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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.67 | 76 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars After a ten-year hiatus, 3rdegree regrouped and launched a new album back in 2008. The music was a logical conclusion to their 1996 album, "Human Interest Story", maintaining the band's sound and yet moving ahead.

My perception of 3rdegree's musical style is that they are at first an alternative band with progressive elements in their music. In some ways, I think they sound like a cross between the heavy alternative band I Mother Earth (but without the Latino percussive exercises) and Echolyn. I also perceive some Barenaked Ladies in the intellectual lyric writing but with a venomous cynicism that has a sting. There might also be some older Spock's Beard (the non-symphonic stuff) as well as, well, whatever you care to hear in the music.

"Narrow Caster" is comprised of 10 songs, most of which hover around the five-minute mark. This is clearly a song- oriented album with only "Young Once" going off on an atmospheric instrumental section and then morphing into what sounds like the next track starting but actually only delivers a new twist to the song. The rest of the songs feature some clever music but no long instrumental workouts. Like Rush did in the 80's, 3rdegree work like an experienced prog band trying to apply their progressive skills to shorter, songs that, if not pop radio, might at least stand a chance of getting on college radio somewhere. There are enough alternative rock-like guitar parts but also hints of jazz influences. Three tracks feature a raw and buzzing, heavy guitar with "Free for All" being the heaviest in nature but the album opener "Apophenia" having the better bite and groove. This song remains my favourite from the album and one of my favourite 3rdegree songs.

I quite enjoy the band's creativity in lyric writing and music composition. I think of them as an acerbic alternative band with prog leanings here on this album. But at the same time I miss some of the acoustic parts that were on the previous album, "Human Interest Story" and 3rdegree haven't developed their sound as well as we hear on 2015's "Ones & Zeroes". It's a good album by a band that were on their way to start becoming that band that you just gotta have.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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