December 02, 2004

thirdimension 'permanant holiday'

Thirdimension's debut album, Protect Us From What We Want, appeared in 1998, but did not appear in the US until last year. It was a loving gift from the folks at Parasol, as it rescued a really great record from the bin of Scandinavian obscurity. It also showed that The Soundtrack Of Our Lives and The Hives were not the only Swedish rock bands in town. That album's highlight, "Other Side of Town," should have been a summer Modern Rock radio hit, but it was not meant to be. Permanant Holiday, the band's second album, finds them turning up the guitars and tuning into a more melodic pop style.

Not that they've really changed the formula, but after six years, you'd expect the band to mature a little bit, and they've aged quite nicely. Their youthful bursts of energy have turned into a confident, steady swagger, and though they still possess that garage-pop element that coated their debut album, their songs have a new depth that sets them apart from their colleagues. Apparently, they've discovered that adding a darker atmosphere to their music gives it a new depth; just listen to the mellower moments like "Black And Blue," "MondayMachine, " "Save Me" and "Silver Eye"--all masterful moments--and you'll be impressed. The atmospherics owe more to bands like New Order and Coldplay than they do to the Rolling Stones and Oasis; in fact, they save the balls-out rock for only one track, "Ex-Song," which is easily the best song that Liam and Noel never wrote. (A caveat: "We're Not Gonna Take It" is not the Twisted Sister song, so don't be disappointed!)

In a perfect, non-Clear Channel world, Thirdimension would be in heavy rotation, because this album is radio-friendly in the best possible sense. Permanant Holiday is yet another piece of evidence that shows that Sweden has a better understanding of smart Rock Music than we do. Kudos to Thirdimension for reminding me the good that rock music can do, and let's hope they don't take six more years on their next record!

--Joseph Kyle

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