I wrote ‘Three Days Grace’ off around the time ‘Animal I Have Become’ became a massive and comically boring radio hit. Unfair? Surely. Yet in all fairness, there is entirely too much music to listen to in the world to waste my time with a band who releases stadium ready cheese-rock, so deliquified and generic it ends up being as interesting as a stale plain cookie. It’s a cookie, but man is it tasteless.
Yet something happened in between the totally lifeless release of 2009’s ‘Life Stars Now’ and the current 2012 release of their latest studio album, ‘Transit of Venus.’ It was the title that caught me. I thought, very explicitly, ”Well, I guess I have to quickly hear what Three Days Grace is up to.”
Their post-grunge style has remained signature cookie-cutter, channeling a mix of crunchy guitar-rock and Eddie-Vedder rip-off vocals for a legion of fans whose taste goes little beyond ‘Seether,’ ‘Nickelback,’ and a ‘Hinder’ single.
Yet, the album cover caught me because it was so pretty- so soft and…well…CUTE. It was anything but “I’m hurt and pissed and I’m going to yell over power chords.” It was quaint and sweet, and set an odd tone that was endearing and likable.
The album itself is littered with synthesizers and soft touches of songwriting that would have been entirely foreign anywhere in the band’s career. Not to say the band are any less “heavy” per se. I mean, they are, but there is a sure strength made up for in the quality songwriting, the multiple layers, and the replacement of crunchy guitars with meandering synth leads. The album has it’s fair share of anthemic rock tropes that remain perfectly fit snug into the band’s canon. Yet I come to admire the effort into expanding their horizons and delivering us something that isn’t second rate 90’s grunge.
Three Days Grace is a competent band, but they have never been all that interesting. With ‘Transit of Venus,’ you have a group that takes their style, and instead of rehashes it, adds in additional layers of intrigue and promise. Progression is key. With Michael Jackson cover and lyrics that touch on something other than “being angrily bummed out,” I’ll be adding ‘Transit of Venus’ to my musical rotation.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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