Third Time to Harm (Tic Tac Totally Records)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., June 6, 2014
OBN IIIsThird Time to Harm (Tic Tac Totally Records)
"Awright ... One! Two! Three! GO!" So shouts OBN IIIs namesake Orville Bateman Neeley III, kicking these local Stooges' third LP into gear. Screaming guitars rampage through notably upgraded production, set against the frontman's lonesome polecat holler, warning he's got "No Time Left for the Blues." The best Detroit anthem he's written in a career defined by them, it sets the scene for the band's most exciting full-length. After crashing through a morning-after chronicle laced with a raspy Walter Daniels harp cameo ("The Rockin' Spins") and a you-lookin'-for-trouble? strutter ("Uncle Powderbag"), Third Time to Harm downshifts dramatically in tempo for "Queen Glom." That's when the entire album changes character. Neeley warned us this would be more of a "hard rock record," and sure enough, come track five, "Beg to Christ," the OBN IIIs hit full Blue Öyster Cult mode: swirling Hammond B-3 organ, harmonized guitars, steadily building dynamics leading to crashing crescendos, even acoustic arpeggios underpinning full-on Buck Dharma stun leads, as Neeley bemoans "the children" who "forsake their homes." "Brother" offers more ethereal nihilism over riffing guitars that never rev into blitzkrieg mode. "Parasites" picks the tempo back up into a more familiar garage stomp, as the singer rants against fake friends and Daniels blows more distorto blues. "Worries" finishes the album out in familiar power-punk mode, on a riff with drive to spare. Impressive as hell, and this band's only just begun.