Third Space's first self-titled album demonstrates a band that has indubitable writing skills in what may be called the exciting trend of meeting jazz, metal, and classical genres somewhere in the middle. Third Space’s improvisational melees, interspersed with tightly coiled melodic arrangements, provide a chaotic upheaval, often comprised of great young musicians blowing their fucking brains out. A rather ingenious element is Third Space’s compositional use of humor and surprise, as well as their blatant embracing of classical music, as on the epic “Ode to Stravinsky” (heavy arrangement of part of “The Rite of Spring” included) and a 4-minute piano solo titled “Cadenza.”
The album features tracks by drummer Jeremiah Fox, bass clarinet/sax player Mike Hyziak, and keyboardist Vinny Loccisano, but one wouldn’t know by listening to the continuous onslaught. Third Space likes to keep it complex, as through-composed songs jump from intricate, odd-timed melodies to sprawling improvisations, often with catchy results. A weaving riff that surfaces and develops beautifully toward the end of the third track, “Pagin’ Dr. Bulgogi/The Doc Sees Red” is definitely a standout.
Besides the group freak outs, the solo features are primarily keyboardist Loccisano and guitarist Kirk Schoenherr (of the band “Smother Party”), who shreds the shit out of the final tune “Invisible Governors.” The song begins rather thrash metal-y before breaking into an off-kilter, mischievous riff played by unison rhythm section, and angular horn interludes. Suddenly here comes a circus ska jam, and vocals for the first time on the album — an altered voice social-commentating a dose of good-ol’-fashioned cynicism, rounded off with a brief chorus of “It’s a Hard Know Life.” No joke. Or maybe yes joke. Like John Zorn’s Naked City, Mr. Bungle, and Jerseyband, Third Space give the impression of dedicatedly walking (or weaving) the line between never fucking around, and only fucking around.
These wry musical outcasts can play whatever complex absurdities they can dream up, but unlike most metal bands they don’t appear to take it too seriously. That means fun, unpredictable, and even occasionally spontaneous music.
by Ross Edwards
KNOCKS FROM THE UNDERGROUND
released June 1, 2009
Aaron Rockers - trumpet
Matt Thomas - saxes
Kevin Moehringer - trombone
Mike Hyziak - saxes/bass clarinet
Vinny Loccisano - keyboard
Kirk Schoenherr - guitar
Mark Karwan - bass
Jeremiah Fox - drums