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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.67 | 81 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars NARROW-CASTER is a good album. But is it really 'Prog'?

This is something I have scratched my head over for the last couple of days as I listened to this album. What makes something progressive? Well, anyone who knows me fairly well should also know that I am very open when it comes to the definition of 'progressive'. I see progressive as anything that is beyond the norm. But how much of this album is truly made up of unorthadox songwriting? From what I'm hearing, 3rDegree has more in common with Maroon 5 than King Crimson.

That being said, it should be noted that NARROW-CASTER is a very good album, as I said, and anyone looking for an easy listening gem will be more than happy with it, but as a Progressive Rock record, it feels a little watered down.

Was that aspect of the record intentional? Perhaps, but if so, one must wonder what type of audience 3rDegree is really aiming for. As far as I can hear, based on this record at least, this band would be more then welcome in the same demographic that listens to Baranaked Ladies or REM. Nothing is wrong with this at all, butwith all the attention NARROW-CASTER has been getting from people on this site, I was expecting more Prog than Pop, and what I got was the exact opposite.

Not to worry, though. The good news is, the musicianship on this album is amazing, the production values rival anything that pro labels are churning out, and the music, while much more accessible than I was expecting, does sound very inspired and heartfelt. As long as a band plays truthful music that comes from their hearts, it can sound radio-friendly and I will still enjoy it.

Perhaps it is a bit unfair to these guys to judge them based only on this album, as I have not heard the first two yet (But I plan on investing in them soon), but from what I hear on this record, the progressive moments are few and far between. Though the outro to ''Young Once'' is still probably my favorite moment on the record and is undeniably progressive and weird. If more moments like this had been present on the albunm, I would have liked it even more, I'm sure.

I'm not trying to knock this album or 3rDegree themselves in any way, but I was seeing these glowing reviews and hearing all this wonderful hype about this record that I suppose I did something I rarely let myself get awy with: I got my hopes up. So, with pre-conceived notions on what type of record I thought NARROW-CASTER was going to be, I got my hopes up and ultimately was ever-so-slightly dissapointed with what I heard. I don't know, it just seemed like not that many risks were taken after all. No song went over six minutes in length, and it seemed like only a handful of the tracks even devianted from the traditional 'verse-chorus-verse-chorus' formula, and that is a real shame, because I can hear the talent within this record's confinements, and had they been a little more willing to deviate from the norm on more frequent occasions, it could have come to fruition more than I feel it did.

Then again, 4/4 time signatures, traditional song structures and easily-digestible melodies when combined with prog ends up becoming the very defenition of what the archives consider 'Crossover Prog' to be, so in that sense, no band has fit the bill for Crossover more snugly than 3rDegree.

I seem to be the first Collaborator to give this album anything less than a 4 rating, so perhaps everyone else is hearing something that I'm not. Ultimately, though, as with everything, this comes down to personal taste, and if you like the more experimental and unusual side of Prog, then NARROW- CASTER may not tickel your fancy as much, but there are still many magical moments on the record, and certainly I am glad that I have heard this band. I feel very fortunate to have it in my collection; it just isn't as 'prog' as I expected.

Three stars, and it's still an album worth listening to. Check it out.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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