Album of the Week 11-2013: Pinnick Gales Pridgen – Pinnick Gales Pridgen

My apologies for being a day late with last week’s album, but my internet provider decided to cut me off completely yesterday. Naturally, there is an album of the week and it’s a brand new debut album this time. As a big fan of King’s X and Doug Pinnick’s soulful gospel trained voice in particular, I tend to check out every project he takes part in – does anyone remember Reb Beach’s The Mob? – so naturally, when I heard about the project he started with former The Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen and guitar prodigy Eric Gales, I needed to hear it. This may very well be Pinnick’s best non-King’s X release yet.

Former Shrapnel label boss Mike Varney apparently arranged this project and an often heard comparison is Hendrix’ ‘Band Of Gypsys’ record. While I doubt if this comparison had been made if at least one of the musicians was not African American, the comparison is very fitting for the way the songs are built up. Like on ‘Band Of Gypsys’, the songs on ‘Pinnick Gales Pridgen’ are fairly simple in structure, but often turn out quite long because of the inspired jamming that follows the verses and choruses. In that sense, this album is definitely not aimed at being the next bestseller, but this is truly great music for music’s sake.

However, the riffs on the album are much heavier than anything on ‘Band Of Gypsys’. All the riffs are heavy and groove-based and with Pinnick and Gales sharing lead vocals, this may sound a bit like the King’s X formula, but these guys are definitely something else. Much more Bluesrock and Soul based than the groovy progressive Hardrock of King’s X, Pinnick, Gales and Pridgen just rock their hearts out. There’s something very spontaneous about this record, which gives the whole thing a very vibrant atmosphere.

Although all the songs on the album are fantastic, the standout tracks are ‘Hang On, Big Brother’, which is lead by a very swinging riff courtesy of Gales and a pre-chorus brilliantly sung by Pinnick, the stomping groove and extended jam that make up ‘Wishing Well’ and the slow, incredibly heavy Blues that is ‘Black Jeans’. ‘ Collateral Damage’ is a catchy opener and Cream cover ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is a bit unnecessary – it’s been done so many times – but executed well nonetheless.

Musically, these guys are amazing. Gales has never sounded as inspired, probably aided by having a great songwriter around in Pinnick and Pridgen has hardly ever tried his hand at such simple compositions, but lays down incredibly powerful rhythms and impressive fills. Pinnick is the way he always is: soulful and passionate. These guys are a musical match made in heaven. The production emphasizes that: it focuses on these guys playing their instruments, rather than weird trickery.

So if you like music for music’s sake, checking out ‘Pinnick Gales Pridgen’ would be a pretty safe bet. These songs almost sound like they have written themselves while they were being recorded. Having that feel on a record is one of the greatest merits a Rock record can ever ask for. Let’s just hope this isn’t one of these one time deals: I’d love to review a ‘Pinnick Gales Pridgen II’ anytime soon.

Recommended tracks: ‘Wishing Well’, ‘Hang On, Big Brother’, ‘Black Jeans’

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