Sound — 8
This is the debut LP from the Seattle quartet known as Numbers. Previous releases include a self titled EP and a 3 track demo. Kyle Bishop is our vocalist/keyboardist. Victor Olavarria is on drums. Ryan Majoris is the bassist and Mike Coraddo is the lone guitarist. Three is a collection of thirteen songs that span close to an hour in listening time. Three is an eclectic blend musical styles ranging from post-hardcore to metalcore. There is nothing new here but there is a familiarity to this record that will either be refreshing or a turn off for some.
If I had to equate this record to one band I simply couldn't. Numbers went all out with their riffs. Songs like "Undertow" have flashes of The Human Abstract. The opening motif in "Recreate" harkens back to the ending of "All New Materials" by Periphery. "Swanky Sauce"'s southern edge reminds me of Every Time I Die. If the goal of "Three" was to show off how musically adverse Numbers can be then they drove the nail in the head with a jackhammer. The only thing missing is the horse call and the bar fight but we can save that for another day.
The guitar work shows flashes of brilliance at times but definitely takes a back seat for portions of the records. I'm on my umpteenth listen and I still haven't heard every riff of the album. That can be a good thing to some as the element of surprise will most likely keep this one spinning for a while. Three does get chuggy at times but not to the point where you get bored of the record. The main problem with the guitars is that they will explore an idea that can be really good and then it stops suddenly. If they let some of the better ideas develop a little more they could have toned the chugging back for their more creative ideas.
The bass guitar is on the other hand is brilliant. Mike Corrado has chops and when he wails on the bass it's easily the best parts of some songs. He compliments the guitars and drums perfectly. It's nice to listen to a CD where the bass is not buried in the back and following the guitar to a T.
Drums are probably the weakest part of the album. They are kind of just there. Victor does a good job of keeping it interesting but the drums are not a focal point at all.
There's one more part of the instruments that will probably be make or break it for most people and that's the keyboards. As a warning to people that can't stand synth and piano there are keyboards in every song. Most songs get break for a keyboard interlude or passage. In most songs the keys are throughout the whole thing. I hope this part of the band gets toned down for future releases because here it's overkill and the culprit for the guitars being what they are. Some spots where the keys come in are great, don't get me wrong. "It's Chilly Out" has a great break down where the pianos and guitars just degrade into a mess of angry notes but in the same song we also get a piano spot that just kills the momentum of the middle of the track. They could have done something interesting with the guitars instead of letting them take a back seat to the keys. Three doesn't have a balance to it that should keep me listening throughout. There are times where I zone out because of sensory overload. If Numbers can tighten that aspect of their craft then they should be fine for the future.
Lyrics — 8
Kyle Bishop is a monster vocally. Easily my favorite part of the record is the vocals. He channels his inner Spencer Sotelo quite well. Don't be mistaken by this. He is by no means a clone as his singing versatility is what I enjoyed the most about Three. I find myself guessing who he sounds like in different songs. Travis Richter comes to mind. Kyle Pavone of We Came As Romans also pops into my head a bit. His screams are ear shreddingly enjoyable and explore highs and lows rather than staying monotone throughout.
Lyrically there is nothing over the top here. There's your typical teenage angst topics about love and being a horrible person. Don't bank on the lyrics being the greatest thing in the world. Instead bank on how damn catchy the repetitions are. I find myself humming most of the hooks throughout Three. Most of the choruses are like this due to the fact that Kyle is working the melodies and harmonies with the music well.
Overall Impression — 9
When I first considered doing this review the term identity crisis kept popping into my head. For a first LP release this is very strong but at the same time I fail to hear Numbers' voice truly shine through. I keep getting pulled into different directions stylistically and it's jarring. Make no mistake about it this is a post-hardcore record. Numbers breaks that mold a ton in "Three" but it comes at a cost of truly knowing what this band really has in mind.
Like every record Three has some great moments and some duds. It's very catchy and tickles some sensibilities that needed tickling. It's one of those records that leaves me wanting more. If you want to listen to "Three" it's streaming in full on Bandcamp.com and YouTube.