The coronavirus pandemic canceled Third Eye Blind’s 2020 tour (the second leg) for their Screamer album, released in 2019, so what better way to make up for it than to spend time on a new material resulting in their seventh album Our Bande Apart, out today.
Just two years after their last release, the nine-song 33 minute Our Bande Apart represents the quickest turn-around for Third Eye Blind between albums since their self-titled debut smash in 1997 and 1999’s Blue. And, while Blue failed to measure up to the multi-platinum debut (don’t they always?) Our Bande Apart just might best its predecessor and carve a new path of success for Third Eye Blind beyond their radio staples.
Third Eye Blind has endured a minor revolving door of musicians, mostly from before the debut album was released, but singer and guitarist Stephan Jenkins and drummer Brad Hargreaves remain from the original line-up with Kryz Reid joining on guitar in 2010, Alex LeCavalier on bass in 2012 and the newest member Colin Creev in 2019 on keyboards.
Don’t expect the sugar high hits like “Semi Charmed Life” or the heartbreak of “How’s It Going to Be” instead find a slight tranquilizing effect, maybe even a bit different sonically in Our Bande Apart, as Third Eye Blind adds a little more gravity – and awfully vulgar at times – in their alternative rock pop approach to music without losing their identity.
“Goodbye to the Days of the Ladies and Gentlemen” starts off Our Bande Apart with a nice walk in the park somehow driven by Jenkin’s vocals. In fact, a number of the songs show off Jenkins’ vocal range and ability, an aspect fully and surprisingly amiss in a live performance on the first leg of the Screamer tour.
I don’t get Jenkins’ vocals. Sometimes he sounds like Third Eye Blind, i.e. what we all know and have come to expect, even resembles Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, or comes across near childlike and out of tune. “The Dying Blood,” as well as the final cut “Time in Berlin,” a piano laced track, both showcase Jenkins’ vocals. Unlike the slower paced “Box of Bones” a song with legs but cut short just as it got started ultimately undone by the baby-talk like vocals, same goes for the bland “Silverlake Neophyte.”
LeCavalier drops in great bass for a mellow The Cure-like “Dust Storm (How We Hold Each Other Right Now)” and Our Bande Apart gets additional stellar tracks as a prominent 90s rock guitar takes over on “Funeral Singers,” one of the band’s best, while Jenkins looks for life after COVID in “Again,” an upbeat pop song with the signature Third Eye Blind sound. The stripped down “To The Sea” deviates quite a bit from the rest of the album, perhaps a creative outlet, that really has no distinct melody but should work for some.
Our Bande Apart will certainly endear Third Eye Blind to their fanbase but also remind the stragglers who did not graduate after 1997, they have some work to catch up on.
Third Eye Blind Our Bande Apart Songs:
- Goodbye to the Days of the Ladies and Gentlemen
- Box of Bones
- Silverlake Neophyte
- Dust Storm
- The Dying Blood
- Funeral Singers
- To the Sea
- Time in Berlin