I reviewed Chelmsford's 3 Foot High's album 'Blood, Sweat And Fears' when it was released last January and the boys return with a new album (and new guitarist) 'Dystopia' this month. Once again possessing another fine production by Talon Payne at Chelmsford's Gallow Wood Studios, the album finds 3 Foot High branching out into new areas and trying on some new styles in amongst the usual alt-rock and grunge they do so well, while there is still plenty of the band's usual characteristics - Tim Clark's fine songwriting and keening vocals, James Gosling (bass) and Paul Davidson's (drums) rock steady rhythms with the occasional groove - for which they're now aided and abetted by Richard Bennett's sterling guitar-work helping to round the sound out to fine effect.
There's an excellent one-two opening punch with 'Broken Glass' mirroring (sorry!) 'Blood, Sweat And Fears' 'We've Come So Far' as a commercial, catch-all opening track - all very Foos! - before 'Leeches' expansive chords leads into a heavier sounding track with plenty of guitar but still with that commercial sound that shows the album is well worth delving into. 3 Foot High then bring the heat down to a simmer with the following three tracks; 'It's Only Words', a gorgeous acoustic ballad with some nice guitar lines, 'Burn To Dust' with its intimate opening and verses breaking out into some powerful passages and a driving finish, and the plaintive, acoustic 'End Of The World' about, well, 'the end of the world'. 'What Hell' sees the band veer into almost Metallica/Megadeth territory, all snaking riffage and explosive choruses while 'Feel Free' is a chunky rocker with totemic drum work and FX-laden guitar and great solos. It's then back to signature 3 Foot High with single 'I'll Find You' - an alt-rock anthem with rousing choruses before perhaps the most 'experimental' track on the album, 'Dystopian Eyes', a 'Western' themed sounding song that fair stomps across its duration. The album finishes with 'With You In The End', an emotive love song with a final flourish of guitars for its last minute and a half.
'Dystopia' is another fine album from this Chelmsford quartet and it's good to see them expanding their sound into new areas - the addition of another guitarist has certainly allowed then to 'spread their wings' a bit more. With this third album, they've opened up some more paths for them to wander down (if they wish) and the next album is certainly an intriguing prospect as to what will come next. In the meantime 'Dystopia' should attract and keep your attention with its excellent songwriting and musicianship - an album to entertain and admire.
'Dystopia' is out now and is available on all the major digital platforms.