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The Three 4 Tens

Down the Way

(Rainbow Quartz; US: 15 May 2007; UK: 11 Aug 2007)

It may have been four years since Philadelphia’s psychedelic throwbacks the Three 4 Tens were last in the studio but they’re still basking in the liquid haze of a lava lamp. Like the band’s first two albums, 2001’s Change Is on its Way and its follow-up, 2003’s Northern Lights, Down the Way has elements of ‘60s West Coast garage-psychedelia alongside British-invasion pop. However, this time around they’ve managed to tap the source whilst delivering a record altogether darker and very much their own. Lurking underneath the oscillating keys and floating above the lysergic-sodden backbeat are cloaked tales of drug-induced paranoia (“Everyday”), disillusion with the American dream (“I Get High”) and deceitful pride (“Dire Straits”), while the haunting guitar drone on songs like “All the Pretty Girls” and the blood-curdling, frenetic garage-punk of “A. Clean X” delves into the bleak musical terrority once inhabited by bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain. Dark, menacing and as catchy as hell.

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