The cult bi-coastal prog band 3rdegree returned with reunion concerts in 2007 and a comeback album, Narrow-Caster, the following year. Seems they're sticking together and sticking it out as they deliver this year's The Long Division.
It's a concept album of sorts as the songs speak to the social and political currents in this American presidential election year. A large part of the songwriting began at the beginning of the economic collapse in 2008.
Musically, The Long Division is a merger of classic melodic rock with both American and Brit influences. You might hear tones of Ambrosia mixed with 10cc, Gentle Giant, or even It Bites. Ultimately, there's a real familiarity to the sound. It's at once like catchy pop melodic rock, then also whimsical and intriguing prog. It's a good formula. The imagination makes it pure ear candy for prog rock geeks, and the accessibility enough to capture the prog reluctant.
Beyond the intriguing and playful arrangements, the real prize here maybe the vocal arrangements and the lead vocals of George Dobbs. He's simply a pleasure to listen to; his intonations and interpretations only make the music come alive. A rare gift indeed.
Top picks: most any song here, but especially Exit Strategy, The Soci-Economic Petri Dish, Memetic Pandemic, and Televised. Quite recommended.