February 28, 2003

Thirdimension "Protect Us From What We Want"

It invariably happens; whenever a new, original-sounding band becomes the Next Big Thing, record labels, press-types, and fans of that new-sounding band seek out similarly-styled music. Look at Nirvana; would bands like The Melvins have been heard of had Cobain not spoke of their virtues? Nope. Fan frenzy turns to feeding frenzy quite quick, my friend; "new bands to watch out for" titles get used, causing hype among the press and much snickering from their loyal, not-new-at-all fanbase. Often, though, true talent gets dismissed as copycat, and good bands get overlooked by those whose quick-to-judge attitude is based on anything and everything BUT the music.

Thirdimension, however, are a wonderful exception to that rule. Swedish rock--apparently the next big thing, thanks in part to the brilliant The Soundtrack To Our Lives--is their game, and they do it quite well. Protect Us From What We Want is a bit different, though. Originally released in 1998, it was well-received and a critical fave...but only if you lived in Sweden. For some reason, Warner Music kept this wonderful record a secret, and most unintentionally, this record was left floating in the pool of obscurity. Last year, when a couple of Swedish exchange students stopped by Parasol's office with a Cd-R of the album, the label fell for it, and took it upon themselves to release the record in the US. That's really a great story, and a positive lesson about the respect that comes from making great music.

What could make the story behind the release of Protect Us From What We Want even better? One listen, and you'll understand why Parasol went to the trouble, and you'll want to send them a thank-you card for doing so. Thirdimension are from the same school of musical thought as their former brothers-in-American-distribution Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Had Protect Us From What We Want been discovered earlier, the story might just be reversed, and Thirdimension might be the "next big thing". No matter, though; there's plenty of room in this big, empty rock and roll world we live in, and Thirdimension's presence sure is appreciated!

For a debut album, Protect Us From What We Want is a mighty strong release. From the very beginning, you're thrown into a mix of rock that's equal parts Sixties melody and Seventies rock. Imagine equal parts Who, Kinks, and early Oasis, and you're not too far from summing up Thirdimension's sound. Throw in a few ballads, occasional strings, and the joyous sound of youth, and you've just been served a most potent potion, and, believe me, it's MOST addictive. The opening (and ironically titled) "If This World Could Only See," has some of the best breaks I've heard in ages, and I bet you'll be humming the melody long after the song is gone. They never really stray terribly much from that formula, which would be a criticism if Thirdimension were a lesser band. Thankfully, they're not, and the formula never grows old. The real killer, here, is "Other Side of Town." It's easily one of the most relentless numbers I've heard in ages; it should have been a modern-rock hit, and it finally gives the Oasis brothers a taste of what it's like to be ripped-off by a bunch of young, snotty, and talented upstarts. When you reach the one-two punch of the epic and lush "Yes Equals No" and the anticlimactic "Over," if you're not hitting repeat, then you're simply dead in the water when it comes to great music.

Protect Us From What We Want is of the most welcome reissues I've heard, even though you'd be hard-pressed to think of it as a reissue. I'm not quite sure of what Thirdimension are up to now, or if Protect Us From What We Want was nothing more than one lone, perfect album. If that's the case, it's a tragedy, but at least they leave an excellent legacy. If that's not the case (and I really hope so) then this is but the beginning of a great career, and Thirdimension's next punch will be even harder.

--Joseph Kyle

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