Third Eye Blind Review – Thanks for Everything
Last week, Third Eye Blind quietly released a new EP of cover tracks titled, Thanks for Everything. This album serves as a thank you from the band to their fans. The band itself is no stranger to putting out smaller EPs to stay on everyone’s radar, which has worked greatly to their advantage. This EP not only wets the palette of the die hard 3eb fans, but will serve as promotion for whatever comes next for the band.
Upon first listen, these tracks do not stand out as covers unless you have heard the original. That sounds like an incredibly obvious statement, but what we mean is…these aren’t your average Top 40 tracks. In fact, we could have included this album as a Deep Cuts feature since 3eb chose the obscure route. As a longtime fan who has never heard any of the originals, I can say that I still feel 3eb throughout the entire album, which can be a good thing or not. We will explain later.
Bio – Third Eye Blind (3eb) are a San Franciscan quintet who got their start in 1993 during the height of the Alternative music craze of the 90's. With songs like, “Semi-Charmed Life,” and “Jumper,” 3eb’s self-titled, debut album solidified their presence as a major component to the soundtrack of the 90's era. In the coming years, as the scope of music changed, 3eb failed to maintain the prominence they experienced early in their careers, but thanks to an incredible cult following, they continue to sell albums, pack large venues, and put out spectacular music. Because some members of our team were raised during these years, which were arguably the greatest developmental stages in our lives during the 3eb reign over music, we have tremendous respect for the band and the fans that work together to create the family of sorts that has continually supported the band.
While Lead Singer Stephen Jenkins is the only member who has been with the band since its formation, another fan favorite is drummer Brad Hargreaves, who plays drums and has been with the band since mid-1995. They are joined by a supporting cast of Kryz Reid, lead guitar and backing vocals, Alex Kopp, who plays piano and keys, and Alex LeCavalier, who holds it down on the bass. Do not get the wrong idea here though. While some members of the band contribute a great deal and are dedicated members to the 3eb process, many decisions made over the years were handled by Jenkins. As the main songwriter, Jenkins has basically molded 3eb, as a sound and entity, to what they are today. If you are a 3eb fan, you have enjoyed a sound that Jenkins created. Not that he is not supported, as Hargreaves has a lot of say in the group affairs as well, but Jenkins is the visionary. With that said, 3eb command respect in the industry and they have earned that. If you are looking for a copycat version of an old favorite, this isn’t exactly what you’re after. But if you stick around, you just might appreciate 3eb’s ability to take any music and put their fingerprints all over it.
Third Eye Blind Thanks for Everything Review
1. "10" - Despite what was said before, 10, is a cover of a Happy Diving tune, which actually does sound quite similar to the original. The good part of this cover is that it sounds reminiscent enough that you would not mistake the track for something other than a cover if you knew the original, but you wouldn’t be sad if you only ever heard 3eb’s version. The best part is that in our opinions, 3eb uses their incredible ability to play a tighter and more energetic version than the original. The intro actually pulls comparisons to guitar playing you might hear from Mark Tremonti; however, you could say the same about the Happy Diving version. After the intro, the band kick in the drums and a lot of lead guitar over a heavy rhythm section. During the chorus and bridge, we would not have known this was a cover. The quintessential 3eb “Southern Cali” sound comes out and Jenkin’s vocals shine. Jenkins clearly still has it on this album as his range is as solid as ever. This could be editing tricks, but from all of our collective experiences, Jenkins doesn’t miss a beat when you see the band live. Much of the rest of the song is very similar until it dies down and fades out.
2. "Fuck Forever" – Is a Babyshambles (yep, that’s their name) power anthem that has been retooled to fit today’s climate by a band that has not shied away from sharing their political stances in the past. The intro kicks in with gritty guitar riffs that start and stop intermittently while Jenkins provides some color over top. When the verse hits, the melody becomes more consistent with comps to many other bands in the alt genre; however, the verse carries an odd progression to it, which makes it a bit off putting until the chorus starts. I guess this could be a result of the rather straight forward lyrics. Once the chorus hits though, with Jenkins vocals lathered in reverb, we hear the “F**k Forever” battle cry that really showcases the energy of the tune and fills out the sound. We hear some Reid solos on guitar that mostly are present to add to the music rather than show the instrumental prowess of the Reid himself, which we can respect. There is a breakdown toward the end between choruses that attempts to build momentum with vocals that sounds almost chant-like. After a few more go rounds with the chorus, the track ends abruptly.
