3 (USA)
Paint By Number


3.5
great

Review

by Waior USER (114 Reviews)
July 10th, 2009 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Paint By Number is like opening up an antiquated photo album filled with adorable baby pictures: while the adorability is undeniable, even the most genetically gifted toddlers can get irritating.

The journey deep into the brooding bowels of 3's discography is widely unorthodox; an enigmatic, yet curiously enticing glimpse into the lopsided evolution of Joey Eppard's progressive rock band. Before the startlingly technical and tasteful 'Wake Pig' and 'The End Is Begun'; before the brumous and forebodingly eerie 'Summercamp Nightmare', 3 was, in the purest sense, a funk-rock band with a healthy taste for peculiar pop-sensibility and small bursts of idiosyncratic Eppard-technicality. Yes, before the overtly climactic theatrics of songs like 'The World is Born of Flame' or 'Trust', 3 wrote groove-based alt-rock tunes like the winsome 'You Call Me Baby'; songs that weld bouncy, kinetic basslines with poppy, technical acoustic guitaring and slurred, emotive vocals. Flipping the pages of 3's catalogue back to page one recalls everything from The Police to Radiohead, an eclectic and monstrously juxtaposed piece of work when slated beside 3's future material. Does that make it bad? No.

Truth be told, it is, for the most part, magnificent. Yes, it being their debut, Paint by Number sometimes slips up, loses track and boasts sonically perplexing flaws, but most of the sidestepping and missteps are instantly forgivable; you can either chalk it up as a young band in the first baby-step stages of maturation or imagine it as a much more organic and unpolished effort, an album bereft of gratuitous studio sheen. The band, a trio at the time, plays off each other magnificently throughout the entire record and keeps things comfortably diverse and complex for their respective genre. First and foremost (as always), frontman Joey Eppard has an interesting role on Paint By Number: the lead guitarist. With reggae bar chord shots (Blood on the Blankets), bluesy guitar solos (Paint By Number) and tasteful harmonics (basically any song), Joey Eppard, while not quite at the peak of his musicianship, still puts forward a brilliant performance that immediately sets 3 ahead of their contemporaries. Bassist Christopher John Bittner (who plays lead guitar on the title track) is also a boatload of talent, exemplified most heartily in the slap-happy progressions of 'Better State of Mind'. Brother/drummer Josh Eppard (now of Coheed and Cambria) too boasts a different style than his future material and does a respectable job keeping a benign backbone to the album.

However, 3's historical photo album is not without it's faults; for the sake of the metaphor, Paint By Number comes with it's fair share of overexposed and coffee-stained photographs. To the untrained ear, Joey Eppard's developing voice sounds inexcusably feminine; dotting many tracks with effeminate moaning and snarky enunciation. Select tracks, with little potential to begin with, come with lyrics resuscitated from the deepest depths of songwriting hell, such as this token from the cringe-inducing 'Astroknot': "My name is Michael, I ride my bicycle." Luckily for Eppard, he is a more than capable lyricist and makes up for most of his mishaps with lyrical gems and alliterations throughout the record. Other disconcerting elements include the tempo-confused "Old Grey Dog" and the similarly disorientated "Leaving After All." Couldn't the band have spared the money spend on that extra family-sized eggroll-platter for getting a studio that actually used a click-track?

Conclusively, Paint By Number is a solid release; one that is made even more engaging when put into developmental context. The release comes with a bundle of catchy tunes and impressive musicianship that ties together a plethora of different (strange) influences together into one, functioning musical process. Sure, the proverbial road to progressive success began on a slightly bumpy, half-paved sidewalk, but Paint By Number lives up to the 3 standard (Joey Eppard Seal of Approval!) and is an addictive and enticing release from a decade pre-Y2K and a band pre-prog.



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user ratings (55)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
PuddlesPuddles
July 10th 2009


4798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Brother/drummer Josh Eppard (now of Coheed and Cambria)



Did you know I never knew that before?

handoman
July 10th 2009


2386 Comments


i was really surprised how much i liked this

Waior
July 10th 2009


11629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, it's kind of weird/happy/awesome but definitely out of my comfort zone.



Kind of a quick review, but oh well. Enjoy.

YouAreMySilence
July 10th 2009


3727 Comments


now here come Wair's chain of 3 reviews
I guess that means I have to check em out then, eh?

Douglas
July 10th 2009


9291 Comments


boasts sonically perplexing flaws


Interesting way of stating it.

jrowa001
July 10th 2009


8752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eppard isnt in C&C anymore.



great album

PuddlesPuddles
July 10th 2009


4798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

YouAreMySilence, definitely check out Wake Pig and The End Is Begun....maybe in that reversed order



It will be very rewarding

Waior
July 10th 2009


11629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I only suggest this album to people who have already heard 'The End is Begun' or 'Wake Pig', the former being their best work.



So, listen to that if you're new, and if you already like 3, then check this out.



Thanks for the feedback.

WatchItExplode
July 10th 2009


7614 Comments


just repeating Eppard isn't in Co&Ca anymore...replaced by Chris Pennie although Taylor Hawkins covered the kit on Good Apollo II

I've dug the paint by number tracks I've heard thus far, though not to the extent of newer material, surprise surprise

Waior
July 10th 2009


11629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Argh, my Coheed history isn't good enough! Curses.



Yeah, 'tis a solid album but is the underdeveloped, bratty little child of their later work.

WatchItExplode
July 10th 2009


7614 Comments


I've recently got into 3 via Coheed, and you seem to be doing to opposite...nonetheless both seem to be accessible prog of the highest order (I too will adopt this term)

Waior
July 10th 2009


11629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I've been a 3 fanboy since grade 7. Deep in my roots, but Coheed is something I've painfully neglected myself from.



Accessible prog: now officially a term.

InTheShallows
July 10th 2009


269 Comments


hey very nice review Caleb! i will check out the album as recommended.

first review comment! lol

Waior
July 10th 2009


11629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, thank you. Congratulations on your first review comment.



However, this is not the album you want to check out. You want "The End Is Begun", their most recent release.

InTheShallows
July 10th 2009


269 Comments


oh really? maybe i'll check this one out first just for that ;-)

haha jk...i'll start with the most recent and go backwards

Motleyguy
March 1st 2010


118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Can honestly say I think this is 3's best record. Excellent songwriting. Great pop sensibility, and they throw down the funk.



Don't get me wrong, I love Wake Pig and The End is Begun... But they don't hold a candle to this gem.

Romulus
August 12th 2010


8579 Comments


This is strangely good and I'm not really big on 3

Dev518
October 12th 2012


581 Comments


This album is so underrated. Lay Down the Law is such a great song.

OmairSh
August 3rd 2013


15024 Comments


Heart Attack jams



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