CD REVIEW: The Third International - Beautiful Accident
By: Cyrus Rhodes
The Third International
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Psychedelic Rock,
Sounds Like: Neil young, Pink Floyd, King Crimson
Technical Grade: 6/10
Weakness: Lackluster Production Quality, Engineering Aspects (Recording, Mixing), Marketability, Winded Songs
Guitarist-Singer-Songwriter Andrew Pearson releases his debut CD entitled Beautiful Accident in I assume 2010. I can't find any copywrite date on the CD. Pearson is joined by some impressive players: Ian McDonald on alto sax (King Crimson, Foreigner) Bill Foster on Bass (Billy Cobham) & Nick Difrisco on Drums & Percussion. Music is self-described as Acid Blues, Groove, Urban Folk. Should be interesting.
The CD kicks things off with “The Timekeeper’s Waltz” a smooth flowing rock lullaby that serves up hypnotic melodies, well placed saxophone chops, accompanied by inviting 70’s psychedelic musical flair. Track 2 “Amsterdam” shifts gears a bit delivering a more psychedelic flowing groove with slithering vibe, sinister signature, coupled with hypnotic vocal flair from Pearson. Track 3 presents “Criminal Cool” a solid bluesy rock piece that dishes out impressive guitar riffs, driving rock rhythm & thought provoking lyrical content from Pearson. It’s quite impressive how well Pearson makes these songs his own, with heartfelt vocals & well placed musical chops along the way. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Neil young, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, & perhaps a splash of Dire Straits & even Peter Frampton. The music itself has a lot of musical variety to it delivering songs that provide powerful, passionate & a dash of dark mystery. The CD offers a rich melodic & vocal foundation, with lush layers of instrumentation along the way. I would classify this music as rock, pop with a vintage 70’s psychedelic rock aftertaste. Besides the standard 3 piece delivery, you will also notice brief splashes of instrumentation layered everywhere from flutes, saxophone, well placed percussive accents, to impressive rhythm & solo guitar. This production is packed to the hilt with impressive chops from Pearson & his band. Pearson dishes out impressive solo guitar & bluesy guitar licks along the way. I might add Pearson just lets it all hang out musically. From rocking “The Son of Jacob Mallet” to bluesy “In the Garden of the Long Pig” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 7 “The Reprise” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
The biggest problem with the CD is not the band, not the music, not the performances - it’s the engineering aspect of it all. The overall production quality (recording, mixing) seems to be somewhat erratic, amateurish, & a bit all over the place. From drums that lack serious bottom end punch, to obscure sounding distorted guitars, & vocal levels that seem extremely disproportional to the music – this CD has all the trademarks of a "basement garage-band" mix job. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix, & master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on its overall marketability cannot be overstated. If this was 1975 this would be a cutting edge musical production, unfortunately its 2011, so the bar is set really high for independent artists like Pearson. Given the talent factor of his band & the scope of the songwriting - it’s a bit unfortunate. If this review seems lopsided it’s merely a reflection to the extremes presented on this CD. If this CD was engineered properly (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) it would definitely be a 9 or a 10. I might add - all 3 of the production phases must be completed successfully in order for the CD to sound industry standard. It also doesn’t matter how good the Mastering is if the project wasn’t mixed or recorded properly. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the above items affect the CD’s overall marketability. Cover art looks amateurish & grainy. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.
In close Beautiful Accident by Andrew Pearson & The Third International is a compelling musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – it's amazing musical variety, world class musicianship, & musical virtuoso from Andrew Pearson. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate, & powerful & will no doubt captivate your imagination. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Last but not least Andrew Pearson is a premier talent & is no stranger to this business. He possesses solid chops, an infectious voice, & some amazing songwriting skills. If I could say anything to Pearson right now – it would be to surround yourself with world class Recording & Mixing Engineers that can do your music justice - thus giving your audience a production they so rightfully deserve. Do this & it’s safe to say your best release is yet to come.