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Refraction 2002 CD $15. NEW!
Toe-Tappin' Records, Lancaster, California
Listening to Third Door Down isn't about listening to the Stick. It isn't about hearing the fingerwork of Stick veterans Casey Arrillaga or Colin Jenkinson. Nor is it about focusing on the near perfect vocal tracks of Kira Arrillaga, Tracy Berna, or Teresa Willis. It isn't about picking out the more recently added percussion/drum work of Barry Wood.
On "Refraction", the second release from this southern California group, the individual elements are not the end but, instead, a means to an end. In other words, the stars on this record are the songs.
It's hard to pinpoint what makes song writers Casey and Kira go but the chemistry inherent in their writings is obvious. The instruments are woven like a tapestry creating a landscape for the vocal tracks to rise, soar, dip, dive, and romp in. And make no mistake, the vocals on this record are superb.
The use of the two Stick players is both subtle and widespread. Casey and Colin provide the bulk of the instrumentation and smartly use various tones and effects to provide a huge variety of sounds from pounding bass, to clean "electric guitar", to distorted solos, to whale cries. In the setting of Third Door Down, the versatility of the Stick is shown off quite nicely.
Stylistically, Third Door Down is ever expanding. The record opens with "13th Story Window" which you could almost imagine listening to in a smokey after hours urban club. From there, they move through songs like "Passion Play" and "Off the Wagon" that move closer to the R&B realm. Interspersed among these tunes, however, are songs that are more ethereal in nature ("Trigger", "Indecision", "She Came to Say Goodbye") and even a few with hints of pop and country. At the end, there are a couple of familiars from the group including "Wine, Roses, and Chocolate Cake", and a gorgeous new recording of "Safe Ground". A very appropriate ending to an excellent record.
This CD is also available direct from Third Door Down. Visit them on the web at www.thirddoordown.com.