Third Ear Experience
(Boi and Dog Ear combination)
Crank this to 9 of 11
|    Editor's Pick
Atmospheric rock
Sounds Like:
Monomyth, Yuri Gagarin, Colour Haze
While 3rd Ear Experience is currently labeled "space rock" we prefer to characterize their latest two works "atmospheric rock". A subtle difference, but we wanted to highlight as the band has morphed more towards this genre since its last album Peacock Black. Peacock Black is undoubtedly "space rock", fitting the ambient lengthy jams and experimental vibe. On Boi, however, the band has branched to keep their eight songs more concise, ultimately  placing more emphasis on melody, atmosphere and contrast versus starkness and experimentation. Given their new June 2014 release Dog Ear split release with Fever Dog, we thought we would review both for you.

Somehow, 3rd Ear has slipped way under the radar. The band is led by Dug Pinnick of King's X infamy and Robbi Robb of the acid rock band Tribe After Tribe.  First and foremost, we must preface that we have followed Dug's rock hall of fame worthy career since the early Out of the Silent Planet (1988) King's X release. While Dug continues to tour and support the progressive rock trio, his passion for music has led to a variety of stellar side projects during down times. The man never seems to age and every project he touches has a special quality and fervor to it. 3rd Ear presents a unique side to Dug's talents and in no way disappoints. While Dug's bass-work is always exemplary, his vocals shine even brighter on this album. Robbi Robb, continues the flavor of his darker ambient tones and mystical rhythms that he fine tuned and developed with the latter works of the ever so intriguing Tribe After Tribe. Amritakripa provides some refreshing synth work very well placed and not overdone.

Boi is a terrific album blending atmospheric sentiment with intelligent melodies. The tracks gel very well providing the listener with something very beautiful and entertaining. The key word being entertaining. All too often in these types of genre's there is wasted or excess space and elongated tones that lose structure and the listener's attention. Boi is anything but boring. Each song is quiet original and diverse, yet contain a similar semblance or aura that is difficult to put into words. Below we have broken down our thoughts and ratings by song :

1. Space Tripping (7:41) Great opening track that does a nice job setting the stage. Conceptually to us the song casts away the space rock era and kicks in after the space waves into grinding blissful rock. Robotic trance, coupled with some  "sweet emotion" like vocal inflection - 8

2. The Ocean (8:54) One of the top tracks containing some of the most poetic guitar riffs accompanied by Dug's soft and sultry vocals. I can't tell you how many times we have listened to this track and it never tires - 10

3. Boi (11:09) What an original cut this is. Female spoken word accompanied by Dug's beautiful voice. Dug's pipes are clearer than any other side project he has done to date. We love the change-up at the end where Dug kicks into spoken word…..I hear music over my head! - 10

4. Wheel Of Fortune (7:14) Solid track with trance-like harmonies. Very unique synth on this one - 7.5

5. Snake Charmer (6:20) Fantastic percussion arrangement is the backbone to this song. We hear Danny Carey influences all over this one. Very eerie tune with unique rhythms and chanting - 8.5

6. Swallow (5:21) Percussion flows beautifully from track five. Dug's energy and vocal distortions on this one are infectious. Powerful and inviting! - 9

7. Surrounded (8:12) Somehow they work in some bluesy grooves on this one and its works. Great job bringing things down and circling back to the blissful atmospheric guitar-work. Dug's vocals are creepy and inventive on this one. One of the best choruses on the album - 9.5

8. Aurora (4:06) Ambient and experimental ending. Just long enough and not drawn out. This is one of the more out there cuts - 8.5

Total Time: 58:57

The 3 song split EP combining one cut from Fever Dog and one cut from 3rd Ear Experience along with the middle track "Dog Ear" a creative joint effort. This album is also a must for your collection. Fever Dog are: Danny Graham - Guitar/Vocals  Nathan Wood - Bass/Sound and Joshua Adams - Drums/Synths. The trio is tight offering up some psychedelic and stoner influenced fun. The collaborative album is the result of a somewhat improvised and one cut only recording session. Contrasted to Boi, this is a true free flow and jam session of experimental atmospheric rock. Very entertaining as compared to its counterparts. This is a very unique 32 minute, 3 song lovefest... highly recommended.

Combined overall rating is a 9 on the rotation dial. Pick-up both these albums and you will not be disappointed. Dug has a big following and is also quite modest. He has kept it under the radar, but both these works need to be shared with the masses. Impressive and innovative stuff! - 7/26/2014
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