Release Date: Aug 17, 2009
Record label: Mega Collider
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
When Third Eye Blind released Out of the Vein in 2003, they felt like post-grunge relics that refused to acknowledge their time had passed. Six years later, with Ursa Major in tow, they've waited out the fallow time, surfacing just when late-'90s alt rock nostalgia is beginning to bubble. Tellingly, TEB shuck much of the heavy, oppressive sobriety of Out of the Vein, replacing it with a touch of the fizzy, singsong hooks that made their debut a smash success.
Ursa Major — Third Eye Blind’s fourth album and first since 2003 — shows that frontman Stephan Jenkins’ way with a hook has dimmed little since the band’s mid-’90s heyday. The clunky lyrics are another thing, like in ska-rocker “Don’t Believe a Word” when Jenkins sings “Rap stars brag about shooting each other?/ What ever happened to ‘Brother, brother’??” It simply doesn’t get any worse than that. C+ Download This: Listen to the song One in Ten at last.fm See all of this week’s reviews .
Life’s more fun when it’s loud... Touted as containing ‘some of the most intense music of Third Eye Blind’s career’, ‘Ursa Major’ uncomfortably straddles the fine line between ‘emotional and interesting’ and ‘girl with a guitar at a house party’. Although frontman Stephan Jenkins has spent the interim between albums admirably (charity work and so on), one can’t help wish for less social commentary, and more hands-in-the-air/ feet-in-the-moshpit bangers such as album opener ‘Can You Take Me?’ rather than the wet ‘n’ wimpy ‘Sharp Knife’.