With the ability to have millions of songs and albums available for streaming at your fingertips and the music industry being based off of the “what have you done for me lately” mentality, it’s important for artists to keep engaged if they hope to remain relevant. If they don’t, they’ll unfortunately start to fade into obscurity and fans will have the mindset of “remember THAT band?!”. This fall has happened to plenty of bands, small or large, and has seemingly started to happen to Colorado natives and electronic duo 3OH!3. After the massive success of their sophomore album Want, it seemed like there was nothing that could slow the duo down – except themselves. Their follow-up releases, Streets of Gold (2010) and more notably Omens (2013), led to lackluster reviews and poor sales causing them to head back to the drawing board and try to reignite the sound that put them on the map. With their 5th studio album, Night Sports, due out on May 13th, many fans are wondering – is it a return to form or should the guys stay in irrelevancy for good?
Upon hitting play, it’s very apparent they stuck true to their initial plan with the album and followed the ideology of what made them famous in the first place. Utilizing their roots, the album was produced, engineered and mixed by Nathaniel Motte, much like their debut which gave them the ability to fine tune each track and bring out their signature sound to their own liking. Coupled with the fact that the duo prefers the creation aspect behind albums and the extra time it allows them compared to releasing a multitude of singles, Night Sports, simply put, is a worthwhile successor to Want. While there is high praise to be made in the creation and production realm of the album, that doesn’t answer the real question of what kind of sound the album offers listeners.
What we’ve come to expect from 3OH!3 is most definitely found on Night Sports, with their signature sound of fun, party-style music crafted in a way meant to keep the listener engaged with a bouncing bassline. As many listeners should already be aware of, these guys aren’t necessarily the type of artist one listens to for in-depth lyrical content with a meaningful message or super serious, technical sounds. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any worthwhile, deeper tracks to be found; there are pleasantly a few surprises that harken to a more personal level that should take fans by surprise. Stylistically, from the opening track “Fire In The Heavens” and it’s familiar “3OH3” heart pounding chant over building bass, the insanely catchy and heavily electro-infused “Freak Your Mind” and even the sultry, pop driven sing-a-long “Claustrophobia”, there is no shortage of variety. This amount of variety continues the display of versatility that Sean and Nathaniel have become known for in their songwriting which helps add to the replay-ability and uniqueness aspect of their music.
While there aren’t immediate standout singles in the vein of “StarStrukk” or “My First Kiss”, the album is full of songs that relentlessly stick in your head and will almost assuredly output a radio hit or two showcasing that Night Sports is the exact return to form the duo needed and the fans ultimately wanted. While there are some odd choices for a few tracks (“Mad At You” for its’ sappy, pop driven style and “My Dick” because, well just look at the name), they fit perfectly with the party, almost satirical style that made 3OH!3 famous. As summer continues its approach on the northern hemisphere, there grows a need for music that can be turned up to 11 with the windows down and this album should fit into that role nicely.