here.

Todd Rundgren: Website / Facebook

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