As the name might suggest, this power trio is comprised of Dug Pinnick of King’s X, Eric Gales of, well, his own band and Lauryn Hill and last, but not least, Thomas Pridgen, ex-Mars Volta. Sometimes these constructed side projects come across as a bit uninspired but in this case these three gentlemen absolutely click, forming a molten blend of “old school” bluesy rock with plenty of soul that nods at the vintage without sounding like a throwback. Smokin! I’ve not heard Pridgen before but plan to hear more from him soon. The man completely attacks the drums with a powerful intensity I haven’t heard in a long time, like he’s exorcising some inner demon, the stellar “Hang On, Big Brother” being a prime example. I’ve written before about Dug and his thunderous bass and commanding vocals and this album does not deviate. A lesser guitarist would shudder in his presence but Eric Gales is no ordinary guitarist. If you’ve not heard the man, and consider yourself a lover the six strings, you owe it to yourself to check out his chops, both in riffs and as a soloist. Comparisons to Lenny Kravitz, Hendrix, and Slash are not out of place. I was impressed by his first album, cut when he was barely sixteen, and he’s only improved in the interim. Sure, there are more technical players out there but few are as passionate. For proof you need listen no further than their cover of “Sunshine of Your Love” or the jam sections of “Been So High” and you’ve become a believer. And speaking of jam sections, this album contains a rarity these days: mistakes. Yes, there are a few instances where you’ll catch one of the members being less than perfect but the passion is so spot-on that fixing it with an overdub does the song an injustice. It’s that kind of music.
The producer, the legendary Mike Varney, had an apprentice who tried to bring an auto-tune module into the studio while they were recording and it melted on the spot, ruining the carpet. No lie. Every time I listen to this album I hear something else to like and I’m not normally a fan of Dug’s solo projects. Highly recommended for those of us old enough to remember how real music is made.