There is no doubt in my mind that one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated progressive rock bands around is America’s 3RDegree. Over the years they have been incredibly consistent, and while I have not heard the debut album (so consequently have not reviewed it), I have given all the other five maximum marks, so it is safe to say I am a fan. There is something about their commercial progressive sound with wonderful harmonies which really gets to me and many others. The first album of theirs I heard was 2012’s ‘The Long Division’, and I was blown away by a sound which reminded me so much of City Boy – that review got the band to check them out as they had never previously heard them, and it also made sense to them! I also need to thank fellow beer aficionado and bassist/keyboard player Robert James Pashman for instilling in me a love of trappiest ales.
So what is this compilation, and why does it say it covers the years 1990-2020 when it starts with a recording from 2011? That song, “The World In Which We Lived”, originally appeared on their debut album back in 1993 when they were a trio with some guests and Robert provided the vocals, and was then re-recorded in 2010 with George. It is the commencement of a journey in chronological order, with virtually every song remixed, taken from all their releases over the years. The set also contains three hidden tracks, which cannot be streamed but are part of the download, and these three replace three other songs on the CD if the physical version is purchased. It is safe to say that one of these is the finest bringing together of two songs which share the same title I have ever heard and will be guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone who knows them.
With their two most recent albums being their most successful, and both of them being concept albums with the second being a continuation of the first, it does mean there is a certain lack of continuity within this compilation, but there is no doubt it is a wonderful collection of songs and a great way of finding out about one of America’s finest commercial crossover prorgressive bands who have an innate sense of melody to combine hooks with intricacy in easy to enjoy songs which are always fun and full of life.
9/10 Kev Rowland