‘The Rise Of The Zugebrian Timelords’ is Sananda Maitreya’s first album since 2013’s ‘Return To Zooathalon’, and, like its predecessor, mines a highly individualistic concept across its 27-track double album length.
According to the artist who was previously known as Terence Trent D’Arby, the Timelords are a group of people who are able to go back in time and destroy your past, leaving you unable to leave your mark on the world. This philosophy translates into a form of music that Maitreya has dubbed ‘post-millennium rock’ but which is more easily identified as a hybrid form of gutsy, bluesy rock.
Like most of his post-D’Arby work, ‘The Rise Of The Zugebrian Timelords’ is an entirely solo endeavour: Maitreya played everything, produced everything and his label released the album; the concept of the Timelords is completely of his own imagination, as is the desire to pack out his releases with so much music, which here includes four covers, including the energetic cover of The Beatles’ ‘You're Going To Lose That Girl’ that opens the album. At times the lack of anyone else's involvement works as something of a distraction, and you can't help but wonder what a producer, or just someone to suggest reining in the conceptual excesses, would bring to the party.
Ultimately, if you can see beyond the mystic, slightly paranoid notion that purportedly (but not obviously) ties these tracks together, what you have is a collection that serves as a reminder of just how powerful a singer Maitreya / D’Arby continues to be. His is a vocal that is immediately recognisable, fusing soul, jazz and blues styles effortlessly together; capable of delivering howling, emotionally fraught missives as well as tender, angst-ridden balladry riven with bluesy warmth and wild edges.
In his recent interview for THIS IS NOT RETRO Maitreya indicates that the concept philosophy for his next, presumably equally vast collection has already formed in his mind. For now let's ignore that and deal with reality, not abstractions: so long as his vocal continues to retain the impressive quality that made his mark on the popular music of the 1980s so distinctive, Maitreya need never worry about a bunch of time-travelling crazies reaching back into the past and erasing his contributions from popular memory.
VOLUME 1 - You're Going to Lose That Girl / Blanket On The Ground / The Marriage of Nigaro / Giraffe / Zugebrian Blues / Les Paul Man (Love Is Love) / I'm Not Angry (I'm Just Mean) / They Went Back In Time & Killed Robert Johnson / Never Trust A Man Like Me / Mr. Casanova / Apologize To Her / I Wanna Breathe / Snowglobia / Paradise Postponed. VOLUME 2 - Andiamo Tutti A Casa / The Birds Are Singing / If I Fell / Siamo Qui / Metamorpheus / Yes You! / Allergic / It's Yours / Jamaica Blue / We Can All Go Home / I'll Be Back / Paradise Postponed Prelude / Body & Soul
'The Rise Of The Zugebrian Timelords, Parts 1 & 2' was released on Oxctober 9th 2015 on CD, Vinyl and Digital Download.
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