10 October 2014

Prince & 3rdEyeGirl - PLECTRUMELECTRUM


I do love the fact that you have two Prince albums released in the same day; this is exactly what the doctor ordered.  Prince has been known for his famous backing band - The Times, The New Power Generation - so it is nice to see that he has another band behind him again.  This time, the new band comes in the form of 3RD Eye Girl; an all girl trio comprised of drummer Hannah Ford (aka Hannah Welton-Ford), guitarist Donna Grantis and bass player Ida Nielsen.  Over the last few years he has been releasing singles and generally getting his name back out there after years of public indifference to his latest releases.  His older material is still popular, but I can only name a few of my friends that would have listened to albums such as 'Rainbow Children', '3121' and '20Ten' to name three of his recent releases.  Now I have already reviewed 'Art Official Age' (cleverly linked here) and now it is time for the second of the two new releases.

Starting off the album is "WOW" (so this is where all the capitals from 'Art Official Age' ended up), with an explosive riff the song drops into a blues/soul verse and a soft hello from the Purple one.  From the off, you have a lot more rock in the mix for the audience.  It is an exciting introduction to his new group and it has a buzz that has been missing from some later-day Prince records.  Whilst you sometimes need glam-soul-pop-party Prince, every now and then you need the Prince that can make a guitar sound like an angel weeping.  "PRETZELBODYLOGIC" is silly, silly sexy lyrics, silly riff, silly delivery and it is fucking fantastic.  It is so OTT that it could not be anything other than silly, it is just a big rock out number in the style of 'I Love Rock N' Roll', 'Blockbuster' and other OTT rock anthems of the 70's - an amazing track.  "AINTTURNINROUND" has lead vocals supplied by Hannah Ford, it does let the rock follow again and this is a running theme with this album, it is a lot more fiery and with a beat that you can really dance to.  You can hear that the band is incredibly tight on this song and it is a brilliant number, with a fantastic solo as well.  The title track of the album is next an instrumental that was written by Donna Gratis and had been previously recorded under the name "Elektra".  I have heard the original and the basic track is the same, I would say there is a little more going on with this version but both are played incredibly well.  

"WHITECAPS" is the fifth track on the album, lead vocals are handled again by Hannah Ford and it is a much slower number.  The vibe of the song is much mellower, the rock has been placed to the side for a moment and the soul is going out; all the members of the band provide backing vocals and it sound very pleasant.  It is not the best song of the album for me, but I still find it enjoyable none the less.  "FIXURLIFEUP" is next, this was the first single to be released by Prince & 3rdEyeGirl last year.  It sort of ticks all the bases about what this band is about - Rock, check; Funk, check; Soul, check - but it does not have that power of the first four numbers.  Again, it is another decent number; but it is nothing more than that.  "BOYTROUBLE" is the seventh track on here and the party is joined by two rappers - Lizzo and Sophia Eris - and additional vocals with Claire de Lune as well.  This is much more interesting, the mixture of rock and funk is much more cohesively for me; it is fun (no - I am not making that obvious point, I am above that) and would be a brilliant song for any party.  "STOPTHISTRAIN" is another number with Ms Ford on lead vocals again, it is another slow number which does nothing much for the album if I am honest.  It just has filler wrote all over it, once it has finished I can promise that it will not be the first song you will want to go back to. Time to move along....

"ANOTHERLOVE" is a cover of a song which was originally done by Alice Smith; this brings back the blues and rock elements to the table which had been missing for the last few numbers and it does not disappoint.  I love this cover and it is one of the tracks of the album, it is full of passion and desire and that solo at the end is just exquisite.  "TICTACTOE" follows on; this was a late recording for the album that was creating after partying all night and listening to Cocteau Twins.  To be honest, you can actually hear the words of the song on this number so I cannot quite see the link; but as a song itself it is sort of dreamy and drifting.  The more I listened to this song, the more I was drifting to warm times in my head; overall, it is a strange and hypnotic number, plus it is one of the better ballads of the record.  Penultimate track "MARZ" is a bit of a punky, it is short and to the point, feeling that a stomp all over the dance floor and the rest of humanity.  It is a great number that makes the hairs stand up on my neck, one of the songs of the album for me.  Ending the record though is "FUNKNROLL" which does what it says on the tin; it brings the funk, adds a dash of rock n roll and you have a funky and fun ending to this album.

To be honest, this album has the start of something beautiful; the band is not quite the finished article for Prince and it does show in places.  The middle section of the album sags that bit too much when it should have just took a couple of songs out of the equation to make a short and solid debut.  That is not to say that it is not a good album, it is good and the bits that work are spectacular.  It is just that it could have been slightly better than the end result if I am honest.  I was not expecting anything as outlandish as 'Exodus' (cleverly linked here), that was a whole generation ago and this band does not quite have that fluid feeling yet.  It shows signs of promise and the talent is obvious for all to see, I reckon by the next album they will be on fire.  Out of the two albums, this one edges the two; both have their plus points and negatives, but it is just great to have Prince releasing albums again.  All hail the new king in town!!!

7.5 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

Top track - AINTTURNINROUND

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the 3RD Eye Girl Website here

Here is a link to official Prince adver....website

Here is a link to the unofficial website for Prince here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively, you can listen to the album on Deezer here

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