"PlectrumElectrum" is the first album by Prince's girl band 3rdEyeGirl and was released simultaniously with the Prince album "Art Official Age". 3rdEyeGirl features Ida Nielsen on bass, Hannah Welton-Ford on drums and Donna Grantis on guitar. I've had the pleasure of watching this band live a few times and I've been waiting with excitement for this album. I love their live sound and a lot of demos and singles have surfaced up until the album release.
Prince & 3rdEyeGirl have a massive sound of funky rock with lots of rocking guitar and a heavy bass. The girls have said that much of this album is the result of very long jam sessions and it sounds exactly that way. The first 4 songs have a lot in common and they all have that massive rock sound.
"Wow" with Prince on vocals is a great opener "Like a bee 2 some honey moth 2 a flame" and I was already hooked. "Pretzelbodylogic" is totally rocking with a silly chorus sung by the girls together with Prince on lead vocals. "AintTurninRound" has Hannah on vocals. It seems like more of a lighter poptune but not really because that massive sound is still there when the chorus kicks in and there's still lots of guitar. "PlectrumElectrum" is an instrumental jam composed by Donna Grantis and it offers even more of the massive sound from the first 3 songs with tons of guitar, bass and drum solo parts. At this point I was already deeply in love with this new album.
"WhiteCaps" is a slow thoughtful song with Hannah on vocals. It's a nice break from the massive rock attack that the first 4 songs are. "FixUrLifeUp" has Prince on vocals and is a lighter pop tune with a good melody and again with a massive chorus and it spirals into an instrumental frenzy near the end. For some weird reason I always think about "Dinner With Delores" (1996) when I listen to this song.
"BoyTrouble" is a rap song featuring Lizzo & Sophia Eris on the microphones. It sounds a lot like the Ida Nielsen solo album "Sometimes A Girl Needs Some Sugar Too" (2011) and I find it fresh and funky. "StopThisTrain" is with Hannah on vocals and I think it's a bit like some of the weaker tracks on "Art Official Age" and the only track I don't care much about on the album.
"AnotherLove" has Prince on vocals and is a cover of an Alice Smith song (2013). I've never heard the original but the song fits in perfectly here. It begins as a slow song and ends with speeding desperation "But eye'm the greatest living soul that u'll ever know" and matching guitars. "TicTacToe" is a slow lovely little ballad that has a dream-like feel to it and is sung by Prince & 3rdEyeGirl in harmony. "Marz" is a short and fast song with Prince on vocals.
Last song "FunkNRoll" has Prince on vocals and is a funky rock song also featured on "Art Official Age" as a remix. The 2 versions are quite different and I like both even for the stupid lyrics once again mentioning Prince's ridiculous hate towards mobile phones (read: cameras).
To further improve this album it should have featured "LiveOutLoud" (2013) instead of "StopThisTrain". It was such a great demo and I'd really hoped to hear it in full studio quality here. Obviously it should also have featured "Screwdriver" (2013) which was only released as a single. It would have added a hit single to the album.
Even without further improvements I think this is easily the best and most enjoyable Prince album in many years. I have been listening to it so many times already that I've lost count. I hope it'll get released on some lovely vinyl soon and then I'll play that record to death. It doesn't have any of that over-produced sound that has been haunting so many Prince albums from "Emancipation" (1996) and on. You'll find nothing of that on "PlectrumElectrum". This is pure funky rock'n'roll with lots of raw fresh energy and I love it from beginning to end.
Bonus info: the cd comes with all lyrics in a nice booklet.