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coverpic flag New Zealand - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 4 - 02/22/97

3Ds
Strange News From The Angels
Flying Nun / ADA

Strange News is the third album by the 3Ds, and shows yet another development in their sound whilst remaining true to their origins. Indeed, the 3Ds are very much the 3Ds and don't sound like any other band in this country, or anywhere else that I'm aware of. They do, however, share Sonic Youth's love of getting lots of weird noise out of their guitars. They differ from Sonic Youth in that they are not quite as indulgent and remember the importance of song structure and composition.

There are fourteen tracks on Strange News, generally following the 3Ds style of short and sweet (well not always sweet). The 3Ds excel in writing melodies that are a little bizarre and yet very pleasing to the ear. They are always unique and never derivative, although The Fiery Angel has a little riff very reminiscent of Live And Let Die, but this is definitely an exception.

The two Daves share writing/vocal duties on this record, but the band melds the two songwriting styles nicely into a cohesive album. Overall the songs are slightly slower and less frenetic than earlier 3Ds releases, but that does not mean that any energy or power has been lost, rather that the songs hit you more in your head than in your feet. The songs cover probably the widest range of ideas/emotions that the 3Ds have ever dealt with. They manage to convey just as much emotion through their melodies as their cryptic lyrics, although some of the songs on Strange News have the strongest lyrics the 3Ds have ever produced.

The two singles Dust and Vector 27 are, not surprisingly, rather upbeat and catchy, not unlike the classic Outer Space from Hellzapoppin', the band's first album. Songs such as Ben and Seven Days Of Kindness are slower and more introspective, and seem to inspire melancholic contemplation, I Believe In You is just pure day-dreaming.

The production on Strange News is a little "muddy" at times, which means the songs don't reach out and grab you as quickly, but, boy, do they grow on you! This production is also very much like the live sound of one of the greatest live acts in this country, which can't be all bad.

There are four or so songs that don't really cut the mustard, but the other ten more than make this album worth the money, as the Flying Nun blurb so aptly puts it, "Strange News is good news indeed".

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