June 22, 2011
After a long hiatus from music, Andrew Pearson has exploded back on the scene with the release of Beautiful Accident—seven hypnotic tracks of atmospheric soundscapes, vast musicality and underlying stories. The album is touted as “blues for the modern man” but with so many genres being tapped simultaneously, this one is tough to hang a yoke around. Think the urgency of progressive rock guitar, intermittent jazz instrumentation and catchy R&B grooves all piped through deliberate lyrical subject matter.
The album opens to “The Timekeeper’s Waltz” with its intermittent guitar riff work and agro tempo from the rhythm section and the constant bluesy notes from Ian McDonald’s alto sax. Pearson channels Widespread’s John Bell in a raspy vocal delivery of mortality contemplating lyrical matter. “Amsterdam” gives way from the upbeat rock to downbeat tension track. The dark backdrop amongst which the whispered rasp lyrics are cast upon make the track sound like a “Traffic meets a Tom Waits’ tune.” Again McDonald shines in this one with this flute bouncing around Pearson’s vocals. Blues riffs dictate “Criminal Cool” with its exploratory effort into the advent of gangster praise. Bent note squeaks and slide riffs prevail just below the foreground and again sounds like it could be track number five on a Widespread Panic album. The guitar shines throughout this track for sure. “In the Garden of the Long Pig” opens to sound effects before caving to more blues-laden guitar plucks that build in crescendo into the lead. While there isn’t as much instrumentation inundating this track the mellow groove carries the listener through from its inception to the gradual fade.
Again, the instrumentation throughout the seven tracks is at times hypnotic and at others big and vast. The myriad of styles represented from start to finish reveal a variety of influences and genre borrowing and truly makes it widely approachable. The caliber of musicianship once melded with the clever nature of the lyrical matter just makes this one very complete album. Very, very interested in seeing where exactly Pearson’s new project takes him. And while I wouldn’t call this “blues” per se; I am completely comfortable saying that this is an album for the “thinking man.”
by Chris West
Third International are one of the best independent artists out there right now.
Christopher Ewing/ Radio Cafe Reverbnation Indie Music Countdown
Great Tunes. Reminds me of Pink Floyd
Alan K.Lohr -Buddhaman/Promotions Director for The International Experience at Error FM.
Artist: The Third International
Album: Beautiful Accident Review by Nick DeRiso
This is a different kind of blues record, one with a joltingly modern menace. The Third International’s Beautiful Accident brilliantly updates a time-weathered genre by focusing on texture as much as lyrical content. In fact, sometimes the words are simply enveloped by the rising rabble of crunchy R&B riffs, prog-rock influenced song structures and pounding rhythms.
That starts with the spooky shamble of “The Timekeeper’s Waltz.” With its echoing, loony-bin beat and a chorus of smeared instruments, the track sounds like Gregg Rolie playing a house gig on an outbound spaceship. Altoist Ian McDonald, a founding member of King Crimson, finally soars out of the din, only to be overtaken by a volcanic series of guitar blurts from Pearson. Meanwhile, drummer Nick DiFrisco (David Sanborn, Hiram Bullock) and bassist Bill Foster (Billy Cobham, Larry Coryell) sound so expansive, it’s like they are smashing their instruments against the wall.
Pearson perhaps wisely downshifts into “Amsterdam,” which opens with the dim atmosphere of a doob-rock fever-dream, highlighted by a whispery vocal and a paranoid lyric. He is singing like a caged animal, like everything is coming out through clinched teeth. He breaks the tension, for a time, by clicking into a tough new rhythm on the chorus, and McDonald flutters out with a twinkling turn on the flute. But the verse finds Pearson descending back down into a determined grind, like an old blues record slowing to a stop on a turntable after the lights go out. That sets up well for “Criminal Cool,” which has the kind of insistent groove associated with north Mississippi roots legend Junior Kimbrough, something far away from the convoluted acoustic picking of the Delta. Like a rising summer storm, the tune begins as a far off flash of light, then builds into a thunderous assault. This direful, relentless vibe fits perfectly with the lyric, a scorching indictment of white-collar scoundrels and our society’s penchant for seeing them as something other than common crooks.
“The Son of Jacob Mallett,” if anything, pushes the pedal even further down. Perhaps the most propulsive track on Beautiful Accident, this track features Foster and DiFrisco working in a foundation-cracking synchronicity. They smash and wail like turning tires and pumping pistons, as Pearson works the edges of the tune on guitar. His vocal goes deeper and darker, until it’s almost lost in the mix. Soon, all that’s left is that titanic groove. “In the Garden of the Long Pig” holds a similar lyrical mystery, as it rises up like a morning fog. Pearson picks through a series of swampy excursions for more than a minute and a half before starting the lyric. This time, he steps closer to the mic, singing with a naked intensity. Exactly what he’s talking about, however, is another riddle. The white man’s lie of manifest destiny? Our curious insistence on “saving” native cultures from their own traditions? No matter. Pearson sells the song’s dingy portent through a memorably gruff delivery, conveying both a sense of narrative pathos and of looming despair.
A mechanistic progressive-rock flavor surrounds “Penitentiary,” made complete by Pearson’s ominous synthesized flourishes. He draws a devastating connection between those damaged by every-day life and those looking out from inside prison bars, before the tune moves even further outside of blues convention courtesy of a soaring duet between Pearson and McDonald. Working in brilliant tandem, with McDonald again on sax, their squalling, emotive asides underscore how enclosed, and enraged, the heartbroken can feel.
Beautiful Accident closes with “The Reprise,” a lengthy excursion that again gives Pearson’s rough-edged next-gen blues outfit a chance to musically explore this world’s sudden twists of fate. The song, like much of Pearson’s terrific new release, musically mimics those surprises, conveying all of the hopelessness as well as the radiant anger associated with such things. Until the very end, Pearson and Co. play with a fierceness and brutal honesty that could peel the paint off St. Peter’s gate, making Beautiful Accident sound like anything but.
Review by Nick DeRiso/Review You/