Image: William the Conquerer
Released March 5th 2021, ‘Maverick Thinker‘ is a bluesy rock explosion that translates multiple facets of the ever-present genre into ten tracks – each with its own intent and a personality. The album was recorded at Los Angeles’ legendary Sound City Studios just before the world was sent into lockdown in March last year, not before William The Conqueror managed to perfect a blend of nostalgic blues with clean, modern rock production to produce an album that feels like an American summer road trip in musical form.
Rather than simply replicate a timeless sense of the boogie-woogie blues, William The Conqueror has managed to elevate things to a new level of relevancy, aided by the whole album sounding crisp and purposeful. The album kicks off the show with Move On, which acts as a perfect introduction to what the rest of ‘Maverick Thinker’ has to offer. Deep smokey vocals drive the rhythmic instrumental, harmonies adding moments of light to the overall moody sounding track, all leading to an energetic build-up followed by a fuzzy guitar lead. The song has grit, an atmospheric start and finish, and firmly establishes a darker context that the album uses throughout. The darker tone not only works well with the musical soundscape, but it also effortlessly melds with the themes and lyrical prowess at work.
A true highlight of the collection is Quiet Life, which was released as a single for a good reason when the album was first announced. Projecting more of an alternative country ballad, the track gives the album a breather whilst offering a showcase of William The Conqueror‘s diverse talent. Though it differs in overall style, the same nostalgic energy is weaved from the word go, connecting it well to the rest of the album without sounding out of place among the harsher tracks.
‘Maverick Thinker’ closes out on the title track. The six-and-a-half-minute song doesn’t waste a single second of its run time, painting a vivid story with a decadent vocal performance and excellent acoustic accompaniment. It rounds out the album on a softer note, providing an almost cinematic climax that never feels forced or rushed. With other tracks providing a roughness required when producing music in the rock-blues style, the title track marks the storytelling that often follows the genre in a modernised interpretation. It’s another highlight and a brilliant end to the musical journey.
Overall, William The Conqueror’s ‘Maverick Thinker’ explores many facets of a rock-blues, alt-country fusion in a cohesive, stylised way. It is a solid example of how set genres don’t need to exist anymore and how elements of various styles not only compliment but mesh well with each other. If you’re looking for an album to score going back to your favourite dive bar, drinking in a park on a summers night or gathering around a beach campfire with friends to retell the tales of lockdown, you may have just found it.