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3RDegree - Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.08 | 254 ratings

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4 stars New Jersey's gift to intellectually stimulating eclectic and crossover prog is back with the follow-up (or predecessor?!) to 2015's wonderful Ones & Zeroes, Vol. 1.

1. "ReInstall_Overture" (3:57) fast, brash, and poppy, this one let's me know that we're in for a more rock operetta- like adventure here. I'm reminded here of XTC or some of the poppier KING CRIMSON or ASIA music from the 1980s. It's very nice, but not great. (8.75/10)

2. "Connecting" (4:53) bleeds over from the opening overture, quickly adding singing to the mix. There's a cool intensity to this one while the vocals are going on, but then it gets weird between. "You are the shit tonight" is an odd lyric to throw in there before going back to stronger intensity. The intricate weave is pretty cool in the next section. This is almost feeling like a visual song, a vehicle for a story to be told on stage. (9/10)

3. "Olympia" (5:15) again bleeding over from the previous song, I like the flow of this section of the album. Great melody line for the first verse followed by a nice little instrumental and decent call-and-response chorus. The story is again feeling as if it's being delivered (or should be delivered) on a stage. And a good story it is with Olympia being some kind of AI servant/slave (who goes off like the OS in the film Her). (9/10)

4. "The Future Doesn't Need You" (5:50) continues the story in a much more delicate, emotional way, with the album's best music, best melodies and powerful lyric. (10/10)

5. "Unintended Consequence" (3:35) Broadway, anyone? (8/10)

6. "Perfect Babies" (4:43) Despite continuing the clever tongue-in-cheek story, despite getting stronger as the song goes along, this one just misses. (7.5/10)

7. "Logical Conclusion" (6:40) despite two awesome instrumental sections (from the end of the second minute to 3:18, and 3:55 to 5:15) and a great choral section near the end, this song fails to "hook" me with any melodic or lyrical lines. (8.5/10)

8. "Click Away!" (15:28) an epic that opens with a sound very familiar to those who have luxuriated in the sonic magic of THE FLAMING LIPS' 2002 masterpiece, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The lyrics (referring to modern humankind's obsession with quick-access information and entertainment) are great but the melody and song dynamics fall a little flat. Despite several shifts and nice injections from chords, riffs, arpeggi, and interesting instruments/sounds, the song never really rises to a level deserving of superlatives. Great sound and melody in the chorus at 3:50. As a matter of fact, it's the "Thank you Click Farm" choruses throughout that are the most engaging highlights of the song. (8/10)

9. "Ones & Zeroes" (7:07) reminding me of a lot of some music by the CARS, this one gets into my brain enough to bring me back for more. For the finale of the story line, I'm not quite sure what the point has been: "It's always been binary code," means ... what exactly? (8.5/10)

I think the failing of this album is in the band's decision to try to be cleverer and quirkier than they needed to be-- especially with vocal melody lines; just too busy! The best song has the most stable and simple melodies.

Four stars; an excellent addition to the prog lexicon--especially to the necessary conversations regarding the values and priorities of "civilized" society. Too bad the album doesn't maintain the high and engaging standard that is sets forth with the first four songs.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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