Review Summary: 3 goes through puberty.
A popular legend states that most people, at some point in time, have pretended they were a rock star of their choice and bounced around in their bedroom in angst whilst singing into a hairbrush. With that in mind, the following nugget of information might not be so difficult for most of you to accept -- in fact, it might improve your self esteem a bit: you are Joey Eppard.
Yes, you are Joey Eppard, guitar virtuoso and frontman of '3'.
The year is 2003. Roughly four years ago, pre-Y2K, you and your band '3' released their debut album 'Paint By Number' to little to no fanfare, despite the album being a relatively solid funk-rock experiment. Just a little over a year from now, you will turn all the tables and become a progressive metal band with your album 'Wake Pig' Approximately 13 months after that
, 'Wake Pig' will be re-released on Metal Blade records, launching you and your lucky band into relative stardom -- set free to tour with the likes of Dream Theater, Opeth and Between the Buried and Me. However, right now, it is currently 2003 and you are stylistically lodged in between the expansive soundscapes of prog-metal and the kinetic bounce of funk-rock, dweedling in relative obscurity. The year is 2003 and you have just released 'Summercamp Nightmare'. Taking into context 'Summercamp Nightmare's successor and predecessor, the stylistic approach found on your record is easily identifiable: Summercamp Nightmare is 3's puberty album.
You've entered a stage; you're growing up. The idea of 'fun' is an impish defense-mechanism that you'd never stoop down so low to enjoy. Your eyes have suddenly been opened to the vast, endless horizons of progressive rock. You're getting angsty and you demand originality from yourself. So cute. How did you translate this into a record? Well, 'Summercamp Nightmare' plays more like a collection of mixed messages than a cohesive album. 'Halloween' is faux-spooky and childish, 'Pretty Girls' feels like a rejected b-side from your debut record and 'Dregs' is alarmingly aggressive and perhaps even heavy
. While it's important to practice a healthy amount of variety in your music, 'Summercamp Nightmare' is so stylistically all-over-the-place, it's hard to get into any
sort of groove -- the entire experience is decidedly askew and unfocused. Massively overdubbed falsettos are abundant and ridiculous (what's with the chorus of 'Signs of Life'?), select songs are far too familiar (the song 'Fable' may as well be a hidden track on Radiohead's 'The Bends') and the vocals are stuck somewhere in between underwhelmingly sleep-inducing (Bedroom In Hell) to commandingly rousing (Soul Reality).
Yet somehow in all this stylistic confusion, Joey Eppard, you and your band have managed to create some indubitably terrific songs; it wouldn't be far off to recognize 'Soul Reality' as one of the, if not the
catchiest song you've ever written. Each member of the band are audible and give an impressive and diverse performance; tying together funk-injected acoustic lead lines, casual, yet nimble drumming and bumbling basslines. The talent amassed on 'Summercamp Nightmare' is uncompletely undeniable, to say the least. However, the raging confusion that you seem to be experiencing as a songwriter ("I want to make a funk song! No, a metal song! Hell, let's make both at the same time!
") hinders the effect that 'Summercamp Nightmare' has on a listener deeply. But hang in there, the next year is going to see one of the most creative prog-rock records released in recent time and it's going to bear your band
's name. The future's bright, Joey Eppard; fret not, you will
learn how to write a complete album -- after all, what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.