The Gabe Burdulis Trio will celebrate the release of their inaugural EP this Friday at the Frequency. It’s an early show, starting at 7 pm.
If it’s possible to have a local supergroup the Gabe Burdulis Trio probably fits the bill. Burdulis has teamed up with a rhythm section powerhouse in bassist Conrad St. Clair (Kicksville) and drummer Joey B. Banks (ubiquitous – is there a band in town he hasn’t played in?).
This EP is their first recorded effort though the group has been gigging for several months. The five songs represented here were all penned by Burdulis and while this collection feels a little like Burdulis with some hefty backup, it will be interesting to see what develops out of collaborative writing.
Burdulis is Burdulis, what can you say? At such a modest young age he writes crafty pop songs, sings them well, plays guitar like it’s his third arm and has stage presence to boot. His performances here don’t stray too far from what we’ve come to know from him and yet as the five songs progress you can almost hear a development take place.
There is little doubt that the standout element here is St. Clair. His muscular and precise bass adds a healthy gravitas to Burdulis’ melodic pop ear candy. Check out the propulsion he provides to “Cold Weather Kids.” The other factor that gives the chorus its heft are the keyboards and judging by their use throughout the EP they may want to consider going to a quartet. Burdulis turns in a nifty solo here as well. “Cold Weather Kids” and “Projector on High” chronicle Burdulis’ growth and experiences in traveling to Nashville, now clearly his second home. Banks’ syncopated drumming really spices up the latter, another pop gem chock full of hooks.
The opener is actually where we get the first glimpse of what’s afoot. “Shark Attack!” is a funky and energetic rocker with Burdulis adding a little growl to his vocal. The rhythms are completely infectious here, the bass line is fantastic, the drums grooving with the chiming guitars. The excellent production bears the mark of St. Clair who engineered and mixed the EP. Tight stops and starts as well as dynamic builds that provide tension and release are impressive.
Anyone who writes a love song titled “Blue Plate Diner” will get a lot of nods of approval from Madison folk and here is where things get really interesting. It’s a mid-tempo number but this sounds like something pretty different from Burdulis. The slinky guitar lines mesh with St. Clair’s chorded bass line and Banks’ rolling rhythm. It’s not a complete departure for Burdulis but a decisively different feel.
“Night Owls” closes the EP with strength. It’s a deep blues groove that rocks hard and features a killer guitar solo. Burdulis has always had a purple streak and he displays an aggressive instinct with all the ferocity of the Minneapolis one.
This is one group you will want to get out and see locally. Now. They have some touring plans and will no doubt turn heads in the industry. Every one of these five tracks are radio-ready in the best way. Pop music with enough guts, heart and chops to make anyone’s ears take notice.