3RDEYEGIRL: PLECTRUMELECTRUM: Album (Warner Brothers)
CD / DL
3RDEYEGIRL supported Prince on his recent guerrilla tour – now they’ve collaborated on a fine new funk album. Dom Walsh reviews.
Earlier on this year, Prince served as his own PR machine with a bunch of guerrilla gigs in London. The gigs sparked a fan frenzy with a range of venues inhabited, ranging from jazz clubs to art galleries. A sojourn North for two blistering gigs at the Manchester Academy only sought to increase the hype of the 2014 incarnation of the Purple One. Backed more than ably by the vivacious and rocking 3RDEYEGIRL, the trio and Prince were devastating. As a fan of Prince, it was great news to hear that he would be releasing an album with 3RDRYEGIRL. With a reunion with Warner Brothers meaning a more conventional release, PLECTRUMELECTRUM is part of a dual release with a solo Prince album entitled ART OFFICIAL AGE.
Having heard both albums, it is certainly this album that is meant for the hard rocking Prince fan; and Prince can rock when he wants. He is a virtuoso on many an instrument, but his skill on the six-string is still vastly under rated in my opinion. The whole album was recorded live and you can feel the looseness of the band throughout which makes for a much more pleasurable experience. The title track of the album shows this in abundance as the track sways along before some blazing guitar work.
Throughout the album there are many an occasion where the dazzling guitar skills of Prince and Donna Grantis breakout into all out fury. The solo that caps of AINTTURNINROUND is certainly one of the most metal moments I have heard Prince commit to record. Opener, WOW, also exhibits a stunning bit of solo guitar work.
The title track of the album has a groove reminiscent of Jimmy Page’s lead riff of Led Zeppelin‘s Houses Of The Holy classic, The Ocean. Again, the solos soar and this instrumental was aired more than once on the run of the gigs that comprised the aforementioned Hit And Run tour. The whole track feels jammed and the looseness allows the whole band to throw their cards on the table. Other cuts that were premiered earlier this year that are included here include PRETZLBODYLOGIC and FIXURLIFEUP.
Whilst the album is heavily guitar oriented, there are plenty of moments where the pop sensibility in the bands collective conscience creeps out. The balladry of WHITECAPS has a wonderful, dreamy tone with the bass at the forefront and the drums sounding so warm and mellow. Along with WHITECAPS, STOPTHISTRAIN features drummer Hannah Ford on lead vocals. Her delivery is sultry and is set off by Prince’s understated vocal flourishes throughout. TICTACTOE also sees the band in more reflective mode.
BOYTROUBLE features guest raps from Lizzo and Sophia Eris, whilst the rest of 3RDEYEGIRL back up with vocals. The bass line throughout the album reeks of classic Prince and the groove along with the rapped segments could have sat on one of Prince’s early nineties records. The middle section of the album feels truly like a 3RDEYEGIRL solo effort. ANOTHERLOVE sees Prince return to the forefront with more fire and passion in his soloing.
Album closer, FUNKNROLL, is one of the best things that Prince has put his name to for years. This track feels like one of those classic moments that will live in Prince’s live set for years. The vocals are sharp and again the bass and groove from Ida Nielsen is dripping in funk. Whilst the funk prevails here, this track could be converted to many other genres. The jazzy outro hints at this and it’s hard not to think that Prince feels that way too as it has a spot on both of the recent releases; in a different form.
It is a great ending to an album that reaffirms Prince’s genius and ability to evolve with different musicians to keep things interesting. The gigs earlier this year introduced 3RDEYEGIRL to our shores, and they came back a couple of times. I hope they decide another trip to our little island is worth it, because these songs are excellent, and when they’re delivered with such aplomb on record, as well as in the live arena, it is a complete win-win for all.