Like most releases on Alien Transistor, 3 Shades is another project involving Markus Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Village Of Savoonga, Lali Puna, 13 & God, etc). The group actually released a few vinyl releases as 3 Shades Of Blues towards the beginning of the 2000s, but here is their first full-length.
The album starts out with a Krautrock-ish track called "Bombay Can", steadily building with horns, guitars, metallophone, percussion, and some effects, before leveling out after 6 minutes. "Subsequently" features rapper Fat Jon, reflecting on life and afterlife over a moody rock track that wouldn't be the first thing you'd expect to hear rapping over, but it works fine. "El Topo" follows and could possibly be intended as an alternate soundtrack to the film of the same name, riding a swinging rhythm to a drone of horns and organs.
Mike Ladd guests on "Tiny Bits Of Terrible", singing in a laid-back style over a bluesy rock groove. The album's title track comes closest to sounding like the Notwist, with Acher singing over another laid-back, steady rhythm. Supposedly the lyrics are inspired by beatnik Bob Kaufman, but the singing is too indescript to tell. "Sometimes Up" is a slower piece, with droning sounds surrounding a melancholy melody. "Counting The Days" ends the album with a brief acoustic campfire ditty featuring Jihae Jean Meek of The Royal We and Champagne Socialists.
This album's not bad, but it's not really anything to get excited about, either. The rhythms are pretty straightforward; the horns are nice but not anything you'd ever confuse with actual jazz music. I'm sure if you're a fan of Acher's less electronic side you'll be into this; otherwise, it's just kind of average. 6/10 -- Paul Simpson (10 March, 2010)