On April 1, 2012, Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), Eric McFadden (George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars), and Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) got together at Hyde Street Studios in California to record some tracks. On Monday, one year later, they will release the T.E.N. EP, the product of their collaboration. The limited edition disc (available at live shows and iTunes) features four songs from the dreadlocked trio known as T.E.N. (Thomas, Eric, Norwood).
The hard-rocking "Queen Dreamer" kicks off the EP, immediately invoking Living Colour with its crunchy guitars and pounding drums. McFadden's voice is similar to Vernon Reid's too, though that isn't a bad thing, as he's able to move deftly from a falsetto to a growl. That growl comes in handy on the next cut, "Dog Eat Dog World," which wears the Fishbone influence on its sleeve. It wouldn't feel out of place on an early Red Hot Chili Peppers record either. The song gets a little silly with the number of howls and woofs (By its end, it sounds like the "twilight bark" scene in 101 Dalmatians.), but we're dealing with P-Funk and Fishbone here, so it's par for the course.
While the first three tunes come off as a little too derivative of late '80s funk metal, the final song, "Asleep in the Ocean" is where the eccentricities of each band member finally coalesce to make that original T.E.N. sound they were searching for last April. Guitars swirl around sound effects of waves crashing to make a heady stew that is then peppered with violin before bubbling into the driving chorus. My only complaint is that it's over too quickly.
The challenge of a "supergroup" is as such: How do you make it so it doesn't just sound like a couple songs from each member's primary band? So far, they've done it with "Asleep," and we'll get to hear if T.E.N. can do it again when they release their full-length on the numerically appropriate release date, 10.10.