by Chris Cope
When 3 released their last album, 2007’s The End Has Begun, it seemed like they had the world at their feet. It crunched and grooved, winning the New York band golden support slots with fellow prog-rockers Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater amongst others.
What now for this band? Well, they’ve sky-dived their way through an extensive back-catalogue of rarities and un-used cuts, revisiting and reworking tracks that never did quite see the hazy light of day – Revisions is nothing if not an apt title. But 3 have missed a trick by not continuing their writing flow after their last record, because Revisions ends up comparing meekly and weakly to its predecessor.
‘Anyone Human’ opens but sounds at times akin to a 80s rock out, with Joey Eppard’s uniquely flighted vocals and some dubious sounding synth crashing together to rather cheddary effect. It’s followed however by the intriguingly titled ‘Rabid Animals’ which reverts back to their verve and vitality of old – it bounces and jolts through vibrant chord progressions and back before slithering into a lilting breakdown, making us wonder why such a stellar track didn’t open the record.
The hit and miss nature of this album is quite tangible; the feet-dragging pace of ‘Why’ and its at times pallid song-structure whimpers in comparison to hauntingly jaunty ‘Halloween’, whilst the instrumental interlude slap bang in the middle of album, ‘Lexicon Of Extremism’, showcases this band’s trademark percussive use of acoustic guitars, building to a ripsnorting climax. There’s no shortage of brimming choruses here, and endearing melodies too, but it seems as if they’re straying away from the near progressive metal sound they purveyed so impressively on their last offering.
Watch 3 play ‘Rabid Animals’ live
The album concludes with ‘The Game’, a strange little number that almost seems tagged on as if to fill up some more minutes. It’s a swaying track with stripped down drums shuffling underneath quaint acoustic guitar work, but it’s like bringing your grandmother to that party next weekend – she’s pretty swell on her own, but doesn’t quite fit in. And the whole album echoes this too, a jumble-sale of tracks, with some gems lying amidst some duds – at times pretty fantastic, but frustrating too.
Sounds Like: Drinking a weak coffee when you’re hankering for caffeine overdose
Top Tracks: Rabid Animals, Lexicon Of Extremism, Halloween
3 – Revisions tracklisting
The Better Half Of Me
Lexicon Of Extremism
You’ve Been Shot
The Emerald Undertow