Hackensack, NJ :
Originating in the shadow of 2008’s worldwide financial meltdown and concluding on the threshold of 2012’s presidential election, 3RDegree’s The Long Division takes on all of the most divisive topics in recent U.S. news. First single, “You’re Fooling Yourselves” delivers a pointed dismissal of political extremism, lockstep thinking and pigeonholing. “Incoherent Ramblings” takes jabs at cliche-spewing political strategists from the POV of the strategist! “The Socio-Economic Petri Dish” questions politicians placating their constituents with riches regardless of their means — all served up in engaging progressive rock fashion. Prog rock? Yes-you wouldn’t know it unless you searched the internet or yearly music festivals-but it indeed lives on.
The decidedly American slant of the album’s content was at first a concern to 3RDegree, who currently enjoy a diverse international audience built largely by Internet reviews of their 2008 release Narrow-Caster. “Funny thing is that the art was done by a Brit living in Montreal, Canada,” says Ridgefield Park, NJ bassist and band-founder Robert James Pashman.
“When pitching the cover idea, I hardly had to explain to him about U.S. politics and our two-party system. Because of this, my concerns about the album themes not resonating with our audience abroad was allayed.”
Although 3RDegree’s global popularity is currently on the rise, finding new fans in the early to mid-1990’s was difficult at best. “It became too hard to fill live venues in cover-band-loving New Jersey, even with two albums and a small but dedicated fan-base, so we called it quits for a while,” recalls lead-guitarist and songwriter Pat Kliesch who now resides in California. “But as the Internet was starting to be recognized as an invaluable PR tool for bands like us, we decided to give it another go. It was the right time, too since sites like ReverbNation and Facebook were making it so much easier to get our music heard. That, and it also allows me to continue to write, record and participate even though I’m now thousands of miles away from New Jersey.”
As more and more mainstream bands took to their computers to get their music out, 3RDegree was also using the Internet to prove that prog-rock stereotypes can be overcome. In a musical genre often accused of being cold and soulless, 3RDegree’s spirit shines through in their versatile lead vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter George Dobbs. The Harrington Park, NJ native explains, “This album has a lot of places where I have to sing almost as a political creature. On the first song, “You’re Fooling Yourselves”, I have to be a left-wing firebrand in the first verse and chorus, a right-wing mouthpiece in the second and the voice of reason in the third,” muses Dobbs. “It was a great challenge to pull this off without being preachy or too trite. That’s the risk you take with material like this, but the atmosphere the last few years was just too rich to not delve into.”
“Even though we’re all over the map politically,” comments New Haven, Connecticut-based drummer Aaron Nobel, “creating this album really uncovered some self-evident truths that most people have forgotten in all the rancor. We tried focusing on the things we all hated about the process, and quickly realized there’s no finding a solution if you’re simply defying your opposition.”
While about half the album contains commentary on political malfeasance delivered amidst challenging musical arrangements and memorable melodies, 3RDegree managed to leave their own personal politics out. “While some songs started as screeds from one political point of view by one particular band member, we were very careful to try and present matters as observation rather than opinion,” says Westwood, NJ guitarist Eric Pseja.
“We’re not pundits, but we do hope that our music inspires some political self-reflection.”
The Long Division also represents some musical milestones for 3RDegree. “Our fan base has been encouraging us to expand beyond our earlier works,” explains Pashman, “so we’ve rewarded them with four of our longest songs and some of our most challenging “proggy” instrumental breaks. It’s a pretty thick album, and there’s a lot of nuance to discover on subsequent listens. I guess that’s why some fans who had an early listen via crowd-funding efforts think it’s our best album yet!”
And now the word is indeed out with DPRP.net (The Dutch Progressive Rock Page) weighing in with a “duo review” where The Long Division garnered a 9/10 and 9.5/10 stating: “Overall, we have an album that consists of thoughtfully constructed songs, with intelligent lyrics, plenty of melodic hooks, and accomplished musicianship with enough Prog elements to satisfy the die-hards, and there’s not a weak track to be found. When I approached this album I was worried that the bar had been set too high with Narrow-Caster, and the band couldn’t possibly hope to surpass it. I’m happy to say I was totally, utterly wrong.”
Catch 3RDegree Live:
Wed Oct 24 2012 07:00 PM | Brooklyn, NY US
Address: 557 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11222
Details: 3RDegree is on at 7pm followed by IZZ, District 97 and Blues In Space
November 3, 2012
Venue: Orion Sound Studios
Address: 2903 Whittington Ave., Suite C | Baltimore, Md.21230
Details: 3RDegree w/Ephemeral Sun
For additional information contact:
THE LONG DIVISION is a compact disk in a plastic-less eco-wallet. It will be available via PayPal at our website above as well as:
3RDegree formed in December of 1990 in Clifton, NJ and are:
Robert James Pashman: Bass, keyboards, vocals Eric Pseja: Guitars, vocals George Dobbs: Lead vocals, keyboards Aaron Nobel: Drums, percussion Patrick Kliesch: Guitars, vocals
Release date: September 4th, 2012