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Monday, December 15, 2014

3-D - s/t

Name: 3-D
Album: s/t
Style: New Wave, Power Pop
Similar Bands: The A's, Code Blue, Cars, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker
"One Word" Review: Surfy Piano Synth Pop
Based out of: New York
Label: Polydor, Polygram Distribution
3-D - Cover, Liner Notes, Record
3-D - Back, Lyrics, Record
3-D (1980)

  1. Telephone Number 2:47
  2. It's No Fun 4:09
  3. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow 3:24
  4. Pin Up Girl 4:00
  5. Back to You 3:58 /
  6. X-Ray Eyes 4:25
  7. All American Boy 4:21
  8. Carnival 4:13
  9. All Night TV 4:20
Album Rating (1-10): 10

Members & Other Bands: (Wonderland Band, Trans-Lux)
Rick Zivic - Vox (Red White and Blues Band)
Ted Wender - Keys, Vox (White Cloud, Loudon Wainwright III, Doobie Brothers, Red White and Blues Band)
Mike Fink - Drums (Ronnie Wood, Bo Diddly, Whippersnapper)
Keiv Ginsberg - Vox, Guitars (Boffalongo, Blues Brothers Soundtrack)
Ken Scott - Engineer, Producer
Nick Stevens - Bass, Vox(Impulsive Manslaughter, Holy Heart Failure)
John Doumanian - Management
Premier Talen - Booking Agent
Phil Jost - Asst. Engineer
Tim Garrity - Asst. Engineer
Bernie Grundman - Mastering
David Alexander - Cover Photo
Chris Callas - Inner Sleeve Photo
Rod Dyer - Design
Andy Engel - Design
AGI - Art Coordination

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but from the looks of the album artwork, it will be some sort of new wave act. I like the angular, chaotic chunks of broken mirror reflecting the band. Makes me think that the contents will be fun, angular hooks as well. The logo of the name looks as if it was quickly written, which keeps me optimistic that the music will be fast paced too. 1980 is a good year for the style, so I’m looking forward to this one.

Album Review: So this band had a bunch of tour dates opening for bigger bands such as J Geils and the Ramones, and they even reached critical success as a performer on SNL back in May of 1980. There were three singles from the album: “Telephone Number” “X-Ray Eyes” and “All Night TV.” And thourhgout the album, they follow the mold set by Elvis Costello and Graham Parker and the A’s with nasally pop new wave. There is not one bad song on this record. Nothing comes close to being bad. The main two musicians Ted & Ric have moved on to form their own production company, and it looks as if drummer Mike Fink is more known for his album designing (20th Century Millennium Masters Collections) rather than drumming.

“Telephone Number” begins with a jaunty piano intro, followed by drums and a upbeat piano pop somg. The vocals are nasally like a nice balance from Elvis Costello and Richard Bush (from the A’s). This is very shiny, pleasant and catchy song. And has a general naivety present in most of the late 50-early 60’s pop songs, but sung with a distinct late 70’s early 80’s new wave style.
“It's No Fun” enters with a bass line, and the same nasally vocals. After the first verse follows through, instrumentation bridges the gap into the second verse, and the bouncy organ and a singular, non-harmonized doo-wop melody carries through the chorus. The bass line carries the song through, presenting the back bone for the light ska harmonies and a bit of laid back island/surf tempo.
“Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” has a self-paced drum and keyboard melody creating a steady driving tempo. The piano and synth combination bring a lot of hooks and keep the songs feet straddled perfectly between pub piano pop and odd new wave. Bottom line, the song is a straight forward pop song, full of energy. The song is generally fun with throwaway hooks buried deep and burned up without thought.
“Pin Up Girl” again embraces simple surf elements possible in new wave synth. This song sounds just like Richard Bush. I would be hard press to do the “cola challenge” and not guess that this was an A’s song.  Except there is a falsetto section in the chorus that is unique to the band.
“Back to You” feels like a much more pub rock style song, built on guitar and drums. The song is driving, with a cars like tempo, with minor broken moments in the steady beat, which amplifies the urgency in the song. After an instrumental punctuated with a rolling drum section, the guitar melody borrows from Mony Mony.

“X-Ray Eyes” drives right off of side one with a pounding drum beat in a nervous rhythm, and it is coupled with synth sounds and a rapid pulsing bass line. This is some fine breeding of powerpop and new wave, and to wave the fear of sounding repetitive, it sounds just like the A’s first album material. This might be the catchiest hook on the album, as the chorus melody is just a clarified version of the verse.
“All American Boy” has an anthemic like intro, and delves into a creepy relaxed pace with a dark synth sound. The vocals are basically spoken at a marching cadence leading up to the chorus, which does not quite deliver all the energy it builds up. But the second time through, it is a little better. There is a music box like breakdown, twinkling and light. Dammit, even the theme in the song is ripped directly from the middle American plots to the A’s songs. There must have been a build-a-band kit available in the late 70’s that both bands purchased.
“Carnival” brings back the atmosphere of island/light ska keyboards from “It’s No Fun,” and rather than be creepy and carousel-like, it is a nostalgic trip to carnivals from the early 60’s with a playful bass line and hand clap percussion. On top of that I thoroughly enjoy the singer’s percussive throat flourishes of “Uh-Oh-Uh-Oh.” It adds a great accent to the melody.
“All Night TV” brings the straight forward power pop sound to the album finally with some powerful chord changes. The guitar chords are supplemented with a keyboard changes once the verse gets going. The song embraces the strutting, marching tempo by the second verse, and just when it might go on for too long, the prog-ish breakdown reinvigorates the song, and it come marching back with a stronger energy. The harmonized chorus of the word Television evokes a bold, Bee-Gees or Supertramp comparison. 

Stand Out Track: Telephone Number

SNL episode IMDB
Ric's Linkedin page
Red White & Blues band's reverb page
Brooklyn Vegan's RWB band description
Ric & Ted productions
newspaper show review from 1980
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