Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spencer Katzman Threeo - 5 is the new 3

2007 6V6 Records

Have you ever listened to a band and thought, "theres more here to be explored?"
You can hear the subtle influences beyond ska and reggae, but the sound comes together so well it's refreshing.

One band that makes me think this is New York's Bigger Thomas. In the last several years, their sound has embodied a diverse style encompassing ska, reggae, calypso, punk, african and Latin rythyms. One of the stand out musicians in this band is guitarist Spencer Katzman. His diverse influences have always shone through and made their sound more interesting.
And on his debut release with the Spencer Katzman Threeo he explores those influences further, taking them beyond the realm of ska and reggae. 5 is the new 3 combines Indian and Brazilian rhythms with striking improvisation that can have you laid back and relaxed one minute and alert and astonished the next.

The album starts off showcasing Spencer's unique style over a subtle throbbing bass line and laid back Brazilian rhythm on "The King of the Carrot Flowers", it has a real infectious groove that'll make you feel like your at the beach. The Indian influences really stand out on "Clinton Hill", a tribute to the Brooklyn neighborhood. You feel that Tabla in your gut, pulsating and moving every muscle in your body. This song highlights the backbone of the Threeo, the percussion. Throughout the entire album that percussion keeps you moving. The odd timing of these rhythms will peak your interest as well. Another stand out track is their interpretation of “Emma J” by Brendan Benson. With it's red hot guitar and changing tempos this is one song that is hard to ignore.

I remember reading this quote from Joe Strummer on the back of a Stubborn Records compilation once: "Tunnel vision is the enemy of good music. Whether it's jazz or punk, or anything else, you have to fight against the purists who want to narrow the definition. That's what kills music because it stifles it to death." 5 is the new 3 definitley takes these different styles of music to new heights, and blends them into a refreshing new flavor.

If your up to hearing something new or just a die hard fan of Bigger Thomas you gotta hear this.

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