Adam Gregory Pergament is the Madison music scene's poet laureate. Since he came here a decade ago to pursue a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies, he's written dozens of poems set to music, first in Stonefloat and now with Venice Gas House Trolley.
This third full-length Trolley CD shows more sonic dexterity than any of the band's previous releases. There's gritty blues-rock ("Busted and Wasted"), laid-back reggae ("Layin' Low"), thundering dance rock ("Shakin' Her Hips") and even a gentle guitar ballad ("Moment Blessed").
Pergament's verses find the right rhythm and pitch for every approach. On recent releases, he has restrained his powerful words. He reads them with an ease that lets the music sing. That's truer than ever on Burst Open, which makes the relationship between words and music feel new again.