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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.68 | 72 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After raving about 2012's 'The Long Division', it only seems right that I ought to go backwards and listen to something else by these guys. The band broke up not long after releasing 'Human Interest Story' in 1996, only getting back together in 2007 so perhaps it isn't surprising that this 2008 album is actually a collection of ideas from the Nineties together with some new ones. This was their third studio album altogether, and having now only heard it some five years after it came out I am still at a loss to explain why these guys aren't far more widely known. This is radio friendly commercially acceptable classic rock/art rock/prog rock, so how come they aren't being spoken about as the next big thing? I'm sure that it can't have anything to do with their age, how they look, or that they write their own material and can play their own instruments can it? Surely not, where would the music industry be if everything was just created crap for the masses (etc, etc)?

As with the later album, this has many musical connections with City Boy and Alan Parsons Project, along with 10CC and Steely Dan: it is well-crafted melodic music with stacks of hooks and vocals to die for. There is something about the album that makes me smile as I play it, with the additional benefit that this is an album that brings summer to the coldest day. It's winter here in NZ as I write this, but there is a warm glow coming from my speakers that brightens the mood.

There is a feeling that these guys can really rock when they want to, but keep a lid on it so that the vocals and melodies stay at the forefront, even though there are times when there are some fairly brutal riffs coming out. Listen to "The Proverbial Banana Peel" to get a taste of just how controlled these guys are; at times there are gentle keyboards and a great bassline in the background with loads of space while at others there is some wonderful fuzzed distorted guitar that gives it a totally different feel.

This is an album that just begs to be played on repeat, and surely that is all anyone wants? This is for fans of good music, whatever the genre.

kev rowland | 5/5 |


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