Three Day Threshold,
Against the Grain
(Hi-N-Dry, 2007)

Three Day Threshold seems like a band that does nothing half-assed. Once they pick a direction for a song -- be it fast or slow, rambling or rousing -- they're all in and the stakes be damned. One can only imagine how boisterous and rowdy as hell a live performance by Three Day Threshold must be. They seem to risk everything and let the results speak on their own. In this case of this album, their utmost efforts are apparent throughout and pay off resoundingly well.

Stylistically, Three Day Threshold is all over the place. One track, such as "Chicken Shack," will be a frenzied rockabilly ditty that's followed by "Right Outside the Door," a straight-laced ballad with a focused intensity. "Uni" has an exhilarating rate in a bluegrass style, while "Thrown Out" takes a gravel-kicking lonesome pace. "Count of Monte Cristo" pops up seemingly out of nowhere with a Charlie Daniels vibe and south-of-the-border attitude, yet it ends up fitting into the mix just fine.

Irish-style drinking songs are well-represented with "Whiskey You're the Devil" and the touching "A Toast to My Father." While that song may sound like the Pogues after a few rounds (in a fun way), it also has a lot of heart, exploring the steady-yet-bumpy relationships a son has with his father. "It's Alright" is a fast-paced story-song about an outlaw who offers sound advice for would-be Bonnie & Clyde ne'er-do-wells, especially when you come across a grandma packing Smith & Wesson. The album even ends with a seafaring ballad in "Back Home in Derry."

While some albums suffer with such a myriad of styles and sounds, this dartboard approach to a musical style works so well for this band. Their intensity is the magic ingredient in their musical recipe. Plus, you know you're in for a treat when the CD jacket has a barbecue recipe. (Shreddin' Colt Thompson's Shredded Beef BBQ Sammies do sound quite delicious.) And Colt Thompson's recipe is only one serving in this high-octane, jam-packed musical buffet. Against the Grain is a fun, energetic album that is certainly a treat for the ears and maybe even your energy level.

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review by
C. Nathan Coyle

19 January 2008

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