John Zdrojeski steps out of his shell with his new full length release Misters. We are already big fans of his past releases, and his 2019 song Madness is one of our favorite discoveries. Misters shows an emphatic evolution that recalls the trajectory of David Bowie.
In the spirit of Bowie and the era of the album, Misters centers around a concept and involves characters and a connected narrative. The artist offers that it was inspired by Dante’s Inferno and updated to our modern times. The story might set up a potential Musical companion. Regardless, the collection effectively showcases John’s dynamic writing ability. Furthermore, it offers some proper upbeat material for him to embrace his star potential. Zdrojeski is a showman. It’s heard in the songs first proper glam freak out, the energetic and reckless O Rock N’Roll. A Brooklyn based artist, the decadence of the big city shows its influence on this intense anthem.
The subsequent Devil You Know I is a brooding build with dark roots. Zdrojeski has a flair for the theatrical, but this is more of a tease than a full deliver. The big drop never comes. That anticlimactic jest is all apart of the appeal. A sentiment of great art.
The glam-inspired Rock and Roll fever returns on Brad’s Drunk Interview. A jiving composition with the spirit of classic Elton John dressed in glam rock arrangement known to Mott The Hoople. The style suits John, a dynamic performer with one foot in theater and another in Rock.
Daryl, Elea’s Ex adds to the collective narrative. A sneaky Americana jam, we hear the history of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Its calling moment comes in the closing section, featuring a bar style chant meant to be pull the audience into a live show.
Zdrojeski reaffirms his new Rock adaptation on Fragile. As if Rock is his salvation, he conjures deep demons, digging into a low growling register in contrast to his primary melodic delivery.
Devil You Know II has the most in common to 2019’s Primitive. Big harmonies and an indie folk spirit linger beneath its presentation. On the surface there’s still evidence of glams evolution, recalling acoustic offerings by Guns and Roses or Extreme, bands that usually rock but smartly featured the acoustics to show their sensitive side and appeal to a new audience. It resulted in some of their best and most timeless work.
That blues rock fever comes back with the breakout Candy. Updated with indie flair, we hear evidence of Dawes and Drive By Truckers mixed into its classic rock influence.
A T Rex style stomp ready beat kicks off Snake Oil Strongman. A chance for John to embellish another Glam style character, fit for a costume change with props and dancers to boot.
With the crowd to their feet the stage clears for the soliloquy of unnamed. The band returns for the songs second half. John’s flair for the cinematic and theatrical bring big show potential.
Never to be redundant, he brings out the banjo for the revelatory Devil You Know III. John warps again into another vibrant character meant for a movie.
Spoon-Fed Jack embraces that same ethos. It’s all a setup for the big finale that is Battle of the Bands… in the Rain. The albums triumph, it recalls the anthemic appeal of Born to Run era Springsteen. It’s about hope, perseverance, and the beauty beneath the suffering. This is a moment for John, but the albums true closer, Looking Up and Out, is a reflective moment for everyone. He reinstates that the audience is in fact part of the show.
John Zdrojeski knows how to cite the magic of Broadway and theater without losing the essence of his songs. Without a doubt, Misters is meant to support an intense live show, offered to reconnect you to these songs after you’ve been made a believer in concert. It’s a solid album in its own right, but also an incredible offering from a musical visionary, one who knows that the duality of the eccentric and contemporary musical genius needs new heroes.