The Long Division is the fourth release from the New Jersey prog collective known as 3RDegree, and it follows their popular Narrow- Caster album from 2008. This time around the band have come up with even more addicting melodies, showing a pop side to their sound that's really coming to the surface and wanting to be heard. The band, who are comprised of George Dobbs (lead vocals, keyboards), Robert James Pashman (bass, keyboards, backing vocals), Patrick Kliesch (guitar, backing vocals), Aaron Nobel (drums, percussion), and Eric Pseja (guitar, backing vocals), still know how to deliver the prog, but they've injected some real accessible elements here that will make The Long Division quite appealing to any non-prog fan as well.
Opening tracks "You're Fooling Yourselves" and "Exit Strategy" both feature lush keyboards (dig the Mellotron on the latter) and plenty of hooks, and I'm almost reminded of classic 10cc in spots. "The Socio-Economic Petri Dish", with it's clever lyrics and funky/proggy arrangement, is a real blast, and the quirky "Incoherent Ramblings" is a fun prog tune with some spacey passages, hooks, and a great vocal from Dobbs. The bands ability to layer in the backing vocals to great effect can be heard on the symphonic "The Ones To Follow" (and you have to love that tasty Fender Rhoades electric piano and wonderful Steve Howe styled guitar!) as well as on the Gentle Giant influenced ditty "A Work of Art". The use of counterpoint that was so prevalent in the music of Gentle Giant comes to the surface on the complex rocker "Televised", one of the most aggressive songs here, and 3RDegree then opts for gorgeous, pastoral landscapes ala vintage Genesis on the magnificent instrumental "The Millions Of Last Moments", which features some amazing acoustic guitar work. The band delivers stunning, melodic prog on the engaging "Memetic Pandemic" (killer bass lines from Pashman here), and close out the show with "A Nihilist's Love Song", another soaring number with layers of vocals, lush acoustic guitars, and gentle piano.
In an era when so many of the newer breed of prog rock acts opt for bloated epics and endless solos (not that anything's wrong with that mind you), it's refreshing to hear a band that instead has decided to take a step back and create music that sets a mood and delivers big on memorable melodies as well as crisp, intelligent instrumentation. The Long Division is a real winner from 3RDegree, a perfect marriage of eclectic pop and challenging prog rock that, in a perfect day and age, would find a huge audience ready and waiting to discover its riches. Highly recommended!
1. You're Fooling Yourselves (6:53)
2. Exit Strategy (5:46)
3. The Socio-Economic Petri Dish (6:51)
4. Incoherent Ramblings (7:46)
5. The Ones To Follow (3:15)
6. A Work Of Art (2:53)
7. Televised (6:54)
8. The Millions Of Last Moments (2:07)
9. Memetic Pandemic (7:29)
10. A Nihilist's Love Song (3:39)