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Julian's Treatment

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An early British art-rock band, Julian's Treatment released an ambitious, if overreaching, concept album (A Time Before This) in 1970. The idea of keyboardist and leader Julian J. Savarin (who wrote all of the material) was to construct an opera of sorts around an Atlantis-like lost civilization of sorts. Presented in twelve chapters, the idea went something like this: the last surviving Earthman comes to the planet Alkon, where he crosses paths with Altarra, who according to the liner notes is "the embodiment of all womanhood." That's enough to preclude this album from receiving any sort of revisionist criticism from most historians. If you don't care about the pretensions of the concept, and are just in the market for some interesting overlooked progressive rock, you may well want to give it a listen. Built around glistening keyboard lines, the songs have a perky, driving bounce that is rather atypical for the genre. The strong female vocals (by Australian Cathy Pruden, living in London at the time), kind of reminiscent of a less piercing Annisette (of Savage Rose), are also a nice change of pace for the prog-rock world. Savarin was planning to make three albums with Julian's Treatment that would comprise three installments of a science fiction trilogy. However, by the end of 1970, Julian's Treatment had broken up. Part two of this trilogy (Waiters on the Dance), credited to just to Julian J. Savarin, came out in 1973, with bassist John Dover the only other musician remaining from the Julian's Treatment lineup, although the record did feature a female vocalist, Jo Meek. Savarin then retired from the recording business to concentrate upon a career as a novelist. ~ Richie Unterberger

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