Guitarist Patrick Brown says that when he thought about starting his own band, he had a vision of incorporating the influence of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Genesis, Yes, Rush, Dream Theater, Metallica and Frank Zappa. You might be thinking, hey, that’s every big name in 70s and 80s prog rock and metal, plus the Beatles and Zappa; there’s no way Brown is going to fit all of that into one band. But somehow he and his bandmates in Three Cities do, indeed, manage to bottle up the essence of their chosen genres, and their method has a lot to do with playing complex arrangements very fast and singing with an energy that we haven’t heard much of since about 1976.
There’s no question that the band’s songs are built around Brown’s guitar, which hails very much from the glory days of heavy rock (when every song had more than one solo and every solo had a million notes) and the guitar is driven along by the frenetic beats provided by drummer Anthony Decker. But Three Cities is far from just a guitar band. David L. Herring’s keyboards have the operatic warble that 70s prog-rock supergroups used to distinguish themselves from their less sophisticated peers, and Terel Lynn’s vocals soar with the best of them, although he’s more soulful than the wail of Robert Plant and more musical than the growl of James Hetfield.
Where do the Beatles and Zappa come in? For that, try out the goofy introduction to For the Price of One, a self-deprecating, theatrical romp that lies somewhere between Sgt. Pepper and Monty Python. Mixing a sense of humor into the heady rock stew makes the album that much more fun. (Evan Gillespie)
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