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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.68 | 72 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Hello there, I recently ordered Narrow-Caster after long being a fan of 3rDegree, and their CD Human Interest Story in particular. I'll come clean and admit that I'm not a HUGE fan of prog rock in general. I tend towards somewhat eclectic stuff, but in the end I do like catchy melodies, and much prefer great singing to seemingly endless instrumental noodling. There are prog records I highly respect and admire, yet they don't make it off my cd shelf and into my player as often as perhaps they should. So I guess it made sense when I read some other reviews of this CD questioning whether it is sufficiently prog. To be sure, this CD focuses squarely on great songwriting, along with VERY strong vocals and musicianship. But if you're looking for epic songs with multiple movements & wild experimentation, I guess it may not fit the bill. That being said, it is far less predictable than your average pop-rock fare. There are hundreds of surprising moments, such as rhythmic changes and unexpected melodic twists. What keeps Narrow-Caster in heavy rotation in my player is the fact that the songs could be sung along with a single guitar (or keyboard), and would still be a good/great song. The production is outstanding, and the imaginative instrumentation and STELLAR harmonies add a great deal - but if you stripped most of it away it would still be quality stuff. (the only slight exception for me is the song Scenery, which, though good, is my least favorite of the lot, and the only one I'm ever tempted to skip. I feel that the Queenesque harmonies can't quite compensate for the underlying tune not being as interesting as the others. The belting it out vocals at the end add to the feeling that they are trying to make the song more than it naturally is) Otherwise, I never get the sense that the production is a substitute for songwriting, as I do with so much other stuff that I hear. Did I mention that George Dobbs is an INCREDIBLE singer? Well, perhaps I should. I'd pay to listen to him sing nursery rhymes. His vocals are ridiculously versatile, going from a scream to a whisper and anything in between with great ease. His note range is impressive, but more so there is just some indescribable quality to his voice that sets him apart. The rest of the band are no slouches either, each with his own virtuosic chops. If you are on the fence about buying this CD, let me state for the record that the song Cautionary Tale is well worth the small investment (heck, the first 7 seconds alone!) Other faves include Live with This Forever (try to get this one out of your head in a timely manner - oh, and lest I bass harmonics Robert..and clever transition at 4:45 while I'm at it), It Works (I'm a sucker for dissonance), Narrow-Caster (admittedly jeopardizing the progressive label - but ever so catchy) & Young Once (ok, this on IS undeniably prog at least from 2:41 on :) Well, I could really ramble on if I start mentioning all the cool stuff on this recording. I recommend that you get it and discover them for yourself! -Doug in Vermont

saxydrr | 4/5 |


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