Basement 3
"Fuzzyland"

(MerryMoleMusic 2004)Basement 3 - Fuzzyland

On their sophomore album, "Rising," Basement 3 looked at the big picture where bold rhythms mingled with a sort of free form jazz. But for their most recent release, "Fuzzyland," Basement 3 has put their music under the microscope. While the instruments remain mostly the same, it is the sound that is different. Now, it is soft, intricate sounds that are characterized, in part, by acoustic guitar, piano, strings and horns and led by Kenny Schick's smooth vocals that impart an especially personal feeling while retaining their free form sound.

"Fuzzyland" is fluid, each note flowing together with the melody, from the gentle opening track, "Pieces," to the rhythmically driven "Broken." "It's hard to carry this heavy load/when you're ready to explode," Schick and additional voices philosophize in folk fashion on "Flower" as guitar drives the intricate melody and the fragile song strengthens, horns kicking in, to a more expected Basement 3 sound.

Ballads make up an important portion of the lyrically driven album. And emotions range from the sorrowful piano on "Fall" to the somewhat lighter mood of "Fuzzyland" and the slow heaviness of "Outside the Lines." Similarly, and unexpectedly, Basement 3 stretch this new sound with jazz style numbers that take a chance, such as the horn and rhythm heavy "Mercy" and "Games," which lurks just below the surface, ready and waiting.

While the switch in sound might seem odd initially, when you hear the result, it makes perfect sense. The lyrically focused album is just another side of this adaptable band that picks up where they left off. Basement 3's "Fuzzyland" has been carefully crafted for an interesting album where each song reveals more to the listener.

A-

buy it!