Zen Rock and Roll – Undone

Zen Rock and Roll – Undone

It hasn’t been so long since I added Zen Rock and Roll and noted that Jonathan Saunders no longer had much of a web presence. I assumed he had moved on to other pursuits, but apparently it has been health issues that prevented him from creating new music. My impression is that these are now resolved, at least enough for Saunders to complete a new Zen Rock and Roll album, released yesterday, and entitled Undone.

To my ears, this album is more symphonic prog-pop than the previous albums, which while having some pop aspects, were really more symphonic prog. By this I mean there are standard song structures with very heavy emphasis on the lyrical content. In some ways it recalls Thomas Dolby‘s early work, with vocals and synthesizers, including innovative synth sounds.

The exception to this is the nearly 15-minute instrumental epic “Concerto for the Original Sinners”. This piece is mostly synth-orchestra, complete with string machines and overdubbed faux-brass and woodwind sections, but also with some Queen-like guitar multitracking. It’s an ambitions piece that nearly lives up to its ambition, despite a couple of sections that get dull due to maybe one too many variations on the theme before moving on. Still, not bad.

For my taste, I liked End of the Age and The Birthright Circle more than Undone, though Undone certainly has its moments. I found the lyrics to be a bit depressing, which felt strange juxtaposed against the sunny, bouncy, almost dance-able music. But you might not be bothered by this. So head over to the Zen Rock and Roll‘s web site (link below) to check out some samples and decide for yourself. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Zen Rock and Roll‘s web site
Click here for the Zen Rock and Roll Facebook page
Click here to order all Zen R&R titles from ProgRock Records

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