Can a trio made up of three relatively obscure musicians be called a “supergroup”? If fame is the main criteria for that title, perhaps not. But if we’re talking musical merit, then Pinnick Gales Pridgen is about as “super” as they come.
A grouping of three African-American hard rockers, PGP is noteworthy on a variety of levels—as a debut from a promising new group, as a new chapter in the careers of three very able and experienced musicians, and as trio in which both the guitarist and bassist are left-handed players. But PGP is especially noteworthy for its content—a heavy, heady mind trip that finds these three gifted musicians crafting a sound that’s at once a throwback to 60s/70s power-trio psychedelia, and also vital and current.
With their pedigrees (dUg Pinnick is the bassist and lead vocalist for long-running Texas trio King’s X; Eric Gales is a blues-rock guitarist best known for The Eric Gales Band; and Thomas Pridgen formerly was the drummer for The Mars Volta), it’s no big surprise the main influence here is Jimi Hendrix. One of King’s X’s biggest songs ever was their cover of “Manic Depression”, and Gales currently does gigs of all Hendrix material. But there are other influences felt here, including Cream, Rush and The Police—and even more modern references such as Tool.
PGP is pure old-school power trio fun. All of the songs on the band’s debut are their own compositions, save for a heavy cover of Cream classic “Sunshine of Your Love.” Standout songs include the Hendrix-meets-Sly Stone “Hang On, Big Brother”, the funked-up “Angels and Aliens”, the melodic “Me and You” (probably the most King’s X-like song here), and the extended slow blues jam “Been So High (The Only Place to Go is Down)”, which clocks in at over 10 minutes.
Pinnick and Gales share lead vocals (at times it’s hard to tell, due to the similarities of their voices), but it’s Gales who dominates the proceedings instrumentally. His slinky, acrobatic guitar leads are all over the place, and his distorted power chords are thick and crunchy. If there’s any justice, this album will make him the guitar star he’s always deserved to be. He’s that damn good.
Sonically, the original late 60s recordings of Hendrix are the obvious role model here. Pinnick’s slinky bass sometimes gets buried under all of the layers of guitars—that’s a shame, because he’s a standout bassist (and by the way, do yourself a favor and check out King’s X, one of the best and most criminally unrecognized rock bands out there). Pridgen is a very able, busy drummer, and his energetic style only distracted me at one point in the CD—during the aforementioned “Sunshine of Your Love” cover, where he starts doing an off-time drum solo right in the middle of the song. I found this impressive, but out of place—it completely took me out of the deep groove the band was cooking up here. Otherwise, his playing—reminiscent of Mitch Mitchell’s legendary work with the Jimi Hendrix Experience—fits this stuff like a glove.
Pinnick Gales Pridgen is a big-sounding, fully realized debut of a stellar band made up of three stellar talents. Let’s hope this trio continues with its mission, carrying the flame for power-trio greatness as it forges its own sound from this very solid foundation
Check out the video for “Hang On, Big Brother” here.Buy Pinnick Gales Pridgen on Amazon