One Track Mind: Third International, "Chemical Eyes/ Good Friday at Little Rock" (2012)

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As Third International’s new double-sided single “Chemical Eyes/ Good Friday at Little Rock” spins, one thing becomes utterly clear: There’s no round hole to put this square peg.

“Chemical Eyes,” as uncategorized as it is intriguing, could rightly be called a stew of sounds – each of them more palpably dangerous than the next. It boasts an ambling old-west guitar signature, but it’s not country. There’s a gravel-scarred vocal, but it’s not a blues. There’s also a relentless, chest-thumping rhythms, but it’s not dance music.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: We also loved Third International’s 2011 album ‘Beautiful Accident,’ featuring King Crimson/Foreigner alum Ian McDonald.]

Third International continues stirring the pot, offering barely heard ruminations on religion, government, empty philosophizers, economic disparities, other well-laid plans that have come undone. The results are not so much menacing, as they are deeply, darkly scarifying. A serrated guitar cuts across this murky landscape, toward the end, then a weirdly transfixing keyboard answers back with a long, dry buzz – and, just like that, “Chemical Eyes” has disappeared over the horizon, like an only half-remembered dream.

Meanwhile, “Good Friday at Little Rock” lurches out with a gurgling, Mark Knopfler-esque riff, set amongst a clattering, scronky rhythm. Again, there’s something close to blues happening here, and something just as mysterious – in its own way – as “Chemical Eyes.” Even as Third International poses more questions about the easy explanations this world provides for complex, maybe unknowable, conundrums, “Good Friday” continues to create its own deeply involving musical enigmas.

Come in without preconceived notions, and these songs will transport you to another place.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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