I’ve always said, if it’s ‘Unplugged’, you can sign me up for it. Personally, I think it’s hard to beat the intrigue that comes from taking away the scream and thump of technology that a heavy rock song was built around and stripping it down to its bare roots. The results simply sound like something of a completely different character and perspective than the original track. With that being said, there was little that could keep me away from immediately firing up the unplugged compilation that our 2012 Artist of the Year Three Years Hollow put together.
The five fan favorites they’ve selected for Volume One of their Unplugged catalog are for all intent and purpose reborn in their basic form and foundations. Effects-wise they are obviously more simplistic, but the complex riffs and beats that you’ve come to love from Three Years Hollow are re-packaged in ways that boggle the mind given their lack of electronic assistance. A few of the tracks venture further out than others, but the acoustic application to the tracks is a refreshing take on the compilation.
“Chemical Ride” and “Remember” don’t stray far from their original tempo and impressively maintain the same full bodied sound that they would have if they were cranked through their usual pedals and processors. It’s a flurry of picking by Kuhlman and Reeves to make up for the loss of the modern amenities, but they do so flawlessly. On these two tracks it’s almost as if Three Years Hollow wanted to prove they had the skills to deliver their signature sound regardless of which axes they left the van with. If that was the case; mission accomplished.
While the speed of those tracks lent the songs some familiarity, the other three songs on the album went the opposite direction as they are re-tooled to a different cadence and follow a much deeper acoustic sound. Probably the most impacted by the redesign of these tracks, Chris Cushman turns in the monster kit for some hand drums that take the songs in a completely different direction. Between this and Digga’s monster acoustic bass, “Wasted” and “Lost” are transformed into tracks that are strongly reminiscent of some of Godsmack’s acoustic work. The tones are heavy, looming, and seem even more pronounced against the other higher toned components of the acoustic sound. “Still Waiting” delivers a similar feel, but brings a slightly lighter air about it. I often feel that heavier rock music that is converted to acoustic brings a sound that exposes a hair more angst that previously went unnoticed due to the power of the amplified sound and effects. This rings true on these tracks and it’s probably the main driver as to why they sound so different and complex without the amps. It’s a great change of perspective for the songs, they sound entirely reborn.
Unplugged Volume 1 isn’t an entirely true statement as Three Years Hollow adds on a hard rocking bonus track “All We Have” at the end of the compilation. No doubt about it, they are DEFINITELY plugged in on this one, but it was nice to catch a new tune at the end of five re-tooled favorites.
As the Webmaster and Founder of Rocksposure.com, Chris Brach is always looking for new music from up and coming rock bands. You never know, they could be our next Artist of the Month! If there is something you think he should give a listen to, email him at GetRocked@Rocksposure.com.
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