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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.68 | 72 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In a perfect world, 3rDegree would be signed to a major record label with promotion and would be known as moderate radio stars respected by fellow musicians for their craft. Sort of like Steely Dan. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and 3rDegree is forced to release these prog.rock gems on their own. They even allude to such in the liner notes as being frustrated in the _land of cover bands New Jersey_ in the nineties. Against these elements, we have the art of 3rDegree. You won't hear any long epics a la _Gates Of Delerium_-Yes, nor any Barbarian-ELPs. But you will hear literate rock&roll songwriting on par with Kevin Gilbert/Toy Matinee, bits of Rush, slight Gentle Giant influence, a little Max Webster, flighty side of 10cc, mid-period Split Enz and a vocal delivery at once sounding not unlike Jeff Buckley...the next an aggressive Stevie Wonder. Also, minor jazz flourishes appear here and there. This is the kind of music that will grow on you. A real knack for nuance and detail. As _Smells Like Teen Spirit_ by Nirvana was the theme for a generation, the track _Cautionary Tale_ by 3rDegree could very well be the theme of the 2000s. If you are a political zealot, the lyrics of _Cautionary Tale_ will check your ego at the door. It manages to question ideoligies of both the 'left' and 'right' of the political, religious and moral spectrum without mentioning any names, organizations, beliefs or creed. It doesn't come across as preachy either. Quite profound. The music is incredible too, sounding like no one but themselves. A definitive 5 stars. It's 3rdDegree's _Tom Sawyer_, a defining track for this band. The first 3 tracks _Apophenia_, _It Works_ and _Narrow-Caster_ flow together like a mini-suite. Another highlight. The track that sounds the most influenced by Gentle Giant would have to be _Scenery_ which has a chanting-like vocal along with some atmospheric GG moments a la _His Last Voyage_ or _Memories of Old Days_. This is sure to make my top 5 of 2009. Highly recommended.
Gooner | 4/5 |


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