It's rare to find a band so unbeholden to genre as Threefifty.
Even now (in the age of streaming and instant availability), it's rare to find a band so unbeholden to genre as Threefifty. Drawing influence from rock, classical, folk, progressive rock, and a heaping helping of film scores, Threefifty's latest album, Gently Among the Coals, is a fascinating piece of work that invites scrutiny, if only to listen to the myriad directions the band -- presently an eight-piece including guitars, drums, mandolin, violin, keyboards, and vocals -- is willing to take its music.
It takes a few songs for Gently Among the Coals to really get going. Opener "Crossing State Lines" layers guitars upon guitars for a textured introduction that never quite gels, and "Allegiance" finds the instruments getting out of the way for an actual vocal with words, which is not the band's strong suit so far; rather, they're at their best when Joanie Leon Guerrero's voice is another instrument in an expertly-constructed wall of sound instead of the starring timbre. The walls of sound that do follow "Allegiance" are lovely, however, with the classically-oriented, violin-led "Andromeda" leading the way in terms of both beauty and virtuosity. Other highlights include the appropriately spacious "Fields" and the rhythmically fascinating "More". There's a lot happening throughout Gently Among the Coals, and while it occasionally gets too ambitious for its own good, its many twists and turns are largely worth following.