33.3 - Plays Music (2000)

This 33.3’s second release is one of my favourite tea-time albums: cool, warm, emotionally enthralling.

Since their 1999 debut the band has added two new musicians, William Noland on double bass and Joseph Grimm on trumpet and trombone (founder members are cellist/bassist Dominique Davison, guitarist Brian Alfred and drummer Steven Walls). This second album is a finely structured thing, an instrumental journey that jumps from low-key jazz-pop to more ornately decorated passages. Sure, Plays Music isn’t unique. Anyone who owns a Slint record could probably cite a few dozen sound-alikes, or at least sound-a-lot-likes. Yet there’s a special, vibrant joy between its notes. It’s easy to find if you look for it. Guitar and drums provide the stuff we’ve heard before – loose-knit, semi-improvised instrumental rock songs filtered through a precise, jazz-inflected tempo. Trumpet, trombone, cello and double bass fill in the «voices» and textures, and this is where Plays Music derives its individuality. Bob Weston’s production captures each instrument’s comings and goings, never giving the listener a sense of overload. Dominique Davison’s cello lends warmth to all it touches, its earthy chords giving humanity to the mathematical progression of «Power Failure at the U.N.», and sliding a gentle sentimentality into the background of «An Open Letter to Buckminster Fuller». Meanwhile, horn player Joseph Grimm provides the album with its emotional center, easing his instrument’s strident tones into the cocktail-flavored «The Odds», then alternating between melodic pathfinding and guitar-taunting repetition on «Oval Cast as Circle». There is very little rock in this indie rock and yet it’s not post anything, either. It’s just a more baroque approach to melody, with a deft ear tuned to tones, keys, and moods – colorful and so very far from self-indulgent (i.e., no cathartic tension-releasing moments). As the wind blows out of many a post-rock sail, 33.3 manages to create something beautiful and (most importantly) memorable. (Text based on reviews by Splendid e-zine, AMG and

Link in comments


Radu said...


Anonymous said...

Great Music, thank you very much! Some very nice albums.
But while you're talking about the big brother on your blog, you actively help him with that fuckin' Neocounter! I found it horrible that even my hometown is shown. This will be my last comment here until this thing has moved ;-)

Thanks for the music!

Anonymous said...

nice blog, thanks good job

tchat sexy