Release Date: Aug 23, 2011
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
It's interesting what four years and a shift in focus and personnel will do for a band. On Starry Mind, their second Drag City offering, Pat Gubler's P.G. Six changes gears, transforming his formerly prevalently acoustic songs with some electric backing into rock songs with some acoustic backing. Veterans Bob Bannister, Debby Schwartz, and Robert Dennis are back, but this time Bannister is playing second guitar and Schwartz plays bass as well as sings.
Starry Mind finds New York-based P.G. Six (Pat Gubler) offering up some groovy, jammy, proggy rock ‘n’ roll that frequently calls to mind Jethro Tull sans flute and David Crosby’s early, mind-blowing solo work plus a dash of Dave’s days with pals Steve, Graham, and Neil. With the majority of the songs clocking in excess of five and six minutes, it’s fairly clear that Gubler likes to jam free ‘n’ easy, which offers plenty of musical deliciousness.
At first blush, Starry Mind seems fairly routine. Here we have eight mid-tempo songs, populated with lightly strummed guitars, contented drumming, and Pat Gubler’s likable, nonintrusive vocals. The first strains of opener “January” conjures up a nonspecific and stereotyped rural American landscape, despite the song being a traditional Irish ballad.
Direction and a change of scenery can always make for interestingly new facets and focuses. For Pat Gubler’s P.G. Six, taking four years off and beefing up their scenery with an arsenal of veteran musicians has taken on a developing twist to a greater sound. On Starry Mind Gubler re-tools his band with steady musicians that allow Gubler to give in to elevated new compositions; instead of delving into a folk sound with bits of booming rock sprinkled in, Gubler has presented an album that refines his singer-songwriter roots with Crazyhorse-like rock for a solid release.