3. "This Isn’t Our Parade" – Is a Santigold tune that pays homage to the original but has little else in common. 3eb uses piano with light drums and some guitar fills to achieve the same intro sound. As opposed to the original, 3eb’s version kicks into the energetic and incredibly smooth flowing sound they pioneered and still utilize today. The vocals are typical Jenkins as he has always had a way with making pretty much any word or verse work no matter how unusual it is. When comparing these two songs, you can honestly enjoy both and never know they were the same. Santigold sticks to her typical sound as does 3eb. These innovative covers from a well-known band should mean a lot to the individuals they cover as we believe they truly do them justice.
4. "Song of the Siren" – Is a heartfelt cover of the American singer-songwriter Tim Buckley’s original 1970 song of the same name. The nearly 40-year-old song has been covered by dozens of artists over the years since Buckley’s untimely death in 1975. The 3eb version starts similarly to the original with soft guitar under Jenkin’s subdued, but beautiful, voice. As the song approaches the chorus throughout, it builds with the guitar riffs becoming closer together and Jenkins increasing vocal volume. The track is relatively short and does not stray too far from the original melody throughout. This track has actually become a favorite of Alt Revue and definitely one of the best tracks on this album.
5. "Joke" - When I previously mentioned that 3eb is all over this, I was thinking heavily about Joke. Joke starts out with a recorded section of several of the band members yelling “fire” randomly and laughing. Sometimes 3eb likes to take it easy and have fun and they have absolutely earned that. But as we listen through, we wish a very heartfelt track ending, Song of the Siren, wasn’t bookended on one side by this part. For the listener, it is tempting to change that track due to the intro skit, but you would miss a good track if you did so. The original track, that evokes comparisons of The Cure and other foundational alt bands, which are undoubtedly influences for the original. As you listen to the original, you can hear a similar sound to what 3eb has used commonly since leaving the Top 40 realm. Therefore, the 3eb version sounds like any other meddling track the band would have used to support their own studio albums. With that being said, the songs do sound similar and since we really enjoyed the original, we definitely enjoy Jenkins take the song over. The guitars and melody are certainly indie, which is not far from the roots of any of these bands involved.
6. "In the Fade" – Covers the Queens of the Stone Age track, In The Fade. While the QOTSA version rolls along, not varying much from the foundational melody laid in the beginning, the 3eb version sounds like a potential song of the summer candidate. While we would agree that it sounds a little too hokey to be a good one, the song definitely has more energy than the original. The intro reminds us of something that might come from Rascal Flatts (not a dig on the Rascals, but this intro reminds us of the way they kicked off “Life is a Highway).” While we are huge fans of the band, we could hear this track being mistaken for something found on a Pixar movie soundtrack. This has always been an ability for 3eb. They can sing the most sinister sounding lyrics about the most insane topics and still make you want to snap your fingers and dance (see Semi-Charmed Life). While this song is a nice happy listen, if you are drawn to 3eb for their more brooding and emotional content, you may only listen to this track a few times. The guitars and basslines toward the later part of the track do take over and change the sound greatly. If you can get through the intro and verse, you could really like this tune. These notes have to be difficult for Jenkins so it would be interesting to hear live. He sounds like he has reached the max of his register throughout. Singing this song by itself would be horrible, but include this in a two-hour stage show would be torture. This could be a fun song to enjoy live if the band includes it as I’m sure the live version will be even louder and bolder.
7. "Blood Bank" – Is an early track from the infinitely popular band, Bon Iver. If there is any song that 3eb chose to keep most of the original feel for, it’s this one. Bon Iver’s original rendition. While in the alt world, there is nothing obscure about Bon Iver, this track is from an early EP of the band. This Deep Cut shows that 3eb was either attempting to cover more obscure tracks, or, as a band, this is the content they enjoy most. On first listen, the melody and feel seems to draw comparisons to Neil Young’s, My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue). This is the same melody used by Bon Iver so perhaps there was some influence there. The track carries pretty evenly throughout but uses mellow vocals with emotional-sounding chord changes to invoke feeling. As the song begins to pick up at the three minute mark, Jenkins continues to belt at or near his register. A heavily muffled guitar melodically adds some fills, bordering on a solo, to move the song through to the end. There is a heavy instrumental section as the song winds down, which would provide some excellent jam opportunities.
One interesting thing about this review is, had we as 3eb fans not researched the background of the album, we would have accepted this as another teaser EP from the Southern California legends. The music fits well in a catalogue of numerous full-length feature albums and EPs that have continued to keep the band relevant. Honestly, the only thing that could make this album better is if there could have been more songs or if 3eb provided some originals to fill out the album. Seven tracks are not enough to provide the fix the die-hard fans need. With promotion around this record, the band has teased working on another album. This is certainly good news as Jenkins himself has teased the idea that the band may move away from producing full albums due to the cumbersome nature of the work. Giving us an additional EP while considering a new album goes against all of this, but we are not at all upset about it.