The Ghost You Gave To Me

Metal Blade
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Sirenum Scopuli
02. React
03. Sparrow
04. High Times
05. Numbers
06. One With the Sun
07. The Ghost You Gave to Me
08. Pretty
09. Afterglow
10. It's Alive
11. Only Child
12. The Barrier

Much more than that strange proggy band that seems out of place on the Metal Blade roster, 3 is a melodic prog rock institution, which still doesn't accurately describe what this creative act are all about. It makes sense that the band has toured with PORCUPINE TREE, with whom some musical similarities are present, as well as joining prog gods DREAM THEATER, OPETH, and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME on the Progressive Nation Tour. Toss out any number of bands with which 3 shares some sound similarities — COHEED AND CAMBRIA, THE MARS VOLTA, PINK FLOYD — and you'll still be unable to perfectly capture what 3 offers the listener. But the most vital pieces of information concerning 3 are the depth of beauty, lush and meticulously performed instrumentation, and the surprising amount of catchy material on every album. "The Ghost You Gave to Me" may include the catchiest batch of tunes yet, even if it doesn't weigh as much in progressive tonnage or pure front-to-back appeal as albums like "Wake Pig" or "End Has Begun". That's all relative, as 3 fans well know.

The upper range ethereality of Joey Eppard's vocals, as well as the many colors painted with his unique style of acoustic and electric guitar playing, along with that of Billy Riker, continue to be a big part of 3's sound on "The Ghost You Gave to Me". Those delicate touches that reach so deep and the subtle, yet somehow bursting beams of light created, which collectively transcend popular notions of the guitar, are what have always been this band's bread and butter. The rhythm team of bassist Daniel Grimsland and drummer Chris Gartmann (who also contributes to those ever important backing vocals) complete the musical puzzle, one of those duos that support, accent, and meander with a purpose in one giant wave of percussive and low-end might. But what stands out even more on this album are the hooks, led by an insanely catchy cut called "React" that should be a worldwide smash hit among rock and pop fans alike. Though "It's Alive" gets notably heavy in progressive rock terms it is the basic intensity of the chorus that still ends up sticking, just as "Pretty" penetrates and stays on terms all its own. Oddly enough, just as significant as the manner in which "Afterglow" hooks is how it becomes one of a handful of songs giving off vibes that sound as though SQUEEZE is getting its prog-rock on by channeling it through 3; yes, SQUEEZE.

In any case, there is always more to a 3 album than meets the ear. That includes the tribal-esque beats, the unexpected shifts in direction, and an openness on "Only Child" that conjures images of a pristine, ice covered landscape. In keeping with the challenges of pinpointing the musical style of 3, "The Barriers" will have you offering PINK FLOYD comparisons before you're forced to quality the statement by noting a vague folksiness, and then giving up altogether and copping out with a lazy description like "laid back." At the end of the day, the befuddlement of searching for just the right words to capture the sound is half the fun; the other half involves the pure enjoyment of the music that 3 has created. That song remains the same on "The Ghost You Gave to Me".

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