Sound Check Rare and weird sound Review by Matthew Strother Intrigue Editor April 28, 2005 Last week when this album was dropped on me, I didn't know what I was in for. The cover of the album is adorned with a flaming hand next to an old '70s-style toaster and a pair of shades. The song list included titles like 'The Sound That Will Kill You,' 'Amputee' and 'Mouse Bite.' 'What the hell ...' I thought. Surprisingly, Three Happenin Guys, which consists of five members, has mastered a good formula with their latest CD, 'Case Quarter.' Their quirky sounds and straight-up strange lyrics make an enjoyable mix. The mix of ambient instruments and acoustic guitar with electric leads and some fancy drumwork is a compatible mix. 'The Sound That Will Kill You' starts out unassuming enough. Reminiscent of old Flaming Lips, the song is soft with an eerie melodic edge, but if you listen to the lyrics, 'I will tuck you into bed, then amputate your head,' you realize this band has something strange stirring beneath the surface. From there, the album keeps picking at your senses and makes you wonder what you're hearing. The entire album flows smoothly. The delivery is diverse and the songs are memorable, each with a life of it's own. The strange ambient noises, awkward instruments and sometimes keyboard, or possibly organ, sounds contribute to the otherworldly feel the album carries. The music is strangely relaxing. But listening attentively help you will uncover many of the strange, almost hidden elements buried in each song. Some songs seem more serious, throwing in some full-ahead rock 'n' roll sounds to help diversify the album's sound. The instruments play so well off each other that I found myself not always breaking the songs down, like I do for most, into their separate instruments. The inclusion of other instruments, like the aforementioned keyboards plus violins and clarinets, helps each song sound fresh and new. The long, trance-like songs, up to six minutes, don't fall into the trap of becoming boring after a short time. Neither do the short songs, as short as two minutes, sound too brief. The band has a good sense of balance for it's songs and for it's album. The alternation between more serious slow songs and rock songs, transposed against some of the otherworldly sounds and structures of songs like 'Shingles' keep the listener interested. The band's quirky sense of humor and, I'm guessing, strange personalities help feed the music's style, and it works. 'Case Quarter' is a strange, trancy, quirky, enjoyable album. Three Happenin Guys have found a formula that doesn't try to be too serious, yet lends itself to certain considerations, at least musically. The music plays like forget-it-all fun music with the serious dedication behind it of committed musicians. 'Case Quarter' is an album to give a listen to, if not only for the quirk factor.
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