I’m very impressed with Zen Rock and Roll’s newest CD, Undone. It sounds like exactly the kind of music I’ve been searching for since my wonder years. A little Queen here, a bit of Styx there, even some more obscure favorites like City Boy, the mid-70s Mr Big and 10CC are recalled when I listen to Undone. Firmly in the Prog pocket, there’s Genesis, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson as influences as well. I don’t know if multi-talented superman instrumentalist Jonathan Saunders will ever be ultra-popular in the progressive rock community, but I love it.
Apparently Jonathan Saunders is responsible for every sound emitting from my player, and like Prince and Todd Rundgren before him has created an unparalleled masterpiece for any genre. I have not heard music like this for a long time and have truly missed it. The advanced sophisticated pop/prog that permeates this extraordinary CD is astounding. How can I not love a record that sounds at times like a Genesis/10CC hybrid. Are you kidding me? Who’s that driving up my alley?
I find Jonathan’s voice irresistible on songs like “All In the Dark” and “Antiquated Love Song.” On the latter, he reveals a musical theater background (and maybe an affinity for Freddie Mercury) in his performance. I’m not sure it’s intended, but I also hear similarities to City Boy’s Lol Mason on “At the First Glance” and 10CC’s amazing Kevin Godley at various times.
As a musician, Jonathan shines too. “Concerto for the Original Sinners” is my favorite instrumental piece on a vocally dominated album since Spock’s Beard “Skeleton At the Feast” from 2006. This sounds like a soundtrack more than a Concerto to my ears and has great Mellotron getting in, it then does a bit of a turnaround after seven minutes and drives a pulsating electronic beat when suddenly the synthesizers wash over you in symphonic glory at the end of its almost 15 minutes. Electrifying!
I could see Queen having released an album like this in their prime and the world would have gone absolutely “Radio Gaga” over it. Today this is a gem that anyone with musical curiosity will want to hear, and that’s definitely us progressive rock fans. Give Zen Rock and Roll’s Undone a listen and support Mr. Saunders’ continued activities, allowing us to enjoy his music for years to come. I know I will.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on August 18th, 2011