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3RDegree: The Long Division

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!

Track Listing
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)

Added: April 13th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4342
Language: english

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3RDegree: The Long Division
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-04-13 01:04:12
My Score:

I first became familiar with American progster's 3RDegree with the release of the wonderful Narrow-Caster in 2008. Four years later the band gave us The Long Division, released on 10T Records.

I was greatly impressed with Narrow-Caster (please see my review on this site) and very much looked forward to a new album. Well, the album came but for reasons unknown I had not given it a listen until recently. Truth be told, I should never have waited so long as The Long Division is another first class effort.

The players include: 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).

The band started writing these tunes shortly after the economic collapse of 2008 so it should come as no surprise there is a socio/political bent lyrically which can also be gleaned from the album cover depicting a chasm in the Earth, one side red and the other blue. A clear reference to the Republican and Democratic political parties in the United States and their inherent differences.

Musically, The Long Division carries on where Narrow-Caster left off; melodic progressive rock shrined in a veil of 10cc-like quirkiness with vocal arrangements recalling Echolyn, Gentle Giant and The Beatles. As with Narrow-Caster the music isn't heavy but there is plenty of edgy guitar rhythms and lead work combined with lighter acoustic elements like in the softer vibe of "Exit Strategy" with its playful arrangement and keyboards providing a palette of colour. In "The Socio-Economic Petri Dish" an intro of chaotic people chatter leads to a quirky keyboard arrangement before a funky groove settles in. Sublime background harmonies and crisp guitar and keyboard excursions are plentiful. Lovely background vocals and tasty acoustic rhythms highlight the whimsical prog of "The Ones To Follow". In the slightly off kilter "Incoherent Ramblings" dreamy background harmonies coalesce with quirky synth lines enshrouded in an adventurous pop rock sheen. The disc's first track "You're Fooling Yourselves" combines superb vocal harmonies ala Gentle Giant or Echolyn with biting guitar tones and more gentler atmospheres. "Memetic Pandemic" is excellent symphonic prog with wonderful synth and guitar interplay whereas "The Millions of Last Moments" shows the band's lighter side with delicate acoustic guitar arpeggios within a dream-like atmosphere. The beautifully orchestrated "A Work of Art" is a softer tune contrasting nicely with the heavier "Televised" featuring soulful lead vocals, intense guitar workouts and proggy tempo changes.

Bottom line: if you are late to the party and haven't picked this up I recommend you hurry over to 10T Records and add this to your collection. You can also hear the album in full at the band's Bandcamp page.

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