From New York comes the first release from P.G. Six in four years, delivering a blend of progressive folk rock and psychedelia. Pat Gubler, the P.G. in P.G. Six, was part of “The Tower Recordings”, starting in 1995 as a bunch of friends recording mysterious experimental rock, with elements from noise, pagan folk and tape manipulation. Since then P.G. Six has evolved a into a style that lets the mind stray towards the colourful 60’s and 70’s, yet with undertones of drone and fresh electronic features. “Starry Mind” is different from Pat Gubler’s, earlier recordings, since he formerly used a different crew of guest musicians producing them, but now he is also standing in front of a real band; Bob Bannister on guitar, Debby Schwartz on bass and backing vocals, and Robert Dennis on drums.
The sound of “Starry Mind” is based around guitars, mostly warm and mellow, but also used with some truly mind-blowing effects. Then Pat Gruber sings, with a voice smooth and caring, wrapping itself along the roads of the guitars, enhancing and building a kind of rock magic that you might think was long since extinct. But it makes me wonder, for how long can you pick elements from a past era and still make them feel new and fresh? This is soon forgotten, though, as the jazzy feeling on “Letter”, and the lyrics about not missing a thing from those days, wraps me up in a warm blanket. Then the country-style steel guitar on “Days Hang Heavy” creates the most minimalistic song on the album, full of sadness and dusty heat. And then I realize it; this is music for chilling, or hosting a very laid-back kind of party. I find myself wanting to lean back in a comfy sofa with some good friends, sip on the honey wine from “Palace” and just relax “…in the palace of my starry mind”. I enjoy both “Talk Me Down”, with a strangely familiar traditional vibe in it, and “Wrong Side of Yesterday”, swaying in an almost insane manner, tremendously. “This Song” ends and sums up the album wonderfully: “.. love and joy and sorrow there, tethered and twisted together”.
To answer my own question, then, I have no worries that “Starry Mind” will feel dated to a certain century, the music is way too welcoming to not catch modern ears. It makes you smile, gaze in wonder on some of the more experimental guitar parts, and most importantly; it makes you feel good. With the striking artwork by Greg McKeighan “Starry Mind” can be a real show stopper for anyone looking for a good time. My only concern is that it might be to uniform, there are no real peaks, just an enjoyably high but even level, where every song is well written and delivered with skill. They do not grow together as a bunch of sticky happy pills, but the album as a whole don’t rise above the clouds.
03 Days Hang Heavy
05 Talk Me Down
06 Wrong Side Of Yesterday
07 Crooked Way
08 This Song