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Archive for June 26th, 2013

Review: The Three O’Clock, “The Hidden World Revealed”

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The Hidden World RevealedCould it be time, once again, for The Three O’Clock?

The California group took its place alongside the likes of The Bangles and Dream Syndicate as part of the “Paisley Underground” movement of eighties rockers who looked to the sixties’ psychedelic pop and folk-rock scenes for inspiration.  In fact, the band’s bassist/lead vocalist Michael Quercio is said to have even coined that evocative name.  Between 1982 and 1988, The Three O’Clock recorded one LP for Frontier Records, two for I.R.S., and one for Prince’s Paisley Park label.  The group broke up following the release of 1988’s Vermillion, and 25 years later, all but one of those albums is currently out-of-print.  But something remarkable happened when Quercio, drummer Danny Benair, and guitarist/vocalist Louis Gutierrez – three-fourths of the band’s “classic” line-up – reformed earlier this year to play their first dates in decades.  Longtime fans, of course, rejoiced…but where could potential fans discover their music?  Omnivore Recordings has come to the rescue with The Hidden World Revealed (OVCD-64), a new 20-track anthology that’s one part introductory “best-of,” one part a rarities collection, and altogether a celebratory set.

The Hidden World reveals 20 bright, guitar-driven power pop nuggets, ten of which are previously unreleased.  Mostly written by Quercio and Gutierrez, these tracks aren’t pastiches of late-sixties styles.  Rather, the band used their influences – a diverse group, from The Bee Gees to Pink Floyd – as a jumping-off point.  Shiny, “modern” keyboards coexist with blasts of chiming, jangly guitar reminiscent here of The Beatles, there of The Byrds, with propulsive drums and well-blended bass as anchor.  Quercio, Benair and Gutierrez are joined on most tracks by Mike (Mickey) Mariano on keyboards.  One track (“Regina Caeli”) features Mike Altenberg, who joined The Three O’Clock in 1986, on guitar, while “Jennifer Only” from pre-Three O’Clock band The Salvation Army features Quercio with Troy Howell on drums and John Blazing on guitar.  This compilation could have been subtitled The Frontier Years, as all tracks hail from the period of the band’s earliest label association.  Most tracks are circa 1982-1983; the most recent dates from 1986.

We’ll take a deeper look after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 26, 2013 at 08:19