Once, rock musicians devoted themselves to just one band and it was those philandering jazz musicians who couldn’t keep a group together for more than a five-night stint at some seedy bar. Now you’re nobody if you’re in one measly band – ask Mike Portnoy.
The Fringe brings together drummer Nick D’Virgilio from Big Big Train, Lo-Fi Resistance’s Randy McStine, and Karmakanic’s Jonas Reingold. In this power trio format, the sound and vibe recall King’s X, although it’s D’Virgilio and McStine who put the strongest stamp on the music, with Reingold’s bass often mirroring the guitar riff. They’re fond of the 7⁄8 time signature which pops up in three different tracks. The harmonies of Go suggest the Beach Boys singing with Tears For Fears, while My Greatest Invention boasts the record’s knottiest groove. Flare is impressively constructed, traversing different moods and featuring an excellent solo from McStine. Opening Day and A Second Or Two blend catchy guitar pop with a prog twist, although McStine’s voice sounds strained on Snake Eyes. There’s an obvious chemistry between the three and even if it remains a side project, this busman’s holiday offers a memorable trip.