The boundries between genres of popular music are becoming increasingly blurry with time. Rap is coming to sound a lot like R&B which is eerily similar to rock which sounds an awful lot like punk, and no one but the most devoted of metalheads could keep the thousand and one genres of metal seperate. It's in these murky depths the Colorado-based 3OH!3 exists in, somewhere down the block from rap, across the street from electronica, and in the neighborhood of rock. The result is a unique and unmistakable sound, though perhaps not totally accessible.
3OH!3 (named after the area code of Boulder, Colorado) has its origins as far back as 2004, but didn't really start making an impact until 2007 with the release of their self-titled album. The following year, the band signed with Photo Finish Records and released Want.
A disclaimer before we go any further: I am not a particular fan of rap. Most of the vocals on this album are rapped, and significant portions of the album show strong rap influences. I will attempt to be as impartial as I can, but my personal taste will show through in this review. You may very well disagree, and I encourage you to go out and listen for yourself before passing judgement.
The album opens with Tapp, a minute-long instrumental introduction. It's essentially a protracted synth solo and serves as a decent primer on what the rest of the album will sound like. Punkbitch is the first actual song, and serves as an excellent microcosm for the entire album. Of particular note: the heavy elctronica-influenced backing, the alternation of rapping and more traditional singing, and the two contrasting section structure. Most of the rest of the songs on the album follow the pattern established by this song, both musically and lyrically.
Two other songs I want to highlight: The first is Don't Trust Me. This is the first song by 3OH!3 I had ever heard, and it's probably my favorite from the album. The other is Colorado Sunrise, which contrasts lyrically with the rest of the album but still uses the same energetic musical style.
Bottom line time: 3OH!3 is a decent band, but not for everyone. Rap fans will like it, as will electronica fans. Most other people should listen before they drop money on it, because the style is not universally appealing. Personally, I do like them, but in small doses. The album clocks in at just under 40 minutes, but it can get a bit repetitive if you just sit and listen to it. Put in a well-shuffled playlist 3OH!3 gives nice contrast, however.