CD REVIEW: Me Three - The Space Race
By: Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Me Three
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, Rock, Electronica, Chill-out, Ambient, Dub
Sounds Like: Depeche Mode, Beck, NIN
Technical Grade: 5/10
Weakness: Some rhythms sound out of synch, genera identity crisis,
Me Three is an interesting musical project that hails from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, & consists of (1) solitary member: composer/singer/songwriter Alan Chestnut who delivers us his 2nd CD entitled “The Space Race" released earlier this year. Chestnut’s first album, which was largely instrumental & progressive music featured 2 songs that were actually later featured in an Independent Film “Half Empty.” Now Chestnut is back with “The Space Race” which features more ambient electronic soundscapes, with a touch of Alternative Rock.
The CD blasts off with ‘The Space Race” an ambient intro piece that serves up industrial-type rhythms, with pulsating moog bass painted against a colorful canvass of music & sound that comes at you from every which direction. Track 2 “Rebirth” presents a kaleidoscope of sound featuring dynamic rhythms, & vivid walls of melodies that that flow & ebb its way through fruition. Track 3 “Better Brighter” shifts gears a bit with pulsating rock vibe, against mesmerizing keyboard & synthesizer accents with hypnotic vocals harmonies from Chestnut. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear classic elements of Electronica, Ambient, Chill-out or dub music, yet with an Alternative Rock aftertaste. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere from low end beats & rhythms, to pulsating moog & bass segments, to guitars, synthesizer & keyboard accents, to a few juicy low end bass grooves layered along the way. The music itself is extremely unique, highly original, & not easy to pin down. The sounddscapes are interesting, infectious, & hypnotic. The vocals & harmonies are well placed & flow & ebb extremely well given the dynamic scope of the music. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing an impressive songwriting craft. Chestnut’s voice fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively & reminds me alot of Perry Ferrell (Jane's Addiction) & Trent Reznor (NIN). No doubt the true meaning of some of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content. From melancholy “The Hours to hypnotic “In a Dream” to dynamic ”Our New Skin” to upbeat “Behind the Trees” to my personal favorites “Digging a Hole” & “Enemies” this CD has something for just about everyone. It’s definitely a dynamic & progressive musical statement that offers a lot of musical variety & vivid sound imagery. The CD ends with “Heart Magic” a dynamic finale piece that pushes the envelope with it’s clever lyrical content & grand slam chorus.
There are moments where the beats & rhythms don’t sound like they are quite in synch with the melodies & notes. I like the vocals but a lot is lost in translation because the vocals sit so far back in the mix it’s hard to hear & relate to what Chestnut is singing about. Because of this the vital (vocal to listener) connection misses the mark on some songs. When you compare different song on the catalogue it’s doesn’t really sound like the same band. Thus it’s fair to say the CD suffers from a minor genera Identity crisis spreading itself way to thin across to many musical boundaries. Covering Alternative Rock, bluesy rock, Industrial, Ambient, Chill out & Dub all on one CD - is a bit of a stretch. If this review seems a bit lopsided it merely reflects the extremes presented on "The Space Race." I also recommend pushing all stronger material to the front of the album. It’s no coincidence great albums can hold your attention span perfectly for the first 20 minutes or so. Alot of this feels like songwriting 101. perhaps Chestnut has some room to grow in this area. I also fully realize this is a very subjective art form, but all the aforementioned effects the CD's overall marketability.
Overall this release from Me Three has some very impressive moments. “The Space Race” is a very dynamic & interesting catalogue of music. The music is highly original & not so easily pinned down during the first go around. It's strong suit is the amazing musical depth, rich sonic layering, & Industrial-type beats & sampling. The musical textures & compelling, & full of variety. Chestnut clearly displays some brilliant creativity here as an enormous amount of creativity was required to write these songs. "The Space Race” possess a lot a lot of rich musical variety, deep emotional peaks & valleys, & thought provoking lyrical content. It will not only keep you guessing the entire time, but have you looking over your shoulder. I see Chestnut kind of a budding Beck or Trent Reznor. Either way its safe to say his best material is more than likely yet to come.
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