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P. G. Six - Slightly Sorry CD (album) cover


P. G. Six


Prog Folk

2.50 | 4 ratings

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2 stars I suppose this is sort of a 21st century version of selling out for a folk act. On his latest album Pat Gubler, better known as P.G. Six, has apparently abandoned his fetish for weird and obscure folk instruments and unique arrangements in favor of what can best be described as a fairly conservative series of west-cost pop-folk numbers. Perhaps the catalyst is his switch from the low-key indie label Amish Records in favor of Drag City, home to neo-psychfolk darlings Espers, Joanna Newsom, and the very tastefully named bluesman Randall of Nazareth.

In any case this is the most staid and unambitious work to come from Gubler in his lengthy and otherwise impressive career. The bands that immediately came to mind when I first listened to this album were CSNY and (of all things) Ben Folds Five. After several spins I’ve decided that’s a bit harsh, and am willing to spot Gubler the seventies pop-folk crooners America and maybe a little James Taylor as well.

Seriously though, there isn’t much to point to on this album that is innovative, captivating or even very interesting. Pretty much all the weird acoustic instruments from his previous albums are back on the shelf, and Gubler seems to be content to simply alternate between picking and strumming his acoustic guitar and plunking away on various outmoded keyboards. Former Tower Recordings songstress Helen Rush shows up once again with decent but rather conventional vocals, as does Aquanettas singer Debby Schwartz, Megan Reilly and Run On vocalist Sue Garner. Gubler has an actual band backing him, sort of. Bob Bannister and Robert Dennis of the oddball psych-rockers Tono Bungay man guitars, drums and Fender piano, while rocker Steve Connolly plays bass. But really these are only minor backdrops to Gubler’s vocals and that persistently plucky acoustic guitar.

Nothing really stands out here, although I will mention that “The Dance” and “Strange Messages” are the CSN&Y-sounding tunes; “I’ve Been Traveling” and “Not I the Seed” are the James Taylor clones; and “Lily of the West” qualifies as the America spin- off. Gubler's singing throughout accounts for the Ben Folds reference. The closing “Sweet Music” is the most interesting track (relatively-speaking) with some slightly peppy organ, a gospel-like tempo, and some pretty decent electric blues guitar in the latter part of the tune. But that’s about it.

‘Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites’ is an adventure in odd instrumentation and unique, almost wyrd folk arrangements. But this isn’t that album, and it isn’t up to par for what one should expect from Pat Gubler. For fans of the man maybe, but this one won’t win him any new fans I don’t believe. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